Fairfield Prep falls to Xavier for 1st loss of season
For weeks the Fairfield Prep football team had billed its contest against Xavier as its chance to rejoin the state's elite.
But just two D'Angelo Berry touches squelched Prep's dream.
Xavier's senior running back returned the opening kickoff for a score, then scored on Xavier's first offensive play, as the top-ranked Falcons popped Prep 35-14 at Palmer Field.
"Prep's a good team," Xavier coach Sean Marinan said. "We knew they were going to be a test. I was pretty happy the way our kids responded."
Tim Boyle threw two touchdown passes as the Falcons improved to 3-0, winning their 32nd straight regular season game and 29th consecutive contest overall.
"This is kind of our first game," Prep coach Tom Shea said. "We had some nerves and missed some plays."
Berry's 90-yard touchdown scamper on the opening kickoff ended Prep's scoreless streak and gave Xavier a 7-0 advantage just 13 seconds in.
"We wanted to set a tone from the first play and we did," Boyle said. "(Berry) had a great run ... he did a great job."
"That was a great way to get started," Marinan said.
After Prep went three-and-out on its first possession, Berry took Xavier's first offensive play 54 yards to the end zone, boosting the Falcons' edge to 14-0 just 1:53 in.
"I think we played 46 minutes of good football," Shea said. "But the first two minutes we had stars in our eyes."
"(Berry) is a hidden jewel," Boyle said. "He stepped up real big. He's not the shiftiest guy, but he's got the speed to bury you."
Berry added his third touchdown early in the second quarter scoring on a 1-yard plunge making it 21-0.
"(Berry) is an outstanding ballplayer," Shea said. "He makes a lot of people miss."
Prep lingered, scoring on its final first-half possession. The Jesuits went 68 yards in 13 plays, capped by quarterback Strecker Backe's 9-yard pass to Moten, which made the score 21-7 at halftime.
"I'm proud of the way the kids fought back," Shea said. "After a slow start, we really banged with (Xavier)."
But Xavier used its first second-half possession to re-take command. The Falcons went 79 yards in 14 plays -- aided by a key personal foul penalty against Prep. Xavier also gained 18 yards on fourth-and-14, when Boyle found receiver Kris Luster.
"It was nice to see (Boyle) make that fourth-down completion, that was big," Marinan said. "To have the patience to get it to the right guy ... I was happy with that."
Two plays later, Boyle hit Luster for a 5-yard touchdown, boosting the Falcons' edge to 28-7.
"We couldn't get a stop," Shea said. "We had a chance and didn't get a stop."
Moten's second score came just 23 seconds later on a 42-yard screen pass from Backe, cutting Xavier's advantage to 28-14.
"I was pleased with the way our quarterback played," Shea said. "We have some playmakers out there."
But Boyle and Xavier answered. The senior quarterback found Luster for 23 yards on third-and-17 on the third quarter's last play. Boyle then hit James Sullivan for a 47-yard strike, putting the Falcons up 35-14.
FAIRFIELD PREP 0 7 7 0--14
XAVIER 14 7 7 7-- 35
X--D'Angelo Berry 90 kickoff return (Ricky Verre kick)
X--Berry 54 run (Verre kick)
X--Berry 1 run (Verre kick)
FP--Strecker Backe 9 pass John Moten (Liam Coyle kick)
X--Tim Boyle 5 pass Kris Luster (Verre kick)
FP--Backe 42 pass Moten (Coyle kick)
X--Boyle 47 pass James Sullivan (Verre kick)
Records: Fairfield Prep 2-1; Xavier 3-0.