Panthers Win in Thrilling Fashion

The Elder Panthers clinched a home playoff game with their 34-28 victory against crosstown rival LaSalle High School Friday night. They did so in a game filled with big plays and terrible weather. It seemed as if the cold rain never let up Friday night in the Pit. However, Mother Nature’s downpour didn’t stop either team from producing big numbers on the offensive side of the ball. The Lancers got on the board first with a 15-yard touchdown pass from QB Brad Burkhart to WR Derek Kief. Kief beat his defender and made a diving catch in the end zone which was worthy of ESPN’s Top 10 plays. Elder bounced right back and scored on a long drive capped off by a Chris Schroer 1-yard touchdown run. Matt Murray’s PAT was hit wide-left; the miss could partially be blamed on the wind and rain. LaSalle once again cruised past the Elder defense and scored on a 72-yard catch and run by WR Brennan Walsh. The score came just 40 seconds after Elder punched it in for six. The harsh weather conditions had little effect on the Elder offense as they responded to LaSalle’s score with a 12-yard touchdown catch by senior WR Anthony Stacklin. This play began with a fumbled snap by QB Josh Moore, but he was able to regroup and find Stacklin for the TD. The Lancers scored on another big play as soon as they got the ball back. RB Morgan Wilcox received a handoff and went 72-yards for the LaSalle touchdown. The long run put the score at 21-13 LaSalle going into halftime. LaSalle got the ball to start the third quarter and marched right down the field into Elder territory. However, Lancer QB Brad Burkhart dropped back to pass and was intercepted by a leaping Trevor Ginn to swing the momentum back to the Panthers. Later in the third quarter, Elder senior receiver Max Mazza etched his name in the record books with his 119th reception in an Elder uniform. (The previous career reception record was held by Jeff Meier ‘88.) The catch, however, was even more special because it was for 80-yards and an Elder touchdown. After the failed 2pt conversion, the Panthers were trailing 21-19. LaSalle didn’t let Mazza’s big play faze them as they scored on a Brad Burkhart 70-yard quarterback draw. After converting the point after, the tally was 28-19, with little over a minute remaining to play in the third quarter. The Panthers got right back up and came within two of the Lancers after Chris Schroer’s second rushing touchdown of the night. The Panthers kicked-off to LaSalle with less than eight minutes to go in the GCL-South battle. Elder’s defense faced its biggest drive of the game, and they didn’t disappoint Elder Nation. The Lancer offensive was forced to punt the ball back to Elder with just about 5 minutes remaining. The Panther offense picked up at their own 10-yard line and drove the ball right down LaSalle’s throat. The long drive was finished with a Schroer 12-yard scamper. Schroer also ran in the 2pt conversion giving Elder a 34-28 lead with just about 90 seconds to go in the ballgame. LaSalle had one last chance to crush Elder’s senior night and finish their 2012 season with a victory. E lder’s student section rallied behind the Panther D, and the Lancers were unsuccessful in their attempt to score or even get a first down. Josh Moore and the Elder offense lined up in the victory formation and closed out the regular season with a crucial 34-28 win in the Pit. The Elder class of 2013 will have one more in the Pit next week as the first round of the playoffs get underway. To vote for Max Mazza for WCPO player of the week, click this link: ts