GCL South Friday Night Football Preview

10/09/2015

Posted on 10/09/2015 at 7:44 a.m.

Elder-Moeller, La Salle-St. Xavier Highlight League Games

It will be virtually impossible for tonight’s two games in the Greater Catholic League South Division to have more drama than the league doubleheader last Friday, when Elder defeated St. Xavier, 24-17, in double overtime at St. Xavier, and La Salle extended its winning streak to 14 games with a 13-7 win over Moeller in overtime at Lockland Stadium.  Both dramatic finishes came on the first full night of play in the GCL South this season.

That said, the pair of games tonight also have plenty of story lines.  Elder hosts Moeller at 7 at The Pit in Price Hill, as the Panthers attempt to take another step toward the coveted GCL South championship while Moeller tries to avoid losing three straight games for the first time in school history.  And La Salle travels to St. Xavier to take on the Bombers, the last time to defeat La Salle, winning 24-21 last October 10 at Lancer Stadium.

Elder (5-1, 1-0 GCL South) looks to capitalize on the momentum of last week’s win against St. Xavier, a game that saw the Panthers get another big performance from senior quarterback Peyton Ramsey – who completed 17-of-30 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning, 8-yard strike to senior receiver Nick Hall in the second overtime.  Ramsey also ran for 76 yards and one score in 15 attempts.

The Panthers enter tonight ranked No. 2 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly coaches’ poll and No. 6 in the Associated Press state rankings, while sitting No. 3 in this week’s Region 2 Harbin computer ratings – used to qualify teams for the state playoffs.  Elder’s lone loss this season is to undefeated Lakewood St. Edward, 31-20.  St. Edward is the defending Division I state champion and Ohio’s top-ranked team again this year.

Moeller (2-4, 0-2) has been slowed by injuries and tough losses against a difficult schedule.  The Crusaders’ defeats this season are to 2014 Division I state runner-up Huber Height Wayne (6-0), national power Don Bosco Prep, N.J. (3-1), and league rivals St. Xavier (4-2) and La Salle )6-0), both games that the Crusaders led in the second half.  The combined record of those opponents is 19-3.

La Salle at St. Xavier is listed as one of the MaxPreps Top 10 Games of the Week.  Few in Cincinnati will disagree, as La Salle (6-0, 1-0) looks to keep its winning streak alive and avenge its only loss in the last two seasons.  The Lancers, despite senior tailback Jeremy Larkin rushing only five times for zero yards in the win against Moeller last week, is averaging nearly 40 points a game behind an explosive offense.

The Lancers, who came up with a huge defensive stand in OT (stopping Moeller on fourth down at the 1-yard line) before getting a game-winning, 19-yard run from senior quarterback Nick Watson, were led by nine tackles each from seniors Kyle Farwick and John Willcox.  Coach Jim Hilvert’s team sits atop both the Greater Cincinnati and Ohio Division II polls, and is also a strong No. 1 in the Region 6 Harbin computer ratings.

La Salle, too, is rated No. 21 nationally in the latest MaxPreps Xcellent 25.

St. Xavier (4-2, 1-1) is led by a strong running game behind senior Sean Prophit and junior Quinn Earley, who combined to rush for 121 yards on 31 carries against Elder, an average of better than 4.5 yards per attempt. The duo is averaging just over five yards per carry this season.   Junior quarterback Sean Clifford has been solid as well, hitting on 61 percent of his passes (70-of-115) for 819 yards, nine TDs and just two interceptions.

The Bombers are rated No. 3 in Greater Cincinnati, No. 9 in Ohio, and the Bombers are at No. 12 in the  Harbin regional rankings.  The top 16 teams from Region 2 qualify for the postseason.  St. Xavier’s win at La Salle last season came on a 16-yard field goal by Miles Homan as time expired in regulation, handing the Lancers their lone blemish in a season that saw La Salle finish 14-1 and win the Division II state championship.