Junior-To-Be Ashley Already On The Radar

A big part of Cincinnati St. Xavier's first state football championship in 2005 was sophomore running back Darius Ashley, who cranked out over 1,600 yards for the Bombers. Ashley has been busy with track season and is already looking forward to defending his team's state championship as a junior.

Cincinnati St. Xavier's Darius Ashley wrapped up his sophomore year this past weekend by participating in the state track meet at Ohio State.

Ashley was a member of the 4x100 relay team for St. X. But they were missing a key team member due to injury and did not make the finals.

The 5-9, 177-pound Ashley helped St. X post a 15-0 record and claim the Division I state championship. He had a dynamite sophomore year, rushing for 1,653 yards and 26 touchdowns on 253 carries (6.5 average).

"It was great," said Ashley. "It would have been great no matter what grade I was in. But it was fun for me to play with the seniors we had."

Ashley has actually added roughly 12 pounds since playing last fall at 165 pounds.

"I think I'm pretty good running between the tackles for a back my size," he said. "I have a lot to work on still.

"I am hoping to gain some more weight over the summer and play at about 180. I'm going to work hard for it. It's hard to maintain your speed and get bigger."

In terms of track, Ashley concentrated on three events – the 100-meter dash, the long jump and the 4x100. His best time in the 100 was 10.8 seconds.

In terms of colleges, Ashley hopes he is able to attract interest from some major conference schools.

"I am getting a lot of questionnaires to fill out," he said. "I don't have a list, really. I'd like to play at a big school."

For the time being, Ashley is focused on trying to help St. X repeat as a state champion.

"That's the goal every year going into the season," he said. "Cincinnati Elder did it, but they were a great team. Last year was last year. It was great, but it's over with. We have started working on next year. That's what we're focused on right now.

"We've got a good group of seniors coming back, especially on the offensive line."

Ashley said he and his teammates will be working hard in the weeks leading up to the start of preseason camp.

"We work three days a week during the summer," he said. "It takes that and then some to win a championship. Last year, the seniors were good at motivating the young guys to go out and work on their own. Keeping it up during the season is a big part of it, too."

As always, St. X will play in the rough Greater Catholic League. It opens Aug. 26 with a regional final rematch against Huber Heights Wayne and will also play Lakeland, Fla., as part of the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge on Sept. 16.

"Our entire schedule will be tough," Ashley said. "It was tough last year and nobody thought we could do it.

"(Lakeland was) ranked No. 1 in the country last year," he said. "Everybody is looking forward to that game. But we have to get ready to play (Huber Heights) Wayne. After that, we'll worry about the rest."

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