The final outcome of Elder’s 23-10 win at St. Xavier came down to one thing – finishing off plays.
The Panthers (5-1, 1-0) did it in all phases of the game, ending a three-game losing streak to the Bombers and lifting a curse off the Tom Ballaban Field at St. Xavier Stadium.
The home team went the opposite direction as St. Xavier (3-3, 0-2) failed to cash in on opportunities.
The Elder offense converted on all four of its red zone appearances. Kicker Matt Murray finished off three of them with short field goals. Murray is now 9-for-10 on field goal attempts this season.
The biggest play of the game for the Panthers came in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey connected with his new go-to guy, Austin Cipriani, on a 42-yard touchdown pass.
That gave Elder the lead for good after the Bombers had tied the score on a 72-yard touchdown run that Ben Glines ripped off 14 seconds into the second half. Glines ran for 177 yards on 18 carries on the evening.
Cipriani would finish the night with five receptions for 92 yards. The senior has 23 of his 30 catches on the year in the past three weeks. Ramsey threw for 201 yards and ran for another 84. It was the second time in three weeks that he has topped the 200-yard passing mark.
A determined and well-prepared Elder defense held St. Xavier to a combined 4-for-14 on third- and fourth-down attempts. The Panthers picked off Bomber quarterback Nick Tensing three times and sacked him another three.
That combination afforded the offense to win the time of possession battle by a 16:16 margin and run 25 more plays.
Elder will host Moeller and St. Xavier entertains LaSalle in the “Battle of the Bend” on Oct. 11. The Bombers find their backs up against the wall as they can ill-afford another setback.