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Posted on 9/19/2020 at 6:08 p.m.

La Salle Wins In Louisville; St. Xavier Falls In Close Loss to Hoosier Power
 
Junior Drew Ramsey caught 14 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing 14 times for 84 yards and one TD, both team highs, to help lead Elder back from a 13-0 first-quarter deficit to a 35-22 win against Moeller in the lone Greater Catholic League South Division game Friday night at The Pit on Elder High School’s Price Hills campus.  La Salle and St. Xavier both stepped out of league play to face interstate opponents and returned home with mixed results last night.
 
La Salle traveled to Louisville to face DuPont Manual, and the Lancers posted their second straight non-league victory with a 17-7 win versus Manual – which was playing its first game of the season after Kentucky schools delayed the start of their season until last week because of COVID-19.  St. Xavier suffered its second loss this season to an Indiana state power, rallying late but falling just short against undefeated and highly regarded Indianapolis Cathedral, 25-22.
 
St. Xavier fell to unbeaten Brownsburg, Ind., 30-24 in overtime in week one.
 
Elder (2-2, 1-2 GCL South) wrapped up its GCL South schedule with a win after falling to La Salle in an instant classic, 53-52, in double OT in the season opener – the first such meeting by GCL schools in the storied history of the league and then 31-17 last week at home to St. Xavier, a game in which the Panthers held leads of 10-0 after the first quarter and 24-17 after three quarters, before St. Xavier came alive to score three fourth-quarter TDs to leave The Pit with a victory.
 
Against Moeller (1-3, 0-1), playing the first of three consecutive GCL South games to close the abbreviated six-game Ohio regular season, Elder  allowed two scores in the first 10 minutes as the Crusaders jumped out to the early road advantage behind a 71-yard scoring strike from junior Noah Geselbracht – making his first start of the season – to senior TJ Rotello, who moved to running back after playing the first three games at QB.  Senior Daniel Dunlop then ran 30 yards for the team’s second score.
 
Elder, after being shut down in the first 12 minutes, exploded for three TDs in the second quarter to take a 21-16 halftime lead.  Ramsey caught TD strikes of nine and 17 yards, respectively, from junior QB Ben Hambelton – who had another outstanding game, completing 23-of-27 passes for 282 yards, four TDs and no interceptions.  Ramsey’s 1-yard run with 30 seconds left before halftime gave Elder a 21-13 lead before Moeller’s Noah Hughes kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired to make it 21-16.
 
Neither team scored until the final 22 seconds of the third quarter, when Ramsey hauled in his third TD pass – this one covering 10 yards to make it 28-16, and junior receiver Andrew Harp was on the receiving end of an 11-yard strike from Hambelton with 2:32 left to make it 35-16.  Moeller had the game’s final score on a nine-yard connection from Geselbracht to junior tight end Josh Kattus.  Rotello had a big night for Moeller, rushing 16 times for 105 yards and catching three passes for 206 yards and a TD.
 
Geselbracht connected on 13-of-22 passes for 198 yards and two scores.
 
Elder racked up 24 first downs and 442 yards of total offense, while have the ball for 11 more minutes than Moeller.  Neither team was guilty of a turnover.  Moeller, which has now lost three straight after a season-opening win at Bishop Harley in Columbus, travels to St. Xavier at 7 p.n. next Friday.  The Bombers can clinch the GCL South championship outright with a win, while Elder remains at home for the fifth straight week to host Walnut Hills at 7.
 
St. Xavier (2-2) will be looking to rebound after falling to Cathedral last night, a game that was tied at halftime, 15-15 and then saw St. Xavier rally back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 25-22 at the midway point of the fourth quarter on a 43-yard TD pass from junior Ryan Nolan – seeing his first varsity action of the season – to senior standout and Penn State University recruit Liam Clifford.
 
Nolan, who replaced injured starter Brogan McCaughey, completed 11-of-19 passes for 158 yards, one TD with two interceptions.  Clifford had a huge night for the Bombers, who had a chance late for a potential game-tying or winning drive after forcing and recovering a fumble, but an interception negated the final drive and sent the Bombers to their second loss of the season against a top-level team from Greater Indianapolis.
 
