Elder-St. Xavier II Regional Semifinal Moved To 10 AM Today

10/24/2020

Posted on 10/24/2020 at 8:33 a.m.

La Salle Waits Out Weather, Posts Second Straight Lopsided Victory
 
Immediately after St. Xavier had scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to erase a 24-17 deficit and emerge from The Pit at Elder High School in Price Hill with a 38-24 victory in the first meeting between league rivals during the regular season, Elder coach Doug Ramsey told his team that it would get another shot at the Greater Catholic League South Division champion in the postseason.  St. Xavier coach Steve  Specht expected to see Elder again as well.
 
That is exactly the storyline this morning, when these perennial area powers and league rivals – with a great amount of respect for each other’s program and storied history in the state playoffs – meet again in the Division I, Region 4 semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Football State Tournament.  Kickoff is 10 a.m. at Ballaban Field at St. Xavier Stadium.  The game, originally scheduled to be played Friday night, was among the many in Southwest Ohio moved back a day because of lightning and thunderstorms that moved through just before kickoff and remained for a few hours.
 
The game can be seen live at http://SpectrumNewsApp.com and http://OHSAA.tv.

La Salle was the third GCL South team scheduled to play Friday night, and the Lancers waited through a lengthy delay to start its game before continuing defense of the DII state championship with a 49-0 victory over Dayton Stebbins at Lancer Stadium on La Salle High School’s North Bend Road campus.  La Salle, the region’s No. 2 seed in Region 8 behind only undefeated Winton Woods, has now won seven consecutive postseason games and is 24-1 in the state playoffs in its last five appearances that include state titles four of the last six years.  Junior quarterback Zach Branam completed 10-of-16 passes for 199 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers, while the Lancers’ defense held Stebbins (5-3) to just under 50 total yards and four first downs.

The Lancers, who have won four consecutive games and five of their last six, advance to met No. 6 seed Anderson, which survived the weather and posted a 29-22 victory against No. 3 Piqua on the road last night.  Anderson (7-2), a member of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, also is riding a four-game winning streak.  Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday at La Salle in the region’s lower-bracket final.  Winton Woods will host Edgewood at 2 p.m. today, with No. 4 Kings meeting No. 5 Turpin at noon in the upper-bracket semifinals in Region 8.   Winton Woods and Kings are the only teams to beat Anderson this season.

This is the second consecutive year that Elder and St. Xavier have met twice in a season.  A year ago, Elder swept the two meetings – building a 24-7 lead entering the fourth quarter before holding off a furious St. Xavier comeback to post a 31-28 win at St. Xavier in the regular season.  Then, in the second round of the Region 4 playoffs, Elder emerged with a 28-24 win that was a catalyst for the Panthers making it to the DI state final, where they lost to Pickerington Central, 21-14.
 
It looked like Elder might win the first meeting this year, holding leads ot 10-0, 17-10 and 24-17 before St. Xavier came alive to score three touchdowns in the last quarter and win by two TDs.  The victory helped the Bombers win the GCL South title outright this season.  The Bombers’ late offensive surge in that game was perhaps a preview of things to come, as St. Xavier has rolled up 63, 49 and 45 points, respectively, the last three weeks – including 42 in the first half of convincing playoff wins against Walnut Hills and Moeller.
 
Junior quarterback Brogan McCaughey continues to play well, having completed 129-of-184 passes for 1,678 yards, with 17 TDs and four interceptions.  He was 26-of-30 for 278 yards and four scores against Moeller last week.  His favorite targets are senior Liam Clifford, a Penn State University commit who leads the GCL South in receiving yards with 768 on 49 catches with nine TDs.  Clifford’s biggest game came against Cleveland St. Ignatius, a 63-38 Bombers’ victory in which he hauled in 12 catches for a school-record 300 yards and two scores.  Junior Jalen Patterson also is a threat receiving for St. Xavier, ranking third in receiving yards with 623 on 50 catches, with four TDs.
 
Victories in the postseason have not been as easy for Elder (5-3), which has endured its share of adversity in the first two rounds.  The Panthers trailed Fairfield, 39-28, in the fourth quarter of the opening round before scoring two TDs, the last pm a 13-yard run by junior Drew Ramsey  with 1:07 left, to pull out a 42-39 win at home.  Then, a week ago, Elder traveled to No. 2 seed Princeton and emerged with a 26-21 win – the Panthers’ defense again coming up big late, forcing a late fumble and holding the Vikings scoreless in the final quarter.
 
First-year starting quarterback Ben Hambelton, like McCaughy at St. Xavier, has been solid all season – connecting on 109-of-158 passes for a league-best 1,723 yards with 19 TDs and just five interceptions.  The Panthers’ most versatile player is Drew Ramsey, son of coach Doug Ramsey, who is used as a runner and receiver and takes his share of direct snaps at QB.  Ramsey also has seen time on defense, where he has come up with some big plays this season.  He is second in the GCL South in rushing yards, with 670 on 110 attempts and 12 TDs, while ranking fourth in receiving yards, with 621 on 50 catches and eight scores.  Senior Scott Nieman is second in receiving yards, with 749 on just 20 catches and seven TDs. He averages better than 25 yards per reception as a big-play threat.
 
Both coaches agree that running the football will be critical for the winner of today’s game and, while the offense of both teams catches the attention of most, it could come down to which team is able to make the most big plays on defense.  Both have played difficult non-conference schedules, along with the rigorous GCL South matchups.  St. Xavier is 6-0 against Ohio teams, its lone defeats coming to two of Indiana’s best, Indianapolis Cathedral, 25-22, and once-beaten Brownsburg, 30-24, in overtime in week one.
 
Undefeated Lakota West (7-0), the No. 1 seed in Region 4, meets No. 4 seed Colerain (6-2) in the other regional semifinal.  That game also was moved to 10 this morning at West because of Friday’s inclement weather.  This is the second meeting this season between Greater Miami Conference rivals, with West winning the season opener, 10-0, at Colerain.  The winner will face either Elder or St. Xavier in the regional final next Friday, with the game to be played at the home field of the higher seeded team.