By Michael Collins
CINCINNATI – Moeller improved to 7-0 and took control of the GCL’s South Division with a 35-14 win over the Elder at Elder Stadium on Friday.
Moeller coasted past Elder behind three deep scoring plays, each for more than 30 yards. Senior quarterback Gus Ragland produced two long touchdown passes in the first half to help the Crusaders get rolling.
Moeller’s stingy defense put pressure on Elder sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey throughout. Ragland credited the defensive effort as the reason for the quick start on offense.
“Ramsey is a great quarterback,” Ragland said. “He’s young – when our defense put pressure on him, it made our secondary’s job a lot easier. It was a lot easier to get stops and make plays.”
The Crusaders struck first on a 37-yard touchdown pass by Ragland to senior receiver Isaiah Gentry in the first quarter. Elder answered on a Ramsey 4-yard TD pass to senior receiver Austin Cipriani to tie the score.
On the ensuing drive, Ragland tossed a 44-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Chase Pankey to help the Crusaders regain the lead.
After Moeller’s defense forced Elder to punt, Ragland led the Crusaders down field to set up an 8-yard TD pass to senior running back Dean Meyer. His third TD lob of the half gave Moeller a 21-7 advantage going into the intermission.
Elder’s offense failed to move the chains on the opening possession of the second half. The Panthers were forced to punt, and a solid punt return landed Moeller at the Panthers’ 40 yard line.
Ragland capped the short drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Elder scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass by Ramsey to sophomore receiver Nick Hall in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 14, 28-14.
But less than a minute later, Moeller junior running back Sterling Noes broke out on a 40-yard touchdown run to erase any hope of the Panthers making a late comeback.
Ragland was 4-of-7 passing with 92 yards and three TD passes against the Panthers. He also had 15 carries for 119 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Moeller accrued 217 rushing yards on 32 carries. The running attack helped control the tempo, and it opened up opportunities to execute on throws down field.
“We controlled the game up front, our offensive line did a great job all night,” Ragland said. “We could run the ball, run a couple play-actions, and our speedy wide receivers really opened up our passing game so we could go deep especially.”
Ramsey finished the contest 27-of-42 passing for 263 yards and one touchdown pass. Senior running back Chris Schroer had six catches for 82 yards.
Elder had 30 carries for just 40 rushing yards.
Moeller’s defense picked up three sacks and dropped Elder rushers for losses that totaled 46 yards. Senior defensive lineman Chalmer Frueauf recorded 9½ tackles against the Panthers.
Moeller will host Indianapolis Cathedral (4-4), while Elder (5-2) travels to Winton Woods (6-1) on Oct. 18.