Clifford led the St. Xavier offense, catching eight passes for 119 yards and two scores.  Junior Jalen Patterson hauled in four passes for 70 yards for St. Xavier, which was unable to get its rushing game untracked, carrying 27 times for 23 net yards.  The Bombers were opportunistic on defense as well, forcing three Fighting Irish turnovers – including a 24-yard interception and return for a TD with 14 second left before halftime to tie the game, 15-15 at intermission. 
 
La Salle (3-1) turned in its second straight strong defensive performance following a week two setback to St. Xavier at home.  The Lancers, who jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter in a 35-13 win at Lakota East last week, held DuPont Manual to a single touchdown and no scoring over the final three quarters of its game in Louisville last night.  The Lancers have only allowed 44 points in the last three games after giving up 52 to Elder in the opener.
 
The defending Division II state champions allowed DuPont Manual to take an early 7-0 lead, but responded with 1:48 left in the first quarter to tie the game on a 3-yard TD run by senior quarterback Zach Branam – who finished with 55 yards passing and 45 yards rushing.  Sophomore kicker Mason Luensman added a 44-yard field goal to give the Lancers a 10-7 advantage.

La Salle’s defense did the rest, coming up with a huge play when senior linebacker John Baker blocked a punt that was recovered by University of Cincinnati recruit Iesa Jarmon to give the Lancers a 17-7 lead heading into intermission.  The Lancers’ defense did the rest.  La Salle held Manual to less than 200 yards total offense and forced two turnovers, recording a shutout in the second half.  Up next for the Lancers is a trek to Indianapolis to face Cathedral next Friday.

Posted on 9/13/2020 at 7:05 a.m.

La Salle Wins Non-League Game; Moeller Falls at Louisville Trinity
 
After trailing for much of the game, including facing a 24-17 deficit entering the fourth quarter, St. Xavier scored 21 unanswered points to post a 38-24 victory against Elder in a key Greater Catholic League South Division game Friday night at The Pit on Elder’s Price Hill campus.  The win moves St. Xavier one win away (when it hosts Moeller in two weeks) from clinching the league championship outright for the first time since 2017.
 
St. Xavier (2-1, 2-0 GCL South), which opened the conference schedule with a 24-10 win at defending champion La Salle one week earlier, used another solid performance from junior quarterback Brogan McCaughey and a running game that produced two fourh-quarter TDs to come from behind against Elder (1-2, 0-2), which opened the regular season with a 53-52 loss in double overtime to La Salle two weeks earlier.
 
La Salle and Moeller stepped out of GCL South play last night to go 1-1.  The Lancers, looking to rebound from the St. Xavier loss, scored 21 points to begin the game and posted a 35-13 win against Lakota East from the Greater Miami Conference on East’s Liberty Township campus.  The sledding was more difficult for Moeller, which played its second straight interstate opponent in as many weeks and lost at nationally ranked and defending Class 6A state champion Louisville Trinity, 44-7.
 
The Elder-St. Xavier matchup certainly lived up to its pre-game hype.  Elder, led by first-year starting junior QB Ben Hambelton, held leads of 10-0, 17-10 and 24-17 through the first three quarters.  Hambelton connected on 15-of-23 passes for 282 yards and three TDs, giving him 10 passing TDs with no interceptions through three games.  Senior Scott Nioeman (four catches, 114 yards, two TDs) and junior Drew Rasmey (5-79-1) were Hambelton’s primary targets.
 
Elder, however, was unable to get its ground game untracked – finishing with 22 carries for 21 net yards.  Instead, it was St. Xavier that managed to break through on the ground – led by junior Charles Kellom, who rushed 12 times for 77 yards and an 8-yard scoring run that tied the game, 24-24.  Senior Luke Vransky carried 15 times for 64 yards and two TDs, one covering 26 yards with 1:01 remaining to ice the game.
 
The Bombers, who also got 200 yards and two scores on 17-of-26 passes from junior Brogan McCCaughey was diverse on offense.  McCaughey spread his passes around to five different targets, hitting senior Lucas Cates with an 18-yard TD strike to give the Bombers a 31-24 lead with 5:09 left in the game.  St. Xavier, which travels to Indianapolis to face Cathedral next Friday, outgained Elder, 158-21, on the ground.  Elder closes out its GCL South schedule against Moeller at 7 p.m. next Friday at The Pit.
 
