Moeller football coach John Rodenberg didn’t underestimate the significance of Saturday night’s win at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.).
“It was huge,” Rodenberg told WCPO.com late Saturday night.
Moeller defeated the New Jersey power 20-14 Saturday night in the final game of a home-and-home agreement between both schools. Don Bosco won in Cincinnati in 2015.
But, Saturday night the Crusaders took another step in proving themselves as one of the area's elite teams this season.
Moeller (3-1) held a 20-0 halftime lead against the traditional East Coast powerhouse. Junior Colin Thurman had a 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead after the kick failed. Thurman had 13 carries for 113 yards.
In the second quarter, senior quarterback Evan Ernst found RJ Khayo for a 70-yard touchdown pass connection at the 10:43 mark. Khayo, a sophomore, had three receptions for 90 yards.
Senior Hunter Hughes caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ernst nearly five minutes later to help with a 20-0 advantage.
“We’re pretty young but we’re really starting to grow,” Rodenberg said. “We came out and jumped right on them.”
Moeller, which wore all-gold uniforms, had 332 yards of total offense including 146 rushing. Ernst was 11 of 18 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He threw two interceptions in the end zone.
The Moeller defense stood tall and was able to get pressure on the quarterback, Rodenberg said. Senior linebacker The-Moor Kelly and senior linebacker Tyler Manger had eight tackles each.
Senior defensive lineman Miles Manigault had six tackles including 1.5 sacks.
Junior defensive lineman Aeneas Hawkins and sophomore Luke Szabados also had sacks.
Rodenberg said Don Bosco may be the second-toughest team on the Crusaders’ schedule this season.
“They lost to two nationally ranked teams and this was their home opener,” Rodenberg said. “We really rose to the occasion. We’re getting better.”
Moeller plays at St. Xavier (2-2) in the Greater Catholic League South opener for both teams at 7 p.m. Sept. 23. Moeller is eighth and St. X ninth in the JoeEitel.com unofficial computer points standings in Division I, Region 4. The official OHSAA standings will be released Tuesday afternoon.