Panthers prepare for Friday night GCL South matchup

After years of rivalry who will come out on top of the 2015-2016 GCL South leaderboard?

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The Elder Panthers and the St. Xavier Bombers are two huge GCL south rivals who are going to war on Friday, October 2nd at St. Xavier Stadium. Both teams enter the game with identical records of 4-1. Who will come out on top Friday night? Especially after last year’s upset when St. Xavier defeated Elder in over time by a score of 32-24. Jerry Porter sliced a 32 yard field goal for the win with one second left on the clock in the fourth quarter that would’ve put the Panthers up by three, resulting in the death of the Bombers.

But the past is the past, and now both teams are ready for the battle of a lifetime as Elder seeks revenge and St. Xavier seeks another win.

Who do you think will win friday night: Elder Panthers or St. Xavier Bombers?

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Fans are going to be a huge part of Friday night’s game. Even though the Bombers have the home advantage, the Panthers still plan on selling out the visitor’s side. You shouldn’t expect anything less from a GCL South matchup. I asked Elder cheer captain, Sam Middendorf what we should expect from the student section Friday night.

“The boys over there always bring something to the table. But the Panthers are gonna walk up to the so called “table” and they’re gonna destroy whatever the bombers brought to it,” said Middendorf.

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Friday’s game against the bomb squad will be a doozy”

— Sam Middendorf

Every GCL South game can boil down to who has more heart.  This is why it is one of the toughest leagues in the country.

“Playing in the GCL is a real meat grinder, all of the teams are extremely physical and tough. All of the teams are extremely well coached so out-coaching one of them is not going to happen. All of the teams are well-conditioned and strong so you have to have a strong year-round off-season program to just stay even. To win, you have to have players and be one of the top teams in Ohio,” Max Preps said.

Quarterbacks are going to play a tremendous role Friday night. Elder’s Peyton Ramsey, and St. Xavier’s Sean Clifford are both four star quarterbacks, team leaders and both are committed to Big 10 colleges.

Ramsey will be attending Indiana University, while Clifford has his heart set on Penn State. Ramsey is leading the GCL South with an outstanding 1,095 passing yards, and five rushing touchdowns, after just five games plans to add to that number Friday night. Clifford isn’t too far behind with 740 passing yards making them the top two leaders as of week five. This battle of quarterbacks will simply come down to who wants it more.

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I’m just going to do what I always do. Go out, play hard, play smart and be a leader.”

— Peyton Ramsey

The big men. No, not the biggest contributors to the teams, literally the biggest men on both teams. The Panthers own Tommy Kraemer and Brannen Martin and the Bombers Matt Bockhorst and Noah Davis.

Kraemer and Martin both have the strength of bulls. Kraemer is a Notre Dame commit and ranked number one in the state and top ten in the nation. Martin has a couple offers sitting on his shoulders and hasn’t decided where he wants to continue his football and academic career. When these two are on the same side, it’s not something I’d want to be in front of. It’s like standing in front of two Semi trucks coming at you at 100 MPH.

I will dominate. I will have a lot of pancakes and huge holes for our backs to run through.”

— Tommy Kraemer

Bockhorst and Davis have a strong bond as well. After both guys had a successful victory over Moeller last Friday, they are fired up to come out even stronger than before. Bockhorst may possibly be joining Kraemer at Notre Dame next year, but still isn’t sure what he wants to do. Davis on the other hand will be attending Michigan State where the 6’-5″, 230 lb. tight end will hope for more success at East Lansing.

It’s clear that both teams have tons of talent on both sides of the ball. The Bombers are walking in with a 1-0 start in the GCL South, while the Panthers bring their frustration from last year and their drive to win GCL South this year. If you put two talented teams together, the only way to win is by having more heart, passion, and determination than the opponent standing in front of you.