Panther playoff hopes

A look into the Elder Panther's first round match-up against the Clayton Northmont Thunderbirds

The Pit will be packed as The Panthers take on the Clayton Northmont Thunderbirds

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The Pit will be packed as The Panthers take on the Clayton Northmont Thunderbirds

November means high school playoff time here on the Westside of Cincinnati, and that almost always includes the Elder Panthers. This year the Panthers come into the playoffs at a very solid 8-2. The Panthers only two losses came at the hands of a 9-1 Moeller team and also to a very good St. Edwards team that is ranked number three in the state.

This Elder team is filled with talent, starting with running back Chris Schroer. Schroer had a very successful senior campaign, leading the GCL in rushing with 917 yards and also piling on 13 touchdowns. The Panthers also have quarterback Peyton Ramsey, who is having a very good year despite only being a sophomore. Ramsey has thrown for 1,641 yards and eight touchdowns. Ramsey has also had a very successful ground game, running for 483 yards on just 91 attempts.

Elder’s defense is nothing to sleep on either, having two of the top five sack leaders in the GCL in Dustin Applegate and Joe Schroer. They also have junior Kyle Orloff, fourth in the GCL in tackles with 73, and Johnny Lammers, third in interceptions with three. In order for the Panthers to make a deep playoff run, this defense needs to continue its strong play.

In the first round, Elder will host the Clayton Northmont Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts are ranked 36th in the state and have an 8-2 record. The also boast an offense averaging over 300 total yards per game. They have three players with over 350 yards rushing, one of them being their senior quarterback, who has also thrown for 27 touchdowns.

It will be a tall order for the Elder defense to stop this offense, but I believe they will be up to the task.

As for Northmont’s defense, it seems that their rush defense is their weak point. They are allowing 186 rushing yards per game, which is music to Chris Schroer’s ears. If the Panthers get the run going early, it should be able to open up the passing game against a defense only allowing 83 pass yards per game.

When all is said and done, I believe the Panthers will pull out the victory behind the strong support of Elder Nation under the lights at The Pit. Should the Panthers win, it would lead to another showdown against either Moeller or St. X.

The Panthers look to take down the Thunderbirds this Saturday night in the Pit at 7:00 p.m.