News

Moeller Falls In State Semis For Second Straight Year

Posted on 11/26/2022 at 4:37 p.m.

Crusaders Get Another Big Game From Marshall In  Close Loss To Springfield

For the second consecutive season, Moeller’s postseason run in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Football State Tournament ended in the Division I state semifinals to Springfield in a close game.  After falling to the state runner-up 22-21 in last year’s Final Four, the Crusaders had their state title hopes dashed with a 28-24 loss to Springfield Friday night at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium.

Like Moeller-Springfield in the semis, the state final also is a rematch as defending state champion Lakewood St. Edward (14-1) awaits the Wildcats again in the title game.   Springfield (13-1), which lost to the perennial state power Eagles, 23-13, a year ago, get another shot at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.  St. Edward advanced with a 31-7 win against Gahanna Lincoln in the other semifinal last night.

Moeller (13-2), looking to win state championship No. 10 in its storied history and the first since claiming back-to-back DI crowns in 2012 and 2013, took a 24-21 lead with 4:31 remaining on a 42-yard field goal by Jovan Love.  But, only a few seconds later, Springfield senior quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer connected on his fourth touchdown pass, hooking up with senior Anthony Brown on a 48-yard scoring strike to put the Wildcats back in front, 28-24.

That combination represents the top passer and receiver in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, with Schondelmyer throwing for nearly 4,500 yards and 47 TDs.  Brown was on the receiving end of more than 1,500 yards and 20 TDs.

The game was close throughout with neither team leading by more than seven points to go along with three ties, including a 14-14 deadlock at halftime and later a 21-21 stalemate midway through the third quarter.  East team managed 17 first downs, with Springfield picking up 220 yards passing while Moeller put its stock again in junior running back Jordan Marshall – who had another big game.

Marshall, the unanimous Greater Catholic League South Player of the Year and an Ohio Mr. Football finalist, rushed 27 times for 176 yards and three TDs.  Marshall’s 1-yard run gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead after one quarter, and his 7-yard scoring dash put Moeller up 14-7 at halftime. His final TD, an 18-yard run, put Moeller ahead again, 21-14, just 30 seconds into the final quarter.

The Crusaders, however, were unable to get anything going through the air – completing just three pass in the game for 27 yards.  Speedster Tennel Bryant was held to two receptions for 13 yards, while Marshall caught one pass out of the backfield for 14 yards.  The Crusaders rushed 47 times for 234 yards with senior Alex Weeder adding 16 attempts for 72 yards.

Marshall, who closes the season with 1,394 yards rushing, including 30 TDs on the ground and 34 scores overall, ran for 100-plus yards in all but two games this season.  He finished with 330 yards and five TDs in the last two games, including another 165 yards and a pair of scores in Moeller’s 30-10 win against a tough Lakota West defense a week earlier despite sitting out the second half because of an injury.

It was another impressive season for Moeller, which won the GCL South title outright for the first time since 2018.  The Crusaders, under GCL South Coach of the Year Mark Elder, are a combined 24-6 the last two seasons.  Moeller’s only other setback this season was to St. Edward, 6-0, during the regular season.

Marshall, Moeller Rush Into DI Football Final Four

Posted on 11/19/2022 at 3:46 p.m.

Crusaders Win Second Straight Region Title Behind Potent Run Game

Junior Jordan Marshall carried 16 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before leaving with an injury, only to have his backfield mates Alec Weeder and Brett Kelley pick up the slack and help the Crusaders finish with 343 rushing yards and four TDs on the ground to help Moeller to a 38-20 victory against previously unbeaten Lakota West in the Division I, Region 4 final in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Football State Tournament on Friday night at Princeton High School.

Moeller (12-1), which beat West, 21-17, in last year’s regional final, earns a rematch with Region 2 winner Springfield again in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. next Friday at Alexander Stadium in Piqua. Springfield (12-1), which has won eight straight games and defeated Moeller, 22-21, a year ago, lost to Lakewood St. Edward in the DI final, beat Olentangy Liberty, 35-7, in its regional final Friday.

Defending state champion St. Edward (13-1), a 27-0 victor against Mentor in Region 1, and Gahanna Lincoln (13-1) will meet in the other state semifinal in Mansfield.  Lincoln got past New Albany to win the Region 3 title last night .

