BEAVERCREEK – Trei’Shaun Sanders didn’t hesitate. Not on opening night. And definitely not against Beavercreek in the Backyard Battle XXI.
On the first play from scrimmage, Sanders sprinted to an 84-yard touchdown and Xenia was off and running to a 40-3 victory over Beavercreek on Friday night.
“It was great, especially since it was my rival,” Sanders said. “And my line opened up a big hole so I just ran through it.”
Sanders, a 6-foot, 220-pound senior, scored three touchdowns and rushed for over 150 yards.
“Trei’Shaun is a dynamic running back,” Xenia coach Maurice Harden said. “He gives people a lot of problems because of how physical he is and his ability to kind of get out in space and make things happen.”
The Buccaneers continued to make good things happen in the first quarter with defensive tackle Jamell Smith stuffing the run and getting a sack. And the offense kept clicking.
Sanders capped a short drive with a 1-yard run for a 14-0 lead. Then sophomore Gavin McManus threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Tremmell Wright for a 21-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
Xenia led 27-0 at halftime by adding a 7-yard touchdown run by Ramon Browder midway through the second quarter.
“We came out and we did exactly what we wanted to do, which was start fast,” Harden said. “We did a really good job of that in the first half, playing fast, starting strong and executing at a high level.”
Smith, who is 6-1 and 225, is the Xenia’s leader in every way on defense. He was in on tackle after tackle and had two sacks after playing only half of one scrimmage because of an injury.
“It just felt good to come out with a win and play with my guys, with all my seniors that have been leading this team all the way through the summer all the way through the winter when we all lifted,” Smith said. “Every senior was there. Everybody was grinding.”
Beavercreek is coming off an 0-10 season and avoided the shutout early in the fourth on a 45-yard field goal by Shaun Morse. But it was overall a tough night for Marcus Colvin, coaching in his first game after coming over from Chaminade Julienne.
“We want to be better at football, better tacklers all those things, but a lot of this year has to do with character,” Colvin said. “We’ve got to really grow up in terms of character and playing the game with controlled emotion and responding when adversity strikes. I love my kids, I thought they tried to play hard, I thought they tried to hang in there. We’ve got a lot of work and I understand that. I’m excited for film tomorrow, actually.”
Harden and Colvin have known each other since Harden was a 14-year-old student in Colvin’s class at CJ. Harden played for Colvin and coached under him at CJ before taking the Xenia job last year.
“It was hard,” Harden said. “I’m not gonna lie to you. I love Marcus Colvin to death. He’s my biggest mentor in life.”
For Colvin, it was the first time he coached against a former assistant as the head coach.
“I’m just proud of him,” Colvin said. “I would have loved to get the victory over him, but it didn’t work out. But that’s my guy. He knows that. I love him.”
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