GCL South Football Teams Face Tests This Weekend


Posted on 9/15/2016 at 3:27 p.m.

Elder To Host Ohio’s Top Team, While St. Xavier Faces Test In Indy

Just when you thought that the schedule couldn’t get any more difficult for Greater Catholic League South Division football teams, you take a glance at the upcoming weekend of games.   This Friday and Saturday, Elder will host Lakewood St. Edward, Ohio’s two-time defending Division I state champion and the state’s current No. 1-ranked team; La Salle travels to Memphis to take on highly touted Christian Brothers; Moeller voyages to New Jersey to face Don Bosco Prep; and St. Xavier heads up Interstate 74 to oppose undefeated and highly regarded Indianapolis Cathedral.

It’s just another week in the GCL South.

Elder (2-1), which has won consecutive games after a close season-opening loss to unbeaten Pickerington Central, has its annual matchup with St. Edward (3-0) – which is coming off a 41-0 victory over Cleveland Glenville last week.  The Panthers are hoping for the same magic at The Pit that they found two years ago, when Elder knocked off then No. 1 St. Edward, 21-14, on September 20, 2014 when running back Ja’Vahri Portis scored on a 3-yard run and the Panthers followed with a two-point conversation with 10:46 remaining to erase a 14-13 deficit.

Coach Doug Ramsey’s team is coming off a 20-14 road win at previously undefeated Scott County, Ky. last Friday.  Junior quarterback Danny Nieman has looked good in taking over for Peyton Ramsey, now at Indiana.  Nieman leads the GCL South in passing yards, with 668, having connected on two-thirds of his attempts with four touchdowns and two interceptions.  Nieman’s favorite targets have been Andrew Schwallie (284 yards receiving), Danny Falliace (217) and Kyle Trischler (165), the top three in the league, respectively, in receiving yards.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday at Elder High School.

La Salle (2-1), which suffered a rare regular-season defeat last Friday to Greater Cincinnati’s top-ranked team in Division I and neighborhood rival Colerain, 6-0, on the road, looks to start another regular-season winning streak when it travels to Memphis for a return game with Christian Brothers (3-1).  The Lancers won the first meeting last season in decisive fashion, 49-14, at home behind an eye-popping performance from Jeremy Larkin (now at Northwestern University), who had more than 400 total yards and scored six touchdowns in the game.

Christian Brothers is coming off back-to-back victories by a combined 98-21 score, but the Purple Wave isn’t likely to find moving the football nearly as easy against a La Salle defense that has not allowed a touchdown in the last two games – shutting out East Central, Ind., 31-0, and then holding Colerain’s explosive option attack to just two field goals.  La Salle’s defense is led by sophomore defensive back Garrett Bledsoe, who has a team-high 27 total tackles – including seven solo and six assists last Friday at Colerain.  Kickoff is noon Saturday in Memphis.

Moeller (2-1), which held off Mason, 17-14, on Sunday afternoon in a game that had to be rescheduled after a bomb threat forced it to be postponed Friday evening at Mason, takes to the road and travels to the Garden State to face nationally regarded Don Bosco Prep Saturday evening.  Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Ramsey, N.J.  Don’t be deceived by Don Bosco’s 0-2 record, the first time this program has started winless in its first two games.  Both losses have come to elite competition on the road for the defending New Jersey state champs.

Don Bosco handed Moeller a 31-14 defeat last season in Cincinnati in a game that saw Ironmen quarterback Tommy Devito, a Syracuse University commit and junior last year, connect on 14-of-16 passes for 199 yards and two TDs as Don Bosco built a 14-0 lead after one quarter and led 31-7 with just under eight minutes left in the game.  The Crusaders are hoping that senior quarterback Evan Ernst (414 yards passing with six TDs and only two interceptions) and an opportunistic defense can be the difference in this meeting.

St. Xavier (1-2), which traveled to Northeast Ohio last Friday to record its first victory in 2015, 20-7, against Mentor, heads to Indianapolis to take on unbeaten Cathedral – ranked No. 2 in Indiana by MaxPreps.  The Bombers have gotten solid play from junior quarterback Chase Wolf the last two weeks, as they narrowly missed knocking off Colerain in overtime and then won at Mentor.  Wolf, who has started the last two games, is coming off a solid performance against Mentor – completing 14-of-27 passes for 168 yards and one score.

The Bombers will need a similar performance against Cathedral, which has opened with four straight wins in impressive fashion – scoring 40 or more points in every game and outscoring the opposition, 181-30.  St. Xavier defeated Cathedral, 31-17, last season, scoring on two fourth-quarter runs to break open a 17-17 game.  The Bombers’ defense was sound in the win, holding Cathedral to just 48 rushing yards in 29 attempts and forcing the Fighting Irish to convert on 5-of-15 third-down conversions.  Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Butler University in Indianapolis.