By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
A week after being held scoreless in the second half of a 28-10 home loss to Winton Woods, Elder got back on track offensively in the first half Frida night – scoring 20 first-quarter points and the game’s first 27 – all on touchdown runs by senior Luke Masminster on its way to a 48-7 victory over St. John Vianney from St. Louis at The it in Price Hill.
Elder (5-4) is fifth in this week’s Ohio Division I, Region 4 Harbin computer ratings used to qualify teams for the state playoffs. The top eight from each region earn a berth, with the top four teams hosting first-round games.
Masminster – who came into the game only having scored two TDs this season with a high of 56 rushing yards against Lakewood St. Edward in week four – scored on runs of 8, 22 and 2 yards, respectively, in the first quarter, then ran 1 yard for a TD in the second quarter before capping his memorable evening with a 6-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. He finished with 24 carries for 142 yards for Elder, which ran for 200 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt. Senior quarterback Michael Bittner was effective, too, completing 11-of-15 passes for 165 yards and one score.
It was not as plentiful a night for Greater Catholic League South Division colleague La Salle – which was shut out, 34-0, at Lancer Stadium by Trinity Catholic, also from St. Louis. The loss dropped La Salle (4-4) into a likely must-win situation in its final regular-season game at Elder next Friday at The Pit in order to qualify for the Division II state playoffs. The Lancers did not play a week earlier when International School of Broward, Fla. was unable to make the trek to Cincinnati because of the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Against Trinity Catholic (7-2), which has won seven straight, the Lancers were never unable to get going offensively. La Salle finished with 11 first downs and was held to 90 yards rushing on 32 carries, a 2.8-yard average per rush, and completed 10-of-32 passes. La Salle managed to convert just 3-of-15 third downs, and fell behind 21-0 at halftime. The loss was the third straight for La Salle following a four-game winning streak that had the Lancers sitting 4-1 entering its GCL South opener in week six, a game Moeller won, 2-114, in overtime at Lancer Stadium.
La Salle won three straight state titles from 2014 through 2016, and then advanced to the DII regional final last season before losing to Winton Woods, 16-14.
St. Xavier and Moeller are in action today, with the Bombers (4-4) hosting Cleveland St. Ignatius at 2 p.m. at St. Xavier Stadium. St. Xavier faces St. Ignatius (6-2), winner of six straight, today and then Louisville St. Xavier (7-2) on Friday, October 26 in its quest for a postseason berth. The Bombers sit at No. 11 in Region 4 this week, but most prognosticators believe that St. Xavier would earn a playoff spot by winning the last two games – both of which are at home. Two years ago, St. Xavier became the first team in Ohio history to enter the postseason at 5-5 and win a state championship.
Moeller (6-2), which lost to St. Ignatius, 32-7, last Saturday in Greater Cleveland, is vying for postseason position when it plays St. Edward (6-2) – No. 9 in this week’s Associated Press DI state poll – at 4 p.m. today at Lockland’s Roettger Stadium. The Crusaders are currently third in the Region 4 Harbin ratings, and could likely wrap up one of the top four spots with a victory today or in the regular-season finale against Winton Woods (8-1) next Friday.
St. Ignatius and St. Edward are a perfect 3-0 against the GCL South this season. St. Edward outscored Elder, 22-2, in the second half to rally from a 28-14 halftime deficit to earn a 36-30 win earlier this season over the Panthers at The Pit. St. Ignatius has defeated both Elder and Moeller by a combined score of 49-14 in two games played in Greater Cleveland.