By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
After posting a stellar 4-0 record against non-conference opponents last Friday, the four Greater Catholic League South Division football teams hope for similar results in week nine of the regular season. Elder and La Salle kick off the weekend with home games tonight, while Moeller and St. Xavier travel to Northeast Ohio to represent Southwest Ohio in a pair of marquee matchups set to be played in Greater Cleveland on Saturday afternoon.
Elder (5-3), which strengthened its postseason position with a 35-34 overtime win at previously unbeaten Winton Woods last Friday, hosts the International School of Broward, Fla. at 7 tonight at The Pit in Price Hill. Elder, which is No. 5 in this week’s Division I, Region 4 Harbin computer rankings used to qualify teams for the state playoffs, is looking for another solid performance from junior quarterback Michael Bittner – who has accounted for 10 touchdowns in the last two games, tossing five TD passes and running for five scores.
La Salle (6-2), which posted a 17-9 road win at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary last Friday, returns to Lancer Stadium to host St. Charles Prep (1-7) from Columbus at 7 tonight. The Lancers, which rebounded from a loss at St. Xavier the previous week, continue to hold the No. 1 spot in the Division II, Region 8 Harbin rankings. La Salle, which has held six of its eight opponents to single digits, is the three-time defending DII state champions. The Lancers host Elder in week 10 to see which team finished second behind St. Xavier in the GCL South standings.
Speaking of St. Xavier (8-0), which is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division I state poll and The Enquirer’s weekly DI area coaches’ poll, look to remain unbeaten when it meets Cleveland St. Ignatius at 3 p.m. Saturday at Byers Field in Parma. The game, a rematch of last year’s DI State title game won by St. Xavier, 27-20, in double OT, was projected by many to be between a pair of unbeatens before Moeller handed St. Ignatius its first loss, 41-20, last Friday at Otterbein University in Greater Columbus. St. Xavier is also ranked nationally byMaxPreps (No. 12) and USA Today (No. 3 in computer ratings).
The defending DI state champion Bombers, led by senior quarterback Chase Wolf (1,492 yards passing, 18 TD passes, one interception) and a defense that has allowed just 79 points – an average of 9.9 per game – this season, lost to St. Ignatius, 41-14, in week nine last season at St. Xavier. The Wildcats, No. 6 in the AP state poll, had won their first seven games by an average margin of 17.6 points before falling to Moeller. St. Ignatius is No. 1 in the Region 1 Harbin ratings. St. Xavier has been No. 1 in Region 4 every week since the first ratings were released four weeks ago.
For Moeller (4-4), Saturday is a chance to knock off another unbeaten perennial state power when it meets Lakewood St. Edward (8-0), ranked No. 2 in the AP DI state poll, at 4 p.m. at Lakewood High School. The Crusaders, were solid against St. Ignatius, recording eight sacks and taking advantage of big plays to move back into the thick of the postseason race in Region 4. Moeller is third in the regional rankings this week, which would mean that they host a first-round game. The top eight qualify for the state playoffs, with the top four hosting first-round games. Moeller closes the regular season at Winton Woods on Friday, October 27.
Both the St. Xavier and Moeller games will be televised live by Spectrum Sports to Ohio subscribers. The St. Xavier-St. Ignatius game will air at 3 on Spectrum channel 311 and 1311 HD. The Moeller-St. Edward game will be broadcast at 4 on Spectrum channel 314 and 1314 HD. Both games also will be streamed (log in required) at myspectrumsports.com, and the Moeller game will be joined in progress on 311 / 1311 immediately following St. Xavier-St. Ignatius.
Spectrum Sports is the official broadcast partner of the GCL South.