One week after suffering a tough loss at Highlands the St. Xavier Bombers bounced back in a big way, defeating the Elder Panthers 17-7 Friday night at Ballaban Field.
St. Xavier (5-1, 1-0) got on the scoreboard first when place kicker Robert Leonard connected on a 27-yard field goal four minutes into the game after the Bombers' drive stalled.
Elder (5-1, 1-1) who entered the game ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest Rivals100, responded on their next drive as senior quarterback Mark Miller hooked up with classmate Alex Welch on a 9-yard scoring pass to give the Panthers and early 7-3 lead.
From there the Bombers would take over the game with ball-control offense and stifling defense. They consumed a large chunk of the second quarter on a drive that ended with a 7-yard Nigel Muhammad touchdown run that gave St. X a 10-7 lead.
The Panthers' offense looked out of rhythm most of the evening. They entered the game without the services of starting left tackle Pete Bachman, who was lost for the season after suffering a broken leg last week. Then on the first play from scrimmage Friday night senior wideout Tim O'Conner broke his wrist and is also now out for the year. Both players are Indiana commits.
Without his best blocker and his favorite target, Miller struggled against a tenacious Bombers' pass rush. He only completed 18 of his 37 passes for 250 yards a touchdown and an interception.
His counterpart, St. Xavier senior Luke Massa, found classmate Will Carroll on a 35-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to give the Bombers a 10-point lead. Massa finished the night with 147 yards and a touchdown on 10 of 13 passing.
The Bombers, who started the week ranked 31st in the nation, outgained the Panthers 133 yards to just five yards on the ground. Sophomore Conor Hundley led all rushers with 95 yards on 20 carries.
Both teams continue GCL South play next week as St. Xavier welcomes LaSalle and Elder plays host to Moeller.