La Salle (2-1) got a reprieve after two grueling GCL South games to start the year, and the Lancers turned in a strong performance on both sides of the ball against East (0-3), which opened with consecutive losses by a total of 10 points to Sycamore (34-31) and unbeaten Mason (28-21).  Senior quarterback Zach Branam rushed 11 times for 99 yards and two TDs, while also completing 9-of-12 passes for 116 yards, and junior back Gi’Bran Payne added 58 yards and two TDs on the ground for the Lancers.
 
The Lancers’ defense forced three turnovers while not committing any miscues.  La Salle travels to Louisville next Friday to face DuPont Manual, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.  This will be the season opener for DuPont Manual, which had a scrimmage last night before its season opener against the Lancers.  Last week was the first week that Kentucky high schools could face opponents in fall contact sports.
 
Moeler (1-2), which one week earlier traveled to St. Leon, Ind. to face East Central (a 21-6 loss for the Crusaders) after going to Columbus to post a come-from-behind win against Bishop Hartley in the opener, faced a team from a third different state on Friday – and one of the perennial best programs in Kentucky, the region and the country in Trinity.  The Shamrocks played the part, scoring five first-half TDs en toute to a 37-0 lead at intermission.
 
The Crusaders had 125 total yards of offense, with 75 coming on its only scoring play (a 74-yard pass from senior quarterback TJ Rotello to sophomore receiver Temel Bryant, and five first downs against a fast and talented Trinity defense.  Moeller rushed 18 times for 24 net yards and committed three turnovers.  The schedule doesn’t get much easier for Moeller, which closes the six-game Ohio regular season with GCL South road games at Elder, St. Xavier and La Salle the final three weeks.

Posted on 9/11/2020 at 7:39 p.m.

Winner One Step Closer To Title; La Salle, Moeller On Road Tonight
 
Two first-year starting quarterbacks take center stage tonight when Elder hosts St. Xavier in a key Greater Catholic League South Division football game at 7 p.m. at The Pit on Elder High School’s Price Hill campus.  Juniors Ben Hambelton of Elder and Brogan McCaughey of St. Xavier, taking over their respective offenses after both programs graduated starters after last season, lead the league in passing yards after the first two games.
 
In fact, only one yard separates the two with Hambelton having completed 32-of-41 passes for 562 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.  Hambelton took over for Matthew Luyebbe, who was named co-GCL South Player of the Year last season with Cam Porter of La Salle.  McCaughey, who stepped in for first-team all-league performer Matthew Reuve (now at Boston College), has connected on 47-of-70 passes for 561 yards, five TDs and two interceptions.  He passed for 309 yards, three TDs with no picks against La Salle last week.
 
Tonight’s game could go a long way in determining the GCL South champion.  Elder (1-1, 0-1 GCL South) needs a win and a victory against Moeller next Friday to have a chance of sharing the league title.  St. Xavier (1-1, 1-0) can win the crown outright with a win tonight and against Moeller .  Elder opened its season with a 53-52 loss to La Salle in double overtime two weeks ago; St. Xavier defeated the Lancers, 24-10, last Friday ay at La Salle.
 
La Salle and Moeller, though, can still earn the coveted GCL South championship – with Moeller (1-1) having the chance to win it outright.  The Crusaders, who are at nationally ranked Louisville Trinity at 7 tonight in the season-opening game for Kentucky schools, play their GCL South schedule starting next Friday with consecutive games at Elder, St. Xavier and La Salle the final three weeks of the abbreviated six-week Ohio regular season schedule.  Moeller lost at East Central, Ind., 21-6, last Friday.
 
La Salle (1-1, 1-1), the defending GCL South champion, had its four-game league winning streak snapped by St. Xavier last week.  The Lancers close their league schedule by hosting Moeller in week six.  La Salle travels to Liberty Township at 7 tonight to face Lakota East (0-2) from the Greater Miami Conference.  If two or more teams finish in a tie, the schools share the league title as there is not head-to-head competition or other formulas used as a tiebreaker.

Posted 9/10/2020 at 9:51 a.m.

