Nolan’s Precision Passing Leads St. Xavier To Outright Title


Posted on 9/26/2020 at 3:58 p.m.

Bombers Wrap Up Perfect League Season; Elder, La Salle Split Road Games
One week after coming off the bench to make his varsity debut because of an injury, St. Xavier junior quarterback Ryan Nolan was under center from the outset Friday night for the first time and responded by completing 20-of-23 passes for 274 yads and two touchdowns to help led the Bombers to a 43-14 victory against Moeller at Ballbaban Field at St. Xavier Stadium.  As a result, St. Xavier wraps up the coveted Greater Cincinnati League South Division championship with a perfect 3-0 record.
The Bombers also won the title in 2017.
In Friday’s other games involving GCL South teams, Elder stepped out of league play to post a 35-7 victory against Walnut Hills in the Panthers’ first road game of the abbreviated Ohio six-week regular season.  La Salle played its third straight game away from Lancer Stadium, traveling to the Hoosier state to take on unbeaten Indianapolis Cathedral, Indian’s top-ranked team, and suffer its first loss in three weeks, 37-28.
The four GCL South teams finish the regular season next week before opening the state playoffs on Friday, October 9.
St. Xavier (3-2, 3-0 GCL South) twice led Moeller by 14 points in the first half, at 14-0 and later 21-7, before Crusaders’ junior quarterback Noah Geselbracht connected with junior tight end Josh Kattus on a 9-yard TD strike with 31 seconds left in the first half to narrow the deficit to 21-14.  The Bombers emerged from halftime to score 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to take control, and added two more TDs in the final 12 minutes to post its third league victory by 14 or more points.
Junior Jalen Patterson had a big game for St. Xavier, hauling in eight passes for 162 yards and one score, while junior Charles Kellom led the Bombers’ rushing game by picking up 96 yards on 13 carries and scoring twice – both in the second half.  The St. Xavier defense intercepted five passes, including one that was returned three yards for the game’s first TD by senior linebacker Matthew Devine.
Nolan came off the bench a week earlier when junior quarterback Brogan McCaughey was injured. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 158 yards, one TD and two interceptions in nearing leading the Bombers back against Cathedral on the road.
Moeller (1-4, 0-3), which lost its fourth straight after a season-opening win against Bishop Harley in Columbus, was able to move the football.  Geselbracht passed for 249 yards and a pair of TDs, spreading it around with five receivers recording two or more catches.  Sophomore Tamel Bryant led the Crusaders with six receptions for 117 yards and a 69-yard scoring catch from Geselbracht in the first quarter.   Moeller, however, was held to 22 net yards rushing in 19 attempts.
The Crusaders close the regular season with the final GCL South game, traveling to La Salle at 7 p.m. next Friday.  St. Xavier is scheduled to host Cleveland St. Ignatius (1-2) at 5 pm. Next Saturday. The Bombers are 3-0 against Ohio teams, but are 0-2 against teams from Indiana – falling to undefeated Brownsburg, 30-24, in overtime in week one in a game nationally televised on the ESPN2, and then suffering a close 25-22 setback at Cathedral one week ago.
Elder (3-2) racked up more than 450 yards total offense that included two 100-yard rushers and another solid performance in the passing game from junior quarterback Ben Hambelton, to defeat Walnut Hills.  Senior Cooper Johnson carried 17 times for a team-high 113 yards and one TD, while sophomore Drew Ramsey added 15 carries for 108 yards and a pair of TDs.