State Spotlight: St. Edward, Elder clash in Cincinnati on Saturday


Lakewood St. Edward takes on Cincinnati Elder on Saturday night in the Queen City

Cincinnati Elder and Lakewood St. Edward – two of Ohio’s premier
Division I football teams – meet Saturday at the historic
“Pit” on the west side of Cincinnati. It’s safe to say St. Ed has had the Panthers’ number the past few
years, winning two straight in the series. This is the first time the teams will play in
Cincinnati since the Eagles won 34-17 during the 2005 season. Kickoff
is 7 p.m.

Cincinnati Elder and Lakewood St. Edward – two of the state’s premier Division I football teams – will meet Saturday night at the historic “Pit” on the west side of Cincinnati.

It’s safe to say St. Ed’s has had the Panthers’ number the past few years. St. Ed’s has won the past two meetings against the Panthers, including a 10-7 win on Sept. 22, 2007.

It is the first time the teams will play against each other in Cincinnati since the Eagles won 34-17 during the 2005 season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

Unlike last season, both teams are expected to be a serious threat in the 2008 postseason.

St. Ed’s (4-0), ranked Ohio High-ONN Power Poll, has already matched its win total from last season. The Eagles defeated Akron Firestone 38-7 last week after two dominant wins. Prior to that, St. Ed’s defeated Strongsville 37-36 in the season opener.

“We are pleased but not satisfied at 4-0,” St. Ed’s coach Scott Niedzwiecki said. “The boys have been doing a great job of living in the moment. They do not seem to have gotten caught up with wins or losses. The focus is the task at hand.”

The Eagles are led by quarterback senior Alex Lavisky, junior running back Germany Woods, senior running back Dominique Goodwin, wide receiver Jeffrey Burke and senior defensive end Brad Weisenseel.

Lavisky has thrown for 630 yards and six touchdowns. Burke has 20 receptions for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Goodwin has 239 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Woods has 289 rushing yards on 37 carries and two touchdowns. He had 132 yards and two touchdowns against Firestone.

“I think this is a great matchup,” Niedzwiecki said of Saturday’s game. “Both teams are playing good football right now.”

Elder (3-1), which lost in the first round of the playoffs last season, has won two consecutive since it lost 35-24 to St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) in the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series Aug. 30 at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Panthers have scored 61 points the past two weeks, including a 31-0 win over Cincinnati La Salle Sept. 12.

“We expect a real physical game,” Niedzwiecki said. “Defensively, they play very hard. Offensively, they will use many formations, shifts and motions to disguise their power running game. The key to the game defensively for us is to align properly and not get mesmerized by their movement.”

Elder junior quarterback Mark Miller has been steady for the Panthers and is second in the Greater Catholic League with 757 passing yards.

Elder coach Doug Ramsey said Miller has done a good job of leading the offense. He threw touchdown passes to four receivers last week against La Salle.

“Mark is getting better,” Ramsey said. “He is completing 65 percent of his passes and is making good decisions.”

The Panthers, ranked No. 7 in the Ohio High-ONN poll, are getting solid contributions from several receivers.

Senior wide receiver Josh Jones, who is third in the GCL with 282 receiving yards, has 19 receptions and three touchdowns. Jones, who is 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, is a University of Cincinnati recruit.

Junior wide receiver Tim O’Conner, who is 6-4, 190, is second on the team with 234 receiving yards. O’Conner has done well create separation in the secondary.

“Tim is a tall guy and very good target,” Ramsey said.

Senior wide receiver Michael Del Prince has 16 receptions for 184 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Elder’s secondary has been solid. The defensive line is led by senior defensive end Carlos Ware, who has 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Senior defensive lineman Orlando Scales also has 2.5 sacks.

“Orlando is playing great on defense,” Ramsey said. “He is tough to block.”

Elder has allowed just 96 rushing yards and 164 passing yards. The Panthers have allowed just 15 points per game.

“This team loves being out there and playing the game,” said Elder assistant athletic director Craig James, who is filling in for athletic director Dave Dabbelt during his leave of absence.

“They have done a great job of just lining up and competing against whoever is in front of them. They love it.”

The Panthers also have extra motivation Saturday night because Ramsey will be going for his 100th career coaching win. He is currently 99-34 in his 12th season at Elder.

“If he had his way, nothing would be made of this milestone,” James said. “But I can speak for everyone else in saying that we want this more for him than he does. That is just Doug being Doug, with no mention made of it during the week and wanting zero attention for anything other than Elder High School.”

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