Bombers’ Fourth Shutout In Five Matches Aids Win At Elder 

Senior defender Hunter Begehr found junior forward Tanner Creech, who scored at the 15-minute mark of the second half to break a scoreless tie and give St. Xavier all the offense it would need to ultimately post a 2-0 victory against Elder in the Greater Catholic League South Division opener for both teams Tuesday night at the Panther Athletic Complex in Price Hill.

Begehr also assisted on his team’s second goal at 61-minute mark, scored by senior forward Huntingimana Jacques – who notched his first goal of the season for St. Xavier (5-0-0, 1-0 GCL South).  The assists were the first and second of the season for Begehr.  St. Xavier was again strong defensively, recording its fourth shutout in five matches against Elder (0-4-1, 0-1).  St. Xavier has now outscored the opposition, 16-2, the only goals allowed in a 6-2 win against Anderson.

Up next for St. Xavier is a non-conference match against Lakota West at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Xavier Stadium on the school’s North Bend Road campus.  The Bombers then return to GCL South play when they host La Salle (1-2-2, 0-1) at 7 next Tuesday night.  La Salle held a 3-0 lead against three-time defending GCL South champion last Thursday on the road before the Crusaders roared back with four second-half goals in a 4-3 victory.

Moeller (2-1-1, 1-0) , which has not played since last Thursday, is off until it faces Elder at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at the Panther Athletic Complex in Price Hill.

La Salle has two more matches this week, hosting Dayton Carroll from the GCL Co-Ed Division at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Lancer Stadium before traveling to Seven Hills for a 3:30 p.m. match Saturday.  Elder welcomes Covington Catholic to the PAC at 7 Thursday.  This is the first week that Kentucky schools have been able to play fall sports.

Posted on 9/8/2020 at 7:39 a.m.

Unbeaten St. Xavier Opens League Play With Road Match At Elder

Junior Brock Kiper scored three goals in just over 17 minutes in the second half as Moeller scored four goals after intermission to erase a 3-0 halftime deficit and post a 4-3 victory over La Salle in the Greater Catholic South Division soccer opener for both schools Thursday at the Gerry Faust Athletic Complex on Moeller’s Montgomery Road campus.  The win extends Moeller’s GCL South unbeaten streak to 25 matches dating back to October 11, 2016 – a 3-0 loss at La Salle.

Moeller (2-1-1, 1-0 GCL South) has won two straight matches by a goal after opening with a draw and a one-goal setback in its annual series against Mason.  The Crusaders defeated Lakota West earlier in the week before falling behind La Salle, 3-0, at intermission Thursday after the Lancers got three goals from three different players – Chase Sisky, Charlie Pearson and Sam McAlister.

Moeller came out after halftime and scored its first goal, at 42:41, when Trevor Morrison found the net unassisted.  Kiper then scored the first of two consecutive goals assisted by Bradford Poppell at 57:18, and then tied the match with that same combination at 67:10.  Just under seven minutes later, it was Kiper recording his third goal of the match on an assist from Yoro Diallo.

The Crusaders are off for 12 days before traveling to Elder on Tuesday, September 15 to face the Panthers.  Moeller and St. Xavier are scheduled to meet one week later at Moeller.

La Salle (1-2-1, 0-1) stepped out of the GCL South Saturday to face Colerain from the GMC, and the two teams played to a 2-2 draw at Lancer Stadium.  La Salle has two non-conference matches this week, hosting Dayton Carroll from the GCL Co-Ed Division at 7:15 p.m. Thursday before traveling to Seven Hills at 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

St. Xavier (4-0), off to an impressive start, opens GCL South play against Elder at 7 tonight at the Panther Athletic Complex in Price Hill.  The Bombers have outscored their first four opponents by a combined 14-2 score, including two wins last weekend in the annual Jesuit Cup.

St. Xavier opened the season with a strong 3-0 victory against Division I state semifinalist Lakota East in the opening week.  After facing Elder, St. Xavier returns to its home pitch to face Lakota West at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Bombers swept both matches against Elder last season, winning 2-1 at home and 3-1 at Elder, to finish second behind Moeller in the league standings.  A young Elder team is still looking for its first win of the season after falling to neighborhood rival Oak Hills, 2-1, Saturday at the PAC.  Elder (0-3-1) also hosts Covington Catholic at 7 Thursday night at the PAC.

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