First-round exits: Fairfield, Edgewood, Lebanon all fall in playoffs

Fairfield running back James Mitchell (8) runs through the middle during their Division I, Region 4 playoff game against St. Xavier at Fairfield Stadium on Friday night. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
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Fairfield running back James Mitchell (8) runs through the middle during their Division I, Region 4 playoff game against St. Xavier at Fairfield Stadium on Friday night. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

St. Xavier took advantage of five turnovers to beat Fairfield 35-14 in a Division I, Region 4 high school football playoff opener Friday night at Fairfield Stadium.

The Indians (7-4) scored first on James Mitchell’s 74-yard punt return midway through the first quarter but never got comfortable on offense, and the Bombers (6-5) cruised in the second half to advance to the second round.

Fairfield’s defense did just about everything it could to extend its season with several big third-down stops; however, a pair of miscues put the Bombers into the red zone twice within 53 seconds of each other — with halftime in between — and St. Xavier made the most of the opportunities to take a 21-7 lead 10 seconds into the third quarter.

The game was tied 7-7 with 30 seconds left in the first half, but the Bombers went ahead on Chase Wolf’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Whittrock two plays after Aaron Carmack threw a pick right to St. Xavier defensive back Eugene Stallworth. Then, on the first play from scrimmage to open the third quarter, Mitchell fumbled on a carry, and Wolf found Jared Kreimer on the next play to extend the lead to 14 points.

The Bombers sealed it when Stallworth picked off Carmack for a second time and returned it 15 yards for the final points with 34 seconds left.

La Salle 23, Edgewood 21: The Cougars grabbed a 14-13 lead midway through the second quarter but couldn't sustain that momentum at Lancer Stadium in Division II, Region 8 play.

The two-time defending state champion Lancers still had to hold on at the end. Edgewood was stopped on downs at the LHS 27 with 4:22 left. La Salle then notched two first downs to run out the clock.

Quarterback Drew Reckart ran for two touchdowns and hit Nick Noble with a 25-yard scoring pass for the Cougars (8-3). Devon Garrett ran 24 times for 109 yards.

Christian Turner gained 171 yards on 21 carries and scored a TD for La Salle (9-2).

Griffin Merritt connected with Tre’Sean Smith for a score, Tyler Richardson returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, and Paul Young added a 30-yard field goal for the hosts.

Sycamore 42, Lebanon 20: The Warriors turned the ball over on their first three possessions and had no answer for Sycamore running back Ra'Von Bonner in the Division I, Region 4 first-round game at Lebanon.

Lebanon (7-4) fumbled twice, including on the first play from scrimmage, as the Aves (7-4) took early control.

Bonner finished with 254 yards on 24 carries, including 190 at the intermission as Sycamore took a 28-7 lead into the break.

The appearance marked Lebanon’s first trip to the playoffs in 14 years.