The Crusaders downed Mason 24-7 in the 10th Annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Miami University’s Yager Stadium in front of a modest crowd willing to brave the heat.
“It sure beats last year being on the end of a one-point loss,” said Moeller head coach Bob Crable in reference to the 13-12 loss to West Chester Lakota West in last year’s Showdown. “(Our players) have worked hard and they have done some good things, so it is good to put it all together.”
Moeller (1-0) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. On its first possession of the game, the Crusaders put together an 80-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 52-yard reception from senior quarterback Ross Oltorik to junior receiver Tony Harris on third down and 11 to put Moeller deep in Mason territory.
Two plays later, Oltorik took the quarterback sneak into the end zone and the point after gave Moeller an early 7-0 lead.
“Tony Harris is one of our speed guys and is fast enough to break something long,” Crable said. “He just got by the secondary and Ross put it up there and he ran under it. He did a great job with.”
Mason (0-1) was forced to punt on its first possession but on Moeller’s first play from scrimmage, center Cameron Scheidler sent the snap over Oltorick’s head and Mason recovered on the Moeller 12.
On second down, Comets fullback Andy Porter barreled into the end zone for a 9-yard TD run. The point after evened the score 7-7 with four minutes left in the quarter.
Moeller struck again midway through the second quarter taking over on their own 48 following a Mason punt and marched 52 yards in four plays capped off by a 9-yard Oltorik TD run. The drive included three straight first downs with gains of 26 and 15 yards on two separate plays.
The point after put Moeller 14-7 with five minute left in the quarter.
The Crusaders weren’t done scoring in the half. With less than a minute left, Tim Uecker had 7-yard touchdown run topping off an 8-play, 74-yard drive.
Moeller went into the locker room at the break with the two TDadvantage.
Place kicker Ryan Sunderman added Moeller’s final points with an 18-yard field goal in the waning moments of the third quarter.
Sunderman had another chance to extend the lead in the fourth but clanked his 31-yard attempt off the right upright.
Oltorik earned Player of the Game honors for his 18-of-30 passing for 227 yards performance.
“Ross did some very nice things but he still has some things to work on. He had a very nice game,” Crable said. “He put the ball where he needed to put it, read blitzes and did some good things for us.”
Patrick Banks led the ground attack for Moeller with 81 yards on 17 carries. As a team, the Crusaders tallied 153 yards and 362 total offensive yards to Mason’s 95, respectively.
Despite the season opening loss, Mason head coach David Sedmak was please with the defense’s performance in the second half allowing just 101 yards and three points.
“The defense really hung tough for us and kept giving us a chance. The defense had a great effort tonight,” he said. “They were a little gun shy early in the game in the secondary and a little afraid to tighten up but they hung tough. Our guys really hung tough. I am real proud of them.”
Mason junior quarterback Mychael Bembry is sporting a new look this season. The former Moeller student traded in his blue and gold uniform for the Mason green and white in the offseason.
Bembrey was 5-of-12 passing on the night for 32 yards and an INT. He also had 18 yards rushing on 12 carries.
“He’s going to have to improve on a lot of things but he is going to,” Sedmak said about his new signal caller. “He is a good kid, works hard and has a lot of ability. A lot of the things that he needs to learn how to do are learning the experience of the game.”
The Moeller community suffered two tragic losses over the summer with the passing of senior linebacker Jordan Bessey in a car accident in July and offensive lineman Andrew Carter, who was fatally shot in Arizona just weeks later.
In the Moeller team photo in the Showdown program, senior linebacker Jonathan Powell and senior offensive lineman Kevin Kapellas honor Bessey by proudly holding his jersey up between them.
Crable thought the season opening win was another fitting way to honor the fallen teammates.
“Where we’re at as far as things with Jordan and Andy – the kids are still healing from it and this is a good remedy for that healing process,” he said.
Moeller is scheduled to play Mission Viejo (Calif.) next week in the Third Annual Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium at 5 p.m.
The Crusaders participated in the event last year narrowly falling to Byrnes (S.C.) 21-20.