Big Games On Tap Tonight In GCL South Football

10/02/2015

Posted on 10/2/2015 at 4:05 p.m.

Elder-St. Xavier, La Salle-Moeller Highlight Big Friday

The first full Friday night of games in the Greater Catholic League South will certainly have implications on the league championship, with St. Xavier hosting Elder as the Bombers try to move one win away from at least a share of the GCL South title, and La Salle putting its winning streak on the line when the Lancers play Moeller at Lockland Stadium.  Both games are set to kick off at 7 p.m.

Elder-St. Xavier matches two teams ranked in the Associated Press Division I state poll, two of the top three teams in The Enquirer’s weekly coaches’ poll, and two of the top three teams in this week’s Region 2 Harbin computer rankings that are used to qualify teams for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state playoffs each year.

Elder (4-1), tied with St. Xavier at No. 7 in the AP state rankings, No. 2 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly poll and No. 3 in the Region 2 Harbin ratings, 
Looks to hand St. Xavier its first home loss this season.  The Panthers enter tonight with one of Greater Cincinnati’s most potent offenses, averaging 40 points a game behind senior quarterback Peyton Ramsey – an Indiana University commit.

Ramsey is a threat to throw the ball, completing 77-of-115 passes for a GCL-South best 1,095 yards with 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and also run – carrying 50 times for 502 yards, which is third best in the GCL south, and five TDs.  Seniors Nick Hall and Robby Oswald are Ramsey’s favorite targets, while junior back Ja’Vahri Portis has rushed 105 times for 596 yards, second in the league, and a GCL South-best 13 TDs.

The Panthers, who are coming off a 56-39 win over Centerville, will face a St. Xavier defense that has not allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in a game this season, and held Colerain and Moeller to 10 points each.  And the Bombers can score, too, behind junior quarterback Sean Clifford – a Penn State commit was has connected on 63-of-98 passes for 740 yards and eight TDs.  He has been intercepted twice.

St. Xavier  (4-1, 1-1 in GCL South), which is No. 3 in The Enquirer’s poll and No. 5 in the Region 2 computer ratings, are in a stretch of four home games in five weeks – including hosting La Salle next Friday.  After next week, though, the Bombers close the season with three straight non-conference road games, at Warren Central, Ind., Cleveland St. Ignatius and Louisville St. Xavier.

In tonight’s other GCL South game, unbeaten and top-ranked La Salle (5-0) travels to Lockland Stadium to meet Moeller (2-3) in the GCL South opener for both schools.  The Lancers, No. 1 in the Division II state and local polls and also holding down the top spot in the Region 6 computer rankings, are looking to extend their winning streak to 14 games dating back to last October – when St. Xavier edged La Salle, 24-21.

Once again, La Salle boasts a potent offense that appears to be hitting its peak – scoring 49 and 56 points the last two weeks and averaging 44.4 points per game.  Leading the way is senior Jeremy Larkins, who has rushed 61 times for 739 yards – a 12.1-yard average per carry – and a total of 12 TDs, 10 rushing and two receiving.  Two weeks ago, in a 49-14 victory over Christian Brothers from Memphis, Tenn., Larkins accounted for 440 all-purpose yards and scored a career-high six times – totaling 380 yards on the six scoring plays.

Don’t be deceived by Moeller’s uncharacteristic record.  The Crusaders have lost games to Ohio Division I state runner-up Huber Heights Wayne (5-0 this season), national power Don Bosco Prep, N.J. (4-1) and St. Xavier – after leading 10-0 midway through the third quarter.  Teams that have defeated Moeller are a combined 13-2 so far.  The Crusaders have won at least a share of the GCL South championship each of the last three years.

Senior Thomas MacVittie, a Pittsburgh commit, leads the Moeller offense – having completed 40-of-74 passes for 556 yards and five touchdowns in three-plus games.  He has yet to throw an interception.  Senior right end Jake Hausmann, an Ohio State commit, has caught 21 passes for 258 yards and four TDs, while senior receiver Kyle Butz has 17 catches for 377 yards and three scores.  Hunter Hughes lead Moeller in rushing, with 367 yards.