The Moeller Crusaders had something to prove in Week 6 after suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of the St. X Bombers a week earlier. The point that was proven Friday night was that the Crusaders are still one of the most dominating teams in Cincinnati, as they defeated the LaSalle Lancers by a score of 37-22.
Moeller (5-1, 1-1) had the advantage early in the game as they came up with two big plays in the first quarter that gave them the momentum. After scoring on the opening drive, the Crusaders played an excellent series of defense, forcing LaSalle (4-2, 0-1) to punt after three downs. A bad snap gave Moeller the opportunity to rush into the backfield and block the punt out of the end zone, giving the Crusaders and early 9-0 lead.
The other big play for Moeller came towards the end of the first quarter. The Lancers were looking to cap off an impressive drive with a touchdown, but the LaSalle ball carrier lost the ball crossing the goal line, allowing the Crusaders to fall on top of it for a touchback.
Moeller also faced some early adversity through costly penalties. Senior running back Keith Watkins started off slow in the first quarter, but heated up in the second quarter to score touchdowns of 14 yards and 49 yards, only to have both of them called back due to holding penalties. Both drives ended in missed field goals for the Crusaders.
Watkins would go on to score twice in the second half, on runs of 48 yards and 47 yards, on consecutive series. He finished the evening with 22 rushes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, while catching three passes for 37 yards.
LaSalle wide receiver Derek Kief was the star of the Lancer offense, catching 12 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown towards the end of the first half. The 6-foot-5 junior showed the ability to catch the ball in traffic, as well as make plays with his legs in the open field. Kief had a great in the fourth quarter that placed the ball at the one yard line, setting up running back Morgan Wilcox to score his first rushing touchdown of the evening.
A scary moment for LaSalle fans came early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Brad Burkhart suffered an injury following a fumble in the end zone. Burkhart was able to walk off on his own power, but did not return to the game.
Burkhart finished with 253 yards on 28 completions, with one touchdown and one interception.
The Moeller run defense was dominant tonight, holding the Lancer offense to only eight yards on 25 carries. Leading the Crusaders in tackles was defensive back Logan Kelleher with 9 tackles. Kelleher also had an interception on the goal line to prevent LaSalle from scoring in the second half.
Despite Moeller holding LaSalle to eight yards rushing, they allowed the Lancers to throw for 398 yards. The Crusaders were also penalized 12 times for 110 yards. LaSalle only had three penalties for 44 yards.
Next week, Moeller plays host to Elder (3-3, 0-1) who is coming off of a tough loss against St. Xavier as well. We will see next week if the Panthers respond in the same fashion the Crusaders did. LaSalle will host St. Xavier (4-2, 2-0) and see if they can hand the Bombers their first GCL South conference loss this season.