NEW HAVEN – If there was even the slighest chance Xavier could advance to play in the postseason, the Falcons were not going to let that opportunity pass without a solid effort. Xavier made sure of that Thursday evening.
Behind the passing of junior quarterback Will Levis and his defense, Xavier topped Wilbur Cross 42-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision contest at Bowen Field in New Haven.
The victory allowed the Falcons to improve to 6-4 and keep their slim playoff hopes alives as the Falcons now sit back and watch the scores to see if they will play in the postseason.
“We talked about taking care of what we can take care of and that was winning this game,” Xavier coach Sean Marinan said after his team’s victory in its regular season finale. “I am pretty happy with the way we played tonight. Now, we just have to see how the other games go.”
The Falcons decided the contest in the first half as they held a 226-4 advantage in yards and a 21-0 lead on the scoreboard. To make matters worse for the Governors, starting quarterback Dion Watts left the game late in the first quarter after suffering a lower leg injury and did not return.
Xavier finished with a 328-5 advantage in yards. Levis threw for 245 yards and five touchdowns, two going to Parker Rowley.
“We love our seniors,” Levis said. “We wanted to put forth our best effort for them. Obviouly, anything can happen. We knew when we had three losses, if we lost one more, our season could be over. We played well tonight. I am proud of the way the boys played out here tonight.”
Cross junior running back D’yante Howard was forced to go under center after the injury to Watts and the Governors’ offense, which struggled throughout, never got going.
“We are already playing with a backup quarterback (Watts) and when he goes down, we are making up plays,” Cross coach John Acquavita said after the Governors fell to 5-4. “We lost two starters and four positions to the Wilbur Cross academic rule for the next two games. We are playing with J.V. linemen. When you don’t study, it comes back to haunt you.”
Levis was on the money in the first half as he threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 13 completions.
Levis capped a 6-play, 61-yad drive with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Cunningham. The screen pass worked to perfection as Cunningham slowed down, waited for his blockers, and raced into the endzone for a 7-0 lead just 1 minute, 16 seconds into the game.
After the Xavier defense showed the Governors what type of night it would be, forcing a three-and-out on the Governors’ opening drive, Xavier marched 54 yards in eight plays to extend the margin to 14-0 with 6:19 left in the opening quarter.
A 19-yard run by Tyrone Abrahams Jr. had the Falcons in business. Then Levis hit Rowley with a 7-yard touchdown throw, the first of two touchdown strikes in the half between the pair.
“The receivers ran good routes tonight and the line did a great job blocking,” Levis said.
After Watts went out due to the injury, Cross punted and Xavier took over at its own 22. Nine plays and 78 yards later, Xavier had a 21-0 lead as Levis hit Rowley with a perfectly executed 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:01 gone by in the second quarter.
The Falcons put the game away with three scores in the third quarter. Levis hit Joseph Galatie for a 1-yard score and Owen Gonzalez with a 2-yard score, before Cunningham ran in from five yards out with 22 seconds left in the third quarter for a 42-0 lead.