The DI state final is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 2 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Moeller is looking to win state title No. 10 in the school’s storied history.  The Crusaders are making their fifth Final Four appearance since 2012, when they won the first of consecutive back-to-back state titles.

Marshall, the Greater Catholic League South Division Player of the Year and leading rusher and scorer in the league, had a huge first half.  First, he broke free for a 64-yard run to set up Weeder’s 2-yard scoring run to give Moeller a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.  Then, running behind the Crusaders’ experienced and talented offensive line, Marshall scored a pair of TDs in the second quarter to give his team a 24-14 lead at halftime.

With Marshall sidelined after halftime in concussion protocol, according to a Cincinnati.com story, Weeder assumed the load and finished with 112 yards on 17 carries.  Kelley, who ran for 43 additional yards in the final two quarters against a West defense that had allowed 10 points in its previous three playoff games and allowed only one team Fairfield to score more than 20 points all season, in a 38-31 win.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Marshall has rushed for 626 yards and seven touchdowns in the last three games – including a career-best 263 yards and four TDs in the Crusaders’ 28-7 victory against St. Xavier in the second round.  Marshall, who did not play in Moeller’s opening win against Hamilton, now has 1,786 yards rushing and 27 TDs this season.  He is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt and 137.4 yards per game, despite seeing limited action in the second half of some games.

Freshman quarterback Matt Ponatoski, who had not taken a varsity snap before last week’s game against Mason, was at the helm again.  He completed 4-of-5 passes for 66 yards, including a 10-yard TD pass to junior tight end Eli Jacon-Duffy to give Moeller a 31-13 lead early in the third quarter.  That scoring strike capped a lengthy drive that gave the Crusaders a three-score lead.

Senior lineman Brandon Martin had a huge game for the Moeller, defending recording eight total tackles and finishing with 3.5 of the Crusaders’ six sacks of West senior quarterback Mitch Bolden – who was under pressure throughout the game.  Bolden, a four-year starter and son of West coach Tom Bolden, still finished with 209 yards passing and two TDs, while also leading the Firebirds with 100 yards rushing.

It was another outstanding season for West, the three-time reigning Greater Miami Conference champion that was making its third straight appearance in the regional final.  The Firebirds are a combined 32-4 the last three seasons, with two losses to Moeller and two to GCL South member St. Xavier – which beat West, 10-7, in the 2020 regional final on its way to the state championship.

GCL South Announces 2022 Soccer All-Stars

Posted on 11/14/2022 at 9:01 a.m.

Moeller’s Poppell Is Player of Year; St. X’s Schaeper Coach of Year

The Greater Catholic League South Division is pleased to announce its all-star soccer team for the 2022 season. Members of this prestigious team, along with winners of special awards, were voted on by league coaches at a special meeting held at the conclusion of the regular season.

Moeller junior midfielder Bradley Poppell, who led the league in goals and points scored and , was named GCL South Player of the Year. 

St. Xavier coach Brian Schaeper, whose team won the league championship outright for the third consecutive year, is the GCL South Coach of the Year for the third season in a row.

Poppell, a three-year varsity starter, is etching his name into the Crusader soccer record books.  He set the single-season school record for goals (21),  surpassing Brian Bonham in 1988 and Brock Kiper in 2021, each scoring 19.  He also moved ahead of Bonham for the most points in a single season, 47, and is also tied for fourth in career goals scored and ranks fifth in career points scored.

He helped lead the Crusaders to their second regional title in program history and a subsequent berth in the DI state semifinals – where the Crusaders lost to New Albany, 2-1, in double overtime. Poppell paced a Moeller offense that scored the most goals in a single season, 71, and had the highest goals per game average, just under 3.3 per match.  Moeller finished 16-2-4 overall.

Schaeper, whose team earned the No. 2 seed in the Southwest District Cincinnati bracket of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Soccer State Tournament, guided his team to a 4-0-2 record in the GCL South, running their league unbeaten streak to 18 matches.  St. Xavier fell just short of winning its sixth consecutive district final, falling to Springboro, 2-1.

