Champions at last!

RIVERSIDE — Pardon the cliché, but the third time really was the charm for Xenia’s all-white sixth-grade football team.

After losing in the Gem City Youth Conference championship game as fourth and fifth, the Wee Bucs finally won that elusive title — in their final season at GCYC — beating the Huber Heights White team, 8-0, at Stebbins High School Saturday night.

Early in the fourth quarter, Marqus Keller stripped the ball from a Wayne running back and returned it to the 32. On the first play, DeMarco Ruffin followed his blockers, got outside, and sprinted down the sideline. for a TD with 9:50 left. Jamison Williams passed to Conner Howard for a two-point conversion, which was more than enough for the Bucs, who allowed just two touchdowns all season.

“They were absolutely amazing to go 12-0,” said head coach Freddie Williams, trying to contain his excitement and emotion. “Hats off to this coaching staff, to everybody that’s here because we put in a lot of work to get to this point. They watched film. They ran. They did everything they could.”

All they could do is an understatement.

Starting at Bantam and moving on to sixth grade, most of the teams and coaches and even the cheerleaders stay together, and each year they build on what they did the previous season. That made the championship win even sweeter.

“We made ourselves believe we (played) for six years and that was the time we were going to do it,” Keller said. “You can’t describe (that feeling). It’s so beautiful.”

Kaine Lewis, sporting bloodshot eyes from tears of joy, had trouble putting his thoughts into words.

“It’s like, you can’t talk,” he said. “How speechless.”

But he managed to gather the reason why Xenia emerged as a champion.

“We did more work this year than we did the last two years,” Lewis said.

Many of the players have been with the team since its inception.

“We started this when we were four years old,” said Freddie Williams, fighting back tears. “To know that these are my kids that come out like this, I couldn’t be more proud of my family. I’m so proud and grateful for them, to be able to share this. These guys were amazing.”

There was also some personal satisfaction for Williams.

“Three of these in a row, that’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “I have a monkey off my back, that’s for sure.”

Let’s not forget the cheerleaders, who also did a lot of work.

“Our cheerleaders ran, they learned to do flips,” Williams said. “They decided they wanted to level up with us.”

That explains why they hugged and cried even after the game.

“It just means a lot,” Haylynn Mickle said. “It was just as emotional, but also good.”

The Wee Bucs scored 407 points, had touchdowns from 13 of 18 players, seven defensive TDs, and eight punt-return TDs. Xenia gave up one TD in the regular season and one in the playoffs.

Other team members were Adrian Lanier Jr., Brylan Creditt, MaSiya Starks, Cayden Palmer, Gage Faulkner, Jaden Sparks, Korey Adams, Grayson Leverance, Jeremiah Goodrum, Greyson McClanahan, Brayson Gearing, Sawyer Lockwood and Emmet Gulley.

Assistant coaches were Andy Lewis, Ken Goodrum, Kenny Keller, Steven Spears, Trevon Caldwell and Sam Lockwood. The team mom was Cheri Lockwood.

Other cheerleaders were Kennedy Cox, Azure Davis, Shannon Glass, Alexandria Norfleet, Olivia Smith, Natalie Stewart, Bristol Williamson, Ava Wirth, Kaylee Norfleet, Addison Patterson and Madyson DeNise. Cheerleading coaches were Kayla Patterson and Andrea Rogers.

A Xenia cheerleader is overcome with emotion after the Wee Bucs finally won a championship after two previous attempts failed.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0507.jpgA Xenia cheerleader is full of emotion after the Wee Bucs finally won a championship after two previous attempts they were done.

The Xenia Wee Bucs sixth grade team White takes the field before the game against Huber Heights.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0348.jpg The Xenia Wee Bucs sixth grade team takes the field before the game against Huber Heights.

Xenia cheerleaders keep the crowd entertained between plays.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0359.jpgXenia cheerleaders keep the crowd entertained between plays.

Xenia’s Kaine Lewis tries to turn the corner as a Huber Heights player makes a tackle.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0370.jpgXenia’s Kaine Lewis tries to turn the corner as a Huber Heights player makes a tackle.

Brayson Gearing runs past a Huber player as DeMarco Ruffin (34) looks on, ready to make a block.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0376.jpgBrayson Gearing scoots by a Huber player as DeMarco Ruffin (34) watches, ready to make a block.

QB Jamison Williams rolls to his right and looks downfield for a receiver.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0401.jpgQB Jamison Williams rolls to his right and looks downfield for a receiver.

Xenia cheerleaders perform at halftime.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0413.jpgXenia’s cheerleaders perform at halftime.

Greyson McClanahan makes a tackle on a Huber Heights player.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0439.jpg Greyson McClanahan makes a tackle on a Huber Heights player.

DeMarco Ruffin followed his cadre of blockers en route to a 32-yard touchdown run.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0452.jpgDeMarco Ruffin follows his cadre of blockers en route for a 32-yard touchdown run.

A Xenia coach and Brylan Creditt flex after a great defensive play.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0459.jpgA Xenia coach and Brylan Creditt flex after a big defensive play.

Cheerleaders begin to realize that Xenia’s team will finally win a championship.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0484.jpgThe cheerleaders are starting to realize that the Xenia team will finally win a championship.

Coach Freddie Williams’ look says it all.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0502.jpg Coach Freddie Williams’ look says it all.

Alexandria Norfleet and Azure Davis shed tears of joy as Madyson DeNise prepares to applaud a teammate.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0510.jpgAlexandria Norfleet and Azure Davis shed tears of joy as Madyson DeNise prepares to applaud a teammate.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0514.jpg Hugs and tears all round.

Xenia’s coaches are splashed with water as they celebrate the championship.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_DSC_0491.jpgXenia’s buses are sprayed with water as they celebrate the championship.

Photos by Scott Halasz | Greene County News The Xenia Wee Bucs sixth grade white team won the Gem City Youth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the team’s first title in three tries. This was this team’s last year at GCYC.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/11/web1_Champs-1.jpgPhoto by Scott Halasz | Greene County News The Xenia Wee Bucs sixth grade white team won the Gem City Youth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the team’s first title in three tries. This was this team’s last year at GCYC.

The sixth grade Wee Bucs won the title at the last attempt

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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