Elder, Moeller Cap Off Big GCL South Weekend


Posted on 9/18/2016 at 9:39 a.m.

Panthers defeat No. 1 St. Edward; Crusaders Win At Don Bosco

One night after Greater Catholic League member St. Xavier went to Indianapolis and knocked off Indiana’s top-ranked Class 6A team Cathedral, Elder and Moeller staged impressive victories of their own to give the league a 3-1 record in the two-day period against elite football competition.  For the second time in three years, Elder used a strong defense to take down Ohio state power Lakewood St. Edward, 15-9, while Moeller traveled to New Jersey to record a 20-14 win over nationally regarded Don Bosco Prep.

La Salle was the lone GCL South team to lose this weekend, as the Lancers fell to Christian Brothers, Tenn. in Memphis Saturday afternoon, 31-18 – a game that La Salle led 18-16 heading into the final three minutes before Christian Brothers scored twice.  The Lancers committed four turnovers, while the opposition failed to turn it over in the game.

Here is a look at the GCL South games Saturday:

Elder Wins Third Straight – Like two years ago, St. Edward came to The Pit unbeaten and ranked as the state’s top Division I team – a familiar spot for the two-time defending big-school state champions.  But Elder (3-1) was able to outgain the Eagles and limit St. Edward to less than 65 yards total offense in the second half after going to the locker room with a 9-6 halftime lead – a lead that could have been even greater had the Panthers not fumbled deep into St. Edward territory.

But Elder had a balanced offense, led by junior quarterback Danny Nieman – who completed 19-of-31 passes for 232 yards and one TD – in the passing game, and junior Jack Mazza carrying the load on the ground – rushing 20 times for 106 yards, with a long run of 34 yards.  Senior receiver Adam Schwallie was Nieman’s top target, hauling in seven passes for 115 yards, including an 18-yard scoring strike with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 15-6 advantage.

Elder was led defensively by senior defensive back Zach Lyons, who finished with 10 total tackles and helped Elder hold St. Edward (3-1), which entered the game riding a 15-game winning streak, to just 3-of-11 conversions on third down and also stopped the Eagles attempt to keep a drive alive on fourth down.  Elder evened the series against St. Edward at 5-5 with the victory, and also won its third straight game after narrowly missing a win in the season opener, 20-14, against undefeated Pickerington Central at Nippert Stadium.

Moeller Ups Record To 3-1 – Six days after holding off Mason for a 17-14 victory on the road last Sunday, the Crusaders ventured some 12-plus hours to Ramsey, N.J. and emerged with a 20-14 win against Don Bosco Prep – a team that defeated Moeller in Cincinnati, 31-14, this same week a year ago.  Moeller led this game 20-0 at halftime before the Ironmen, playing their home opener after falling to two national powers on the road, rallied for a pair of second-half TDs to cut the final margin to six points.  

Senior quarterback Evan Ernst completed 11-of-18 passes for 186 yards and two scores, while junior running back Colin Thurman led Moeller’s rushing attack by gaining 113 yards on 13 attempts, including a 65-yard scoring run with 7:42 left in the first quarter to give Moeller an early 7-0 advantage. Ernst then tossed a pair of second-quarter TD passes, one covering 70 yards to sophomore back R.J. Khayo to give Moeller what appeared to be a comfortable halftime advantage.

Defensively, Moeller was able to limit Don Bosco (0-3) to just 56 yards rushing on 34 carries, an average of 1.6 yards per carry.  The win was the Crusaders’ third in four games, the lone loss coming at Huber Heights Wayne – the state’s No. 2-ranked team in last week’s Associated Press Division I state rankings that likely will vault to the top spot after Elder’s win over St. Edward.  The GCL South has opened the football season with an impressive 10-5 record against solid non-league competition.

La Salle Falls Late In Memphis – The Lancers were victimized by four turnovers, and Christian Brothers scored two touchdowns in the final 2:29 Saturday afternoon in Memphis to avenge a loss at La Salle last season.  The loss was the second straight for La Salle (2-2), the two-time defending Ohio Division II state champion ranked No. 2 in last week’s DII state poll.  Junior quarterback Griffin Merritt gave the Lancers an 18-16 lead when he connected with senior receiver John Whyle on a 9-yard TD pass with 9:17 remaining in the game.

But Christian Brothers scored twice in the final few minutes to win for the fourth time in five games.  Merritt completed 23-of-32 passes for 251 yards and two TDs.  The Purple Wave (4-1), however, snagged three interceptions and recovered a La Salle fumble while also committing no turnovers.  For the second straight week, La Salle was unable to get its running game untracked as the Lancers carried 20 times for just 51 yards, an average of 2.6 yards per carry.