St. Xavier finished with an 11-3-4 overall record against an arduous schedule, with its only losses to three-time defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius; Greater Western Ohio Conference champion Centerville, 2-1; and Springboro.

Schaeper, whose team advanced to the DI state semifinals in 2020, the regional final in 2021, and the Bombers’ sixth straight district final appearance this season, earned the honor from his peers.

Here is a look at this year’s league all-star selections:

ALL-GCL SOUTH DIVISION SOCCER TEAM

FIRST TEAM
NAME, SCHOOL, CLASS
Mitchell Creighton, La Salle, Senior
Luke Eckert, St. Xavier, Senior
Reece Heisel, St. Xavier, Senior
Jackson Hollander, Elder, Senior
Logan Lewis, La Salle, Senior
Maddox Miller, Moeller, Junior
James O’Connor, St. Xavier, Senior
Bradley Poppell, Moeller, Junior
Aidan Stratmann, Elder, Senior
Luke Wilson, Moeller, Senior
Trey Wynn, St. Xavier, Senior

SECOND TEAM
NAME, SCHOOL,CLASS
Caden Ammon, Elder, Junior
Jonah Arszman, Moeller, Senior
Daniel Campos, St. Xavier, Junior
Si Franke, St. Xavier, Senior
Jackson Gruber, La Salle, Senior
Charlie Niehaus, Moeller, Senior
Sterling Segal, Moeller, Junior
Bennett Tekavec, St. Xavier, Sophomore
Pierce Wahl, St. Xavier, Senior
Kenny Zang, La Salle, Senior
Reece Ziegelmier, Elder, Junior

SENIOR ACADEMIC ALL-STARS
NAME, SCHOOL
 Caleb Sunderman, Elder
Jackson Gruber, La Salle
Luke Wilson, Moeller
Jack Burkart, St. Xavier

SPECIAL AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Bradley Poppell, Moeller

COACH OF THE YEAR
Brian Schaeper, St. Xavier

Moeller Ready To Defend Regional Football Title

Posted on 11/12/2022 at 2:03 p.m.

Crusaders Hold Off Mason Rally; Elder Falls To Unbeaten Lakota West

Moeller is headed back to the Division I, Region 4 final of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Football State Tournament next week and, if the Crusaders are to advance to the state semifinals for the second straight year, coach Mark Elder’s team will have to defeat Southwest Ohio’s only unbeaten team and the same opponent it faced a year ago in Lakota West.

The Greater Catholic League South Division champion and No. 1 seed Crusaders earned their second consecutive regional final appearance with a 24-16 victory against Mason in a semifinal game Friday night at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown.  Moeller (12-1) roared out to a 21-0 lead at halftime, then led 24-0 heading into the fourth quarter before Mason (10-3) rallied to score a pair of touchdowns and two-point conversations to narrow the margin to one score at 24-16 with three minutes remaining.

Moeller, largely behind junior back Jordan Marshall, was able to run out the clock to preserve its fourth straight win and earn a date next Friday with Lakota West – which used its strong defense and a big second half to pull away from Elder, 30-10, in the other regional semifinal game played at Princeton’s Mancuso Field at Jake Sweeney Automotive Stadium.

West (13-0), the Greater Miami Conference champ, is making its third straight regional final appearance.  Moeller is the outright GCL South champ and looking to win its first state title since earning back-to-back DI state crowns in 2012 and 2013, giving the Crusaders’ storied program ninth in its history.

In last year’s regional final, Marshall’s 3-yard TD run almost a minute into the fourth quarter was the game-winning score in a 21-17 Moeller victory.  The Crusaders lost to Springfield, 22-21, a week later in the state semifinals.  West also made it to the regional final in 2020, losing in the final minute to St. Xavier, 10-7.  The Bombers went on to win their fourth state championship that year, and second in five years.

No. 2 Elder (10-3) came into last night’s game with West as one of the region’s hottest teams – having won five consecutive games and seven of eight behind a potent offense and a stingy defense.  But against West, the Panthers were unable to get untracked – finishing with nine first downs and 197 total yards despite have plenty of opportunities based on solid field position.    The Panthers were 2-of-10 on third down.

