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Elder High School football earns its 600th program win

Mike Dyer's High School Football Notebook
Posted: 12:32 AM, Sep 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-01 08:27:34Z

CINCINNATI -- Michael Bittner didn't have a doubt about the outcome of Friday night's game in Indianapolis.

The Elder senior quarterback told his teammates the Panthers  would find a way to score on their final possession. They did just that.

Elder rallied late to defeat Indianapolis Cathedral 39-34, remaining undefeated through two weeks. The Panthers also earned the program's 600th program win, becoming the first Greater Catholic League school to reach that milestone.

RELATED: Saturday's schedule and Friday night's scores.

The Cathedral public-address announcer mentioned the record in the postgame.

"That's pretty awesome, just being a part of this historic program," Bittner said. "It's a great honor to play for Elder."

Elder is the third local Ohio school to reach 600 wins, joining Middletown and Wyoming, and the 33rd school in all of Ohio to hit such a milestone. There are 718 schools in Ohio playing football this season.

"I think it goes to our kids and the blue-collar mentality," Elder athletic director Kevin Espelage said. "We're tough (and) hard-working, and we don't quit. I think you can argue that we've been pretty consistent over the years. Now, it may not be reflected in 9-1 or 8-2 records, but I think our opponents always walk away saying, 'That's a heck of a football team that's going to fight you until the end of the ballgame.'"

Elder (2-0) certainly dug deep to earn the win on the road Friday night. It may not have played its best, but the Panthers found a path to victory.

"It was a back-and-forth game, and we played it with a lot of heart and a lot of grit tonight," Bittner said.

The Panthers' defense made a significant stop late in the game to give Bittner an opportunity to score on a 1-yard run with 34 seconds left, which proved to be the difference. He was 11 of 19 passing for 176 yards and rushed for 52 yards and three touchdowns.

"Michael had another really good game, both passing and running," Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. "He is just so tough."

Junior Matthew Luebbe had 10 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Senior Kyle Trischler had six receptions for 105 yards.

Defensively, senior linebacker Jake Hofmeyer had a game-high 13 tackles. Senior defensive back Eric Beck had eight tackles and an interception. Junior defensive back Colton Sandhas also had interception.

Elder is 600-312-30 since the program started in 1923. The 500th win came in 2003. 

The Panthers are 183-137-13 in the Greater Catholic League and have won 21 GCL titles, six city titles, five regional titles and two state championships. The 600th win is certainly very significant for the school.  

"Milestones like this just make you think about the great tradition that is Elder football," Ramsey said. "I feel very lucky to be a part of such a great program."

Wyoming has the most wins in the city with 689 (689-200-48). That program started in 1919. Middletown is the only other Southwest Ohio school to reach 600 wins (648-342-18). Middletown started its program in 1912.

"It's very exciting for players past, present and future to be a part of something that doesn't happen every year," Espelage said.

Oak Hills earns the shutout

Oak Hills starts the season 2-0 for the first time since 2012 after the Highlanders defeated Dayton Dunbar 49-0. Senior quarterback Ethan Myers was 13 of 19 passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver David Partin had three receptions for 102 yards.

Big Moe wins

Moeller remained undefeated with a 21-14 win over visiting Louisville Trinity. The game was called in the third quarter due to weather. Senior quarterback Mitch McKenzie threw for 165 yards and a TD. Junior Max Land had a 52-yard TD reception. Senior Luke Szabados had five tackles.

College recruiting

Fairfield junior tailback JuTahn McClain added scholarship offers from Purdue, Pittsburgh and West Virginia this week. He's got a big choice ahead: A day after his memorable performance at Centerville, where he earned 437 all-purpose yards and scored seven touchdowns, Maryland and Michigan decided to send him offers, too. Naturally, local schools also want him. The University of Cincinnati, Kentucky, Rutgers and Louisville have all thrown their hats in the ring.

Elder junior offensive lineman Jakob James added an offer from Kentucky this week. He also has offers from LSU, Louisville, UC, Boston College, Indiana, Iowa State, West Virginia and others.

Extension of series?

Winton Woods and Trotwood Madison are in discussions about extending the series for two years beyond 2019, according to Trotwood Madison Athletic Director Chuck Richardson III. Trotwood Madison, the 2017 Division III state champion, defeated host Winton Woods 13-3 in the season opener. The game will be in Trotwood in 2019.

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