GCL South Friday Night Varsity Football Roundup

09/06/2020

Posted on 9/6/2020 at 7:43 p.m.

St. Xavier Posts Big Win At La Salle; Elder, Moeller Split Interstate Games

Five days removed from a tough loss in its season opener on national television, St. Xavier rebounded with a balanced offense that featured junior quarterback Brogan McCaughey connecting on 21-of-32 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns, with junior running back Charles Kellom and senior Luke Vransky piling up 112 and 72 yards, respectively, on the ground while the Bombers’ defense did the rest in a victory over defending Greater Catholic League South Division champion La Salle on in a key league game Friday night at Lancer Stadium.

The victory snapped La Salle’s four-game GCL South winning streak and returned the King of the Road trophy to the other end of North Bend Road to St. Xavier’s campus.  Last Sunday, St. Xavier twice had leads of 14 points – including a 24-10 advantage entering the fourth quarter – before suffering late turnovers that gave Brownsburg, Ind. a 30-24 victory in overtime in Indianapolis in a game that was shown on ESPN2 as part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff.

Also last night, Elder and Moeller both faced interstate competition from the Hoosier state with different results.  Elder, which lost an instant classic, 53-52, in double OT a week ago to La Salle in the season opener for both, scored 21 straight points in the second quarter to post a lopsided win against Floyd Central, Ind. at The Pit in Price Hill.  Moeller, which opened with a 34-17 comeback win last Friday at Bishop Hartley in Columbus, traveled to Southeast Indiana and allowed two fourth-quarter TDs in a loss to Class 4A perennial Indiana power East Central. 

Here is a summary of Friday’s GCL South games:

St. Xavier 24, La Salle 10 – The Bombers (1-1, 1-0 GCL South), who managed just 10 net yards on the ground on 29 attempts against Brownsburg, got the ground game untracked – outrushing La Salle, 198-109, and setting up the passing game for McCaughey – who spread the ball around to a talented receiving corps for the second straight week.  Senior Liam Clifford, a Penn State University recruit, had five six receptions for 55 yards and one TD; junior Jalen Patterson hauled in five passes for 60 yards; and Kellom had three catches for a team-best 95 yards, including the lengthy TD catch and run.

The Bombers’ defense held a talent-laden La Salle offense to just one TD, limiting junior tailback Gi’Bran Payne to eight net yards rushing on eight carries.  Senior quarterback Zach Branam, who had a huge game at Elder in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown a week earlier, finished with 297 combined total yards.  St. Xavier junior defensive back Alex Kemper had a big interception in the end zone at the end of the third quarter that negated a potential game-tying scoring drive for La Salle (1-1, 1-1).

That came after Branam and Payne had connected on a 32-yard TD strike in the third quarter to cut St. Xavier’s deficit to 17-10.  However, after Kemper’s interception, the Bombers got a 67-yard pass from McCaughey to Kellom for a TD on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend the lead back to 14 points and give St. Xavier its win in the series between two schools separated by 5.4 miles on North Bend Road.  St. Xavier has won nine of the last 12 meetings in the series since 2010.

It will be another key matchup in the GCL South next Friday, when the Bombers travel to Price Hill to face Elder – which will play the third of five consecutive home games to begin the six-game abbreviated regular season before postseason play begins in Ohio.  La Salle, the defending Division II state champion, steps out of league play for a week to face Lakota East (0-2), a member of the Greater Miami Conference.  East has lost its first two games against GMC opponents by a combined 10 points, falling 34-31 at Sycamore in week one and 28-21 at home to Mason last night.

Elder 42, Floyd Central, Ind. 14 – Junior quarterback Ben Hambelton, in just his second varsity start, completed 14-of-16 passes for 317 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions as Elder rolled to even its record with a convincing win in this interstate matchup at The Pit on Elder’s campus in Price Hill.

Hambelton, who is replacing graduated Matthew Luebbe the GCL South Co-Player of the Year last season, has now completed 32-of-41 passes for 562 yards, seven TDs with no interceptions in his first two games.  Junior Drew Ramsey had another solid performance, catching six passes for 103 yards while rushing six times for 70 yards.  Ramsey scored four TDs (three rushing, one receiving) against La Salle last week. Senior back Cooper Johnson carried 10 times for 86 yards and two scores.

East Central, Ind. 21, Moeller 6 – The Crusaders, who rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to post a 34-17 win last week against Bishop Harley from Columbus, was unable to come back against the perennial Indiana Class 4A power Trojans at East Central High School in St. Leon, Ind. in a game that was featured  in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown presented by Mercy Health Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and Meijer.

East Central (2-1) held a 7-0 lead after three quarters before Moeller scored on a 4-yard TD run by Daniel Dunlop made it 7-6.  The extra point was no good, preventing Moeller from tying the score.  East Central, which came up with big plays on defense all night, added two rushing scores in the final six-plus minutes to ice the game and win for the first time in school history against Moeller (1-1).

The Crusaders had won the previous two meetings in 2002 and 2004.  Moeller, which had five turnovers in its opener, committed three against East Central – which did not turn the ball over in the game.  Senior two-way player Kole Viel was named the Mercy Health Orthopaedics I& Sports Medicine Most Valuable Player after being all over the field from his linebacker position on defense and also scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:10 left to put the game away.

Moeller will play a team from its third different state next Friday when the Crusaders travel to Louisville to face Trinity, annually one of the best teams in Kentucky and a national contender.  This is the first week that Kentucky schools can play varsity football games against other schools after having the start of the fall sports season for contact sports delayed because of COVID-19.