Senior quarterback Ben Schoster led Elder with 95 yards rushing, but 50 of those came on one play that set up an Elder field goal in the first half.  Senior Luke Flowers carried 16 times for 58 yards. Facing a talented West secondary, Schoster completed 8-of-19 passes for 53 yards and one TD, a 3-yarder to Carson Browne in the third third quarter that cut the deficit to 20-10.

Elder was able to stop West and get the ball back, driving it to the 28 before Firebirds’ linebacker Jacob Asbeck sacked Schoster and forced a punt.   West then responded to score the game’s final 10 points, largely thanks to senior quarterback Mitch Bolden – son of Firebirds’ coach Tom Bolden. Mitch was 12-of-20 passing for 152 yards, one TD and one interception, while picking up a game-high 97 yards on the ground – 50 on the final two drives, with a 1-yard TD to close the scoring.

It was an outstanding season for Elder, which posted impressive victories against Covington Catholic, Pickerington Central, Springboro, Indianapolis Roncalli and Louisville St. Xavier during the regular season.  The Panthers’ lone defeats are to three regional finalists – defending state champion Lakewood St. Edward, 17-14; Moeller, 42-14; and West.  Elder beat Middletown and Milford in the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

Moeller added a new wrinkle to its offense against Mason, inserting freshman quarterback Matt Ponatoski into the game in the first half for his first varsity action this season.  With Moeller up 7-0 after a 36-yard TD run by Marshall, Ponatoski found senior receiver Tennel Bryant in the end zone for a 33-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0 after one quarter.  Then, a 1-yard TD run by Brett Kelley gave Moeller a 21-0 lead at halftime, and the Crusaders increased the advantage to 24-0 in the third.

Elder attempted to take advantage of the large margin to give a few of his starters a breather, but Mason – which entered the game having won five in a row – including a 29-26 victory at Springboro a week earlier – made a furious comeback and scored twice in the fourth quarter, also converting two-point plays to make it a one-score game.  

Marshal carried 12 times for 98 yards and the one score, while Kelley had 15 rushes for a season-high 90 yards and a TD.  Ponatoski connect on 7-of-18 passes for 106 yards and one TD in what was the first varsity appearance of the season for the ninth-grader.

Moeller Soccer Run Ends In DI State Semifinals

Posted on 11/11/2022 at 5:37 p.m.

Crusaders Fall To State Power New Albany In Double Overtime, 2-1

Moeller’s extended celebration of year No. 50 for its varsity soccer program ended Wednesday night with a 2-1 loss in double overtime to state power New Albany in the Division I state semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Soccer State Tournament at Springfield High School.

Senior forward Gabe Anthony scored with three minutes left in the second OT to give New Albany (16-1-3) its first trip to the DI state final in school history.  The Eagles, ranked No. 2 behind 11-time state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius (20-2-0) in the final Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association DI poll, advance to meet the top-ranked Wildcats in the state final match at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lower.com Field, home of the Major Soccer League Columbus Crew.

St. Ignatius advanced with a 1-0 win against Medina in its state semifinal.  New Albany enters the state final having not suffered defeat in 19 matches, since falling to Olentangy Orange, 1-0, in the season opener on August 25.

Anthony, who had 28 goals a year ago and has 18 goals and 17 assists this year, also scored his team’s first goal.  Moeller, riding a nine-game winning streak, tied the match a few minutes later when senior defender Luke Wilson became the 10th different Crusader to score a postseason goal. The game remained 1-1 through the end of regulation and after the first OT period.

That should come as no surprise to Moeller (16-2-4), making its second appearance in the state semifinals in five years – advancing to the championship match in 2018 before falling to Medina, 2-1, in OT.  The Crusaders entered the match having recorded 14 shutouts, one shy of the school record of 15 set in 2018.    Moeller had not allowed more than one goal since a 3-2 loss to St. Xavier on October 4.

In 10 matches since, Moeller had allowed four goals total and registered six shutouts.   Offensively, too, the Crusaders finish the season with 71 goals scored by 19 different players, a team record. This year’s team is only the fourth in school history to finish with 16-plus wins, joining the 2018 (19 wins) and the 1994 and 2018 (16 wins each).

The 2022 All-GCL Soccer Teams will be announced on the site Monday morning, including the first- and second-team members, senior academic all-stars, and the winners of special awards.