Hayden Falvey never envisioned he was destined for Xenia football history. That’s probably a good thing.
“It was pretty scary,” admitted Falvey after connecting on a 21-yard field goal in the final minute as host Xenia rallied to stun visiting Troy 24-22 in a Week 9 high school football game at Doug Adams Stadium on Friday night.
“It was great, especially being my senior night,” Falvey added while blinking back tears of joy. “It means so much. We’ve never been able to do this before.”
»»RELATED: Xenia in rarified league title, playoff hunt
It was a showdown of the upstart Miami Valley League’s two best teams and had major playoff and league title implications. Not only does the win likely ensure Xenia (8-1) its first playoff invite, but also a possible Division II, Region 8 first-round home game.
The Buccaneers (6-0) had already clinched an MVL Valley Division title and won their eighth straight following a season-opening loss to Beavercreek. Should Xenia win at Fairborn in Week 10, it’ll be the best Bucs season since the 1969 team went 9-1 to win an outright Western Ohio League title.
»»RELATED: Waynesville dodges Northridge
“This is why you work the whole summer and get after it,” Xenia coach Trace Smitherman said. “It’s fantastic. It’s going through the process and getting an opportunity. It’s been a blessing the whole ride.”
Troy (7-2, 6-1) already had secured at least a tie for the MVL Miami title. Their five-game win streak snapped, the Trojans must defeat rival and visiting Piqua in Week 10 to win an outright title. The Trojans remain among the D-II, Region 7 playoff contenders and must defeat rival Piqua (5-4) in Week 10 for a shot at hosting a first-round game.
»»RELATED: Week 9 football power rankings
It was an electrifying win for Xenia, which led 14-3 at halftime and 21-10 on two short Andrew Pollender touchdown runs. Junior Kevin Johnson led Xenia with 127 yards rushing and senior quarterback Brett Russell added 112 yards.
Kevin Walters had 119 yards rushing to lead the Trojans in the run-heavy game. Troy QB Brayden Siler added 99 yards rushing. There were zero combined passing yards in the first half and one interception. Xenia didn’t attempt a pass.
Troy rallied in the fourth quarter on Walter’s second short touchdown run and surged ahead on Josh Mayfield’s 21-yard touchdown catch from Trojans QB Brayden Siler with 3:15 left.
“We told the boys if we want to accomplish our goals, we have to respond to that adversity and they did,” first-year Troy coach Danny Gress said. “For (Troy) to come out swinging like that in the second half, your heart goes out to them. We’ll never ask more from them what we just saw. That’s all you can ask for.”
»»RELATED: Notre Dame lands another Westbeld
Trailing 22-21, that was just enough time for Xenia to move into position for Falvey’s winning fourth-down kick with just 24 seconds left after the Bucs stalled in the red zone. Afterward, the jubilant Bucs and an appreciative and vocal fan base celebrated at midfield as Smitherman received multiple celebratory back slaps and hugs.
Falvey reset the Xenia record for most extra-point kicks this season. Like many of his teammates, he was overcome in trying to explain what this win meant to the Buccaneers program and community. Smitherman said it for him.
“He’s a storied Xenia Buccaneer for the rest of his life,” Smitherman said. “Now, he’s even more storied.”
»»RELATED: Beavercreek standout headed to Arkansas
»»RELATED: MAC football power shift
»»RELATED: Week 9 football schedule
»»PHOTOS: Fenwick at Badin, Week 8 football
»»MIKE & MARC: The boys talk Weeks 8-9 football
»»RELATED: Week 9 football computer rankings
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.