By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It was not exactly a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Northeast Ohio for the Moeller football team, which voyaged to Greater Cleveland to take on St. Ignatius in its annual meeting. The Crusaders, winners of five straight and fresh off three consecutive victories over league opponents to win the Greater Catholic League South Division championship outright, were victimized by four lost fumbles and five total turnovers that St. Ignatius turned into 16 points on the way to a 32-7 victory over Moeller in a matchup of two ranked Ohio Division I teams at Byers Field in Parma.
Moeller (6-2), No. 7 in the latest Associated Press DI state poll, was never able to get its offense untracked – finishing with seven first downs and 97 total yards against a St. Ignatius defense that held Elder’s explosive offense to 248 yards in posting a 17-7 victory two weeks earlier in Cleveland. No. 5 St. Ignatius (6-2) travels to Cincinnati this Saturday in an attempt to go 3-0 against the GCL South this fall when the Wildcats face St. Xavier (4-4). Kickoff is 2 p.m. at St. Xavier Stadium.
After trailing 6-0 after one quarter, Moeller took the lead on its lone score of the game, a 30-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Malik Verdon to senior playmaker RJ Khayo with 2:03 left in the first half. Verdon, who had only thrown one pass this season before being inserted into the game, finished 4-of-12 passing for 44 yards, tossing his first TD pass and two interceptions. However, St. Ignatius would retake the lead for good before halftime, when senior tight end Aidan Wells hauled in a 1-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Patrick Delahunty with 12 seconds remaining in the second quarter to make it 13-7.
From there, the St. Ignatius defense did the rest as Moeller was never able to run the ball effectively, carrying 37 times for 48 yards. St. Ignatius increased its lead to 19-7 less than two minutes into the third quarter on a 1-yard TD run from Delahunty, who completed 15-of-27 passes for 201 yards, one TD and one interception. St. Ignatius has won six straight games after opening the season with losses to Archbishop Hoban, 21-14, and Mentor, 28-7. Moeller, which hosts Lakewood St. Edward at 4 p.m. Saturday at Lockland’s Roettger Stadium, defeated St. Ignatius, 41-20, last season at Otterbein University in Westerville.