Lakota West rallies to top St. Xavier

Firebirds score with 21 seconds left to win season opener

WEST CHESTER TWP. — Lakota West senior quarterback Mitch Bolden started his 33rd career game Friday night, but he’s never experienced a more memorable 48 minutes.

“Senior year — this is probably the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” Bolden said. “I’m glad it’s happened my senior year and I can experience all of it.”

Bolden led the Firebirds on a game-winning drive that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown pass to senior Ben Minich with 21 seconds left as Lakota West rallied to defeat visiting St. Xavier 16-13.

“Honestly, I didn’t see him catch it,” said Bolden, who improved to 27-6 as a starter. “All I saw was the referee’s hands go up and that was the best moment ever. That was probably the best moment I’ve ever had in a football game.”

An estimated 4,900 watched the game. But it was quiet for a good portion of the first two quarters on the Lakota West side of the stadium as the Bombers led 13-0 at halftime.

Lakota West coach Tom Bolden admitted a few chairs were broken in the locker room at halftime as he tried to inspire the team in the second half.

“We weren’t satisfied,” said Mitch Bolden, Tom’s son. “There were some chairs broken, I’m not even kidding. We knew that we had to be physical the second half and play football. We weren’t playing football. And we ended up doing that. So those chairs were made to be broken I guess.”

Lakota West responded in the second half.

Senior kicker Tyler Bohn made a 25-yard field goal to get the Firebirds (1-0) on the board with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter.

The Firebirds made it 13-9 when Mitch Bolden hit junior Brennan Remy for a 47-yard touchdown pass connection with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter.

Lakota West earned one last opportunity with 3:39 left at its own 25. Bolden converted a fourth down on a run up the middle. The Firebirds had a few chances in the red zone before the touchdown pass connection with Bolden and Minich, who is verbally committed to Notre Dame.

The game-winning drive was 13 plays and 75 yards while it took 3:18.

“It’s great to leave with a win but we didn’t play our best,” Bolden said. “I didn’t play my best. I don’t believe I played my best at all. That transition from week one to week two is a great learning period and I think we will be better next week.”

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