GCL South Division Friday Night Football Roundup

09/15/2019

Posted on 9/15/2019 at 10:10 a.m.

Elder, La Salle, St. Xavier Stay Unbeaten; Moeller Gets First Victory

It was a perfect Friday night for the Greater Catholic League South Division football teams, as Elder, La Salle and St. Xavier continued their impressive starts to remain undefeated by winning games against interstate opponents, while Moeller made up for being held scoreless in its first two games by scoring 40 points in the first half and 68 for the game on the way to posting its first win of the season.  As a result, the combined record of the four GCL South is now an impressive 10-2 after the first three weeks of the regular season.

Without question, Elder played the most exciting game Friday – a game that included 114 points, more than 1,000 yards total offense and a late score that gave the Panthers the win.  Senior quarterback Matthew Luebbe connected with senior tight end and Ohio State University recruit Joe Royer on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 1:36 remaining to erase a 54-52 deficit and give the Panthers a 60-54 victory against a talent-laden Clearwater Academy International from Clearwater, Fla. at The Pit in Price Hill.  Royer finished with a game-high six receptions for 106 yards and two scores, while Luebbe completed 14-of-22 passes for 226 yards and a season high four TD passes for Elder (3-0), which has scored 137 points in its three victories.

The Panthers, who also got a team-high 101 yards rushing in 26 attempts from senior Joseph Catania to go along with three receptions for 72 yards and two scores from sophomore Drew Ramsey, needed every yards to get past Clearwater Academy (2-1), which racked up 444 yards on 27 rushing attempts, good for 16.4 yards per carry, and finished with a total of 659 yards of total offense.  Ludov Choquette led the Knights’ ground game, carrying 14 times for 296 yards, including a 74-yard TD sprint on the final play of the third quarter that tied the score at 38-.  Choquette’s 36-yard TD run with just over four minutes remaining gave Clearwater Academy a 54-52 lead.

Up next for Elder is a trek to Northeast Ohio to face perennial power and defending Division I state champion Lakewood St. Edward.  Kickoff is 4 p.m. next Saturday at Highland High School in Medina.  St. Edward (2-1) has won consecutive games against Erie, PA Prep and Cass Tech from Detroit after falling to Mentor, 29-28, in the season opener.   St. Edward has won the last two meetings in this annual regular-season series between NE and Southwest Ohio powers, including a 36-30 last season at The Pit in a game that Elder led 28-14 at halftime. 

Here is a look at the other three GCL South games Friday night:

La Salle 38, Mansfield, MA 16 – The Lancers’ defense allowed its first points of the season, but it wasn’t enough to prevent La Salle from rolling to its third consecutive impressive victory against a perennial contender from Massachusetts.  It was a big night for Ohio State commit Jake Seibert, recruited for his kicking abilities.  On this night, though, Seibert hauled in six passes from junior quarterback Zach Branam for 110 yards and three TDs – scoring on receptions of 30, 11 and 30, respectively.  A week earlier, Seibert caught a season-high seven passes for 65 yards in the Lancers’ 31-0 victory at Mason.  He also is a perfect 3-for-3 in field goals and 13-of-13 on extra-point attempts this season.

Branam, a junior first-year starter, has passed for 244 yards and five TDs without throwing an interception in the last two games.  He also tossed a TD pass in the Lancers’ opening win against Lakota West.  La Salle (3-0) also scored twice on the ground, with sophomore G-‘Bran Payne running 50 yards for a score and finishing with a team-high 89 yards on two carries.  Senior Cam Porter also scored on a 2-yard run for La Salle against Mansfield (2-1).  Up next for La Salle is Dayton Dunbar, which visits Lancer Stadium next Friday. 

St. Xavier 37, Penn, IN 7 – Seniors Matthew Rueve and Kellen Newman combined to account for five TDs as St. Xavier traveled more than four hours to Mishawaka, Ind. to take a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, and then add two more TDs in the third quarter to win its second game against a team from the Hoosier state in three weeks.  The Bombers also got past Brownsburg from Greater Indianapolis, rallying from a 17-16 deficit at halftime to score 22 unanswered points in the final two quarters of a 38-17 victory in the season opener August 30 at St. Xavier.

Rueve, who leads the GCL South in passing yardage and touchdowns after three games with 802 and seven, respectively, had a near-perfect night – completing 13-of-14 passes for 268 yards and two scores.  He has yet to throw an interception while completing 67.3 percent of his attempts (60-of-85).  Newman carried 14 times for 88 yards and a season-high three TDs, as St. Xavier finished with 17 first downs and 436 total yards against Penn (1-3). 

Junior receiver Liam Clifford had a big night, with five receptions for 175 yards and one score for St. Xavier (3-0) – which only allowed four first downs and 123 total yards.  The Bombers are off to their best start since 2017, when coach Steve Specht’s team opened 8-0, went on to win the GCL South championship and finished 11-2, losing to Colerain, 21-14, in the Division I, Region 4 title game.  The Bombers host Indianapolis Cathedral next Friday.

Moeller 68, Lexington, KY Lafayette 7 – After being held without a point in opening losses to state champion contenders from Indiana and Kentucky, Moeller gained 183 yards on the ground and 175 through the air to beat Lafayette, 68-7, at Princeton High School.  The Crusaders’ defense also was solid, giving up just two first downs and minus-42 yards rushing on 26 attempts.  Lafayette (0-4) was limited to 4-of-17 completions for 39 yards through the air, and managed to convert only 2-of-12 third-down attempts.

Senior quarterback Drew Altemuehle connected on 10-of-16 passes for 175 yards and two TDs, while sophomore Gabe Goins rushed 14 times for 101 yards and three scores for Moeller (1-2).  Senior tackle Chris Richter led the Crusaders’ defense with five total tackles and two sacks.  Moeller’s defense did not allow a TD, as Lafayette’s lone score came on a fumble recovery and return.  The Crusaders travel to unbeaten Winton Woods next Friday.