Moeller attempts to return to its winning tradition

The Crusaders look to end state title drought

It has been 15 years since Moeller has brought a title back to Cincinnati. To put it in perspective Colerain, Elder and St. Xavier have all been the kings of the Queen City during the Crusaders championship drought. Bringing home the hardware is not going to be easy.

Toledo Whitmer is a hungry team and would like nothing better than to bring home a championship to the Glass City. No matter what happens there is going to be one very prideful town waiting to greet their heroes when they arrive back home.

MOELLER CRUSADERS (11-3) vs. WHITMER (14-0)
Site: Fawcett Stadium, Canton McKinley HS
Kickoff: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Holley twins are a special pair. Nick was the Northwest District Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback. Nate was a First-Team All-District linebacker. Joining Nate Holley on the defensive side of the ball is Toledo recruit Marquise Moore and Joe Nathan Mayes on the line. Linebacker Jack Linch was the Northwest District Defensive Player of the Year. In the secondary Marcus Elliott is a quality cover man and a solid tackler. Quarterback Nick Holley, who is a menace to opposing defenses because of his ability to beat them with his feet or arm, has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Running back Tre Sterritt has returned to top form after sitting out his junior year because of eligibility issues. Receiver Chris Boykin can stretch the field with his speed. Eric Hart anchors a very good offensive line.

The Moeller offense is fueled by Keith Watkins, who has broken the century mark rushing 13 times in 14 outings. Watkins has 2,078 yards and 25 touchdowns running the ball. Quarterback Spencer Iacavone has accounted for 2,604 yards of total offense and 28 touchdowns (17 passing and 11 rushing). The Moeller defense has allowed nine fewer points per contest in the playoffs than they did in the regular season. They are led by Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year Shane Jones. The senior has had six straight games with at least 10 total tackles.

TEAM TRENDS: Moeller won their 12th Regional title last Saturday and first since 1997. The Crusaders have never lost in the state semifinals, winning the state championship seven times and finishing second four more times. Big Moe has made the playoffs 11 straight seasons, the longest current streak by a Division I team in the state of Ohio.

MOELLER'S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Crusaders are going to have to get more production out of their passing game. Iacavone has only averaged 53 yards passing over the past three playoff tilts. Without that balance Whitmer is going to stuff the run and make life miserable for Watkins. Defensively, Nate Holley presents the same sort of problems that Colerain's LA Ramsby did. Containing Holley could very well be the difference in the final score.

WHITMER'S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Panthers need to stuff the box and dare Iacavone to beat them with his arm. The Whitmer defense has been their pride and joy. This is their time to shine and we should expect a spirited performance from the unit. Offensively this squad has the capability of putting up big numbers, especially against a Moeller unit that has shown it has flaws. Holley and company must stay away from the turnover bug.

WHITMER 30, MOELLER 27

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