Is Cincinnati Elder the team to beat in Division I?

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Cincinnati Elder Panthers

Cincinnati Elder
moved back into the forefront in the Greater Catholic League last season as well as on the statewide stage with
its run to the state title game. There had been some lean times for the
Panthers since winning back-to-back state titles in 2002-03. Can the Panthers do it again in 2009?


Cincinnati Elder (13-2, Division I State Runner-Up)

* Players to Watch – QB
Mark Miller
(6-0, 185, Sr.), TE Alex Welch (6-5, 235, Sr.), WR Tim O’Connor
(6-3, 180, Sr.), LB Corey Mason (6-3, 215, Sr.), CB Jake Fishburn (6-2, 180,
Sr.), DE Pete Bachman (6-5, 245, Sr.)

* Outlook – Elder
moved back into the forefront in the GCL as well as on the statewide stage with
its run to the state title game. There had been some lean times for the
Panthers since winning back-to-back state titles in 2002-03.

After winning the regional title, Elder downed Pickerington
Central 24-10 in a state semifinal before falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius
28-20 in the title game. Still, it was a major breakthrough for an Elder
program that had failed to win a playoff game in its two playoff appearances
since winning its last title in 2003.

“It was an exciting year,” said Elder coach Doug Ramsey, who
is starting his 13th year as the Panthers head coach. “I’m not sure
there were a ton of expectations for that team. That team was a big-time
overachiever. We won 13 games and we lost one to the eventual national champion
(Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) and one in the state title game.”

Elder will have four returning starters on offense and seven
on defense.

“Our skill positions on offense should be pretty good,”
Ramsey said. “But we lost all five of our linemen from last year. We have a
chance to have a bigger line than we had last year. On defense, we don’t
normally have seven guys back. We expect the defense to play well.”

Miller threw for 1,968 yards with 21 touchdowns against just
four interceptions.

“Mark understands the game,” Ramsey said. “He is a very
accurate quarterback and gets the ball to the open receiver as fast as any
quarterback I’ve ever had. He has an uncanny ability to find the open guy and
his release is very quick.”

Welch, who had four touchdowns among his 16 catches last
year, has already verbaled to Notre Dame.

“He is a big, athletic guy who catches the ball pretty
well,” Ramsey said. “He can do a lot of things with it after he catches it. He
is also a good blocker. We like to spread the field and get him the ball down
the field.”

The schedule is tough as nails. Elder faces Illinois state champion East St.
Louis
and Kentucky
state champion Louisville Trinity. Elder also faces Colerain, Lakewood St.
Edward and Columbus DeSales in addition to the usual GCL challenges.

Schedule

Aug. 29, vs. East St. Louis, Ill. (Skyline Chili
Crosstown Showdown at UC’s Nippert Stadium), 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 6, Cincinnati Colerain, noon

Sept. 11, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity

Sept. 18, at Cincinnati
LaSalle

Sept. 26, at Lakewood St. Edward, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2, at Cincinnati St. Xavier

Oct. 9, Cincinnati
Moeller

Oct. 16, Columbus
DeSales

Oct. 30, Cincinnati Western Hills

 

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