Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
After trailing by 14 points at halftime, Lakewood St. Edward rallied to tie the game at 28-28 after scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter, only to see Elder take a 30-28 lead by virtue of a safety two minutes into the final quarter, before the Eagles scored what turned out to be the game-winning TD on a 22-yard pass from Garrett Dzuro to Jack Kurz with 3:55 remaining to emerge with a 36-30 victory over Elder early Saturday evening at The Pit in Price Hill – sending Elder to its first loss of the season after opening with three consecutive victories.
Elder (3-1) moved the ball across midfield on its next possession after St. Edward took the lead but, after a penalty, was backed up and ultimately forced to punt. St. Edward got the ball back with less than two minutes remaining, and converted a fourth-and-1 to maintain possession and ultimately run out the clock – having outscored Elder, 22-2, in the second half to even its record. St. Edward (2-2), which dropped its first two games by a combined four points, also snapped a two-game losing streak to Elder on the road.
Panthers’ senior quarterback Michael Bittner, who leads the Greater Catholic League South Division in passing yards, completed 30-of-42 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns – including a 4-yard strike to senior Kyle Trischler in the final minute of the first half to give Elder a 28-14 lead at intermission. Trischler, who leads the GCL South in receiving yards, hauled in 13 passes for 102 yards and two scores, while junior tight end Joe Royer caught eight passes for 111 yards and two scores. Senior receiver Sean O’Conner had seven receptions for 64 yards.
St. Edward was able to run the ball against Elder, racking up 376 yards on 46 carries, an average of 8.2 yards per rush. Senior Jordan Castleberry led the Eagles on the ground, carrying 21 times for 134 yards and three TDs – including both scores in the third quarter, on runs of 22 and 32 yards, respectively. Dzuro also was effective on the ground, finishing with 18 rushes for 19 yards.
Elder travels to Northeast Ohio to face Cleveland St. Ignatius (2-2) at 3 p.m. Saturday.