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Elyria Catholic shuts down North Ridgeville in second half for win
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Rangers quarterback Jason Lucas looks for a seam on a QB keeper near the goal line during the third quarter of a game between the North Ridgeville High School Rangers and the Elyria Catholic High School Panthers at North Ridgeville High School in North Ridgeville, Ohio on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE players from both teams dive on a Panthers fumbles near mid-field during the third quarter of a game between the North Ridgeville High School Rangers and the Elyria Catholic High School Panthers at North Ridgeville High School in North Ridgeville, Ohio on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Rangers quarterback Jason Lucas stiff arms Panthers safety Lucas Ball as he makes a carry during the third quarter of a game between the North Ridgeville High School Rangers and the Elyria Catholic High School Panthers at North Ridgeville High School in North Ridgeville, Ohio on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Panthers quarterback Conner Riddell completes a pass to wide receiver Jacob Moore during the third quarter of a game between the North Ridgeville High School Rangers and the Elyria Catholic High School Panthers at North Ridgeville High School in North Ridgeville, Ohio on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.
Both offenses managed to move the ball and make plays early on, but the Panthers’ defense took over the game entirely in the second half and paved the way to a 23-13 West Shore Conference victory.
The Panthers (5-3, 3-2) pulled out to an early 10-0 lead due mostly to Ranger miscues. Carl Spaetzel kicked a 21-yard field goal on a drive that was aided heavily by Ranger penalties.
Will Washington, then, picked off North Ridgeville quarterback Ron Traut before returning it 30 yards for the games first touchdown.
“Our whole defensive philosophy tonight and every night is to make them earn it,” Elyria Catholic coach Mike Polevacik said. “With all due respect to our opponent tonight, we felt that miscues on our part led to their quick scores in the first half.
“The last thing you want to do against a talented team is leave plays on the field.”
North Ridgeville’s (1-7, 1-4) second drive was a great response to the early deficit. Going entirely to the power run game behind bruising Paul Sonego, scrambling quarterback and slasher C.J. Osbourne the Rangers racked up five first downs and a much needed score from Sonego on a 1-yard run.
With the early tempo of a possible shootout, the Panthers’ offense also responded with another scoring drive.
This one coming through the air on a 28-yard pass from Connor Riddell to Joshua Moore. The 28-yard came after a 50-yard hookup between the two had been negated by an illegal motion penalty.
“We were obviously glad that early penalty ended up not costing us,” Polevacik said. “We talk about not leaving plays on the field defensively but of course you don’t want to do it on either side of the ball.”
Rangers quarterback Jason Lucas scored on a 4-yard run on what ended up being his team’s final points late in the second quarter. North Ridgeville actually had a chance to take the lead before the half, but they were stopped on 4th-and-Goal at the Elyria Catholic 1-yard line. One of two stops on 4th-and-1 that the Panthers caused.
“The little things can help you and kill you,” Polevacik said. “We fumbled the ball away a couple of times, but things like fourth down stops and big plays on third down help even things out. Hopefully in your favor at the end of the game.”
Riddell was effective, efficient and sometimes spectacular under center for the Panthers. He completed 12 of 19 for 92 yards and a touchdown, but also had passes of 50 and 86 yards negated by penalties. The versatile quarterback also had a 38-yard punt return early in the second half.
“Connor has been everything we’ve asked him to be and more,” Polevacik said. “Jeremy Holley is not our only injured quarterback this season. It got to the point for us that we decided to go with the best athlete, and that was Connor.
“As each week passes he is getting more comfortable in our offense. He has helped us greatly in righting the ship after a tumultuous start.”
Going into the second half with a narrow 17-13 lead, the Panther defense shut out the Rangers from then on out. Only giving up seven first downs in the second half. A 3-yard run by Justin Taylor was the only score of the second half for either team, but it was more than enough for the stingy Elyria Catholic defense.
EC 23, North Ridgeville 13
West Shore Conference
Elyria Catholic (5-3) 10 7 0 6 — 36
North Ridgeville (1-7) 7 6 0 0 — 13
E — Carl Spaetzel 21 FG
E— Will Washington 30 yard INT return (kick good)
N — Paul Sonego 1 run (Josh Murra kick)
E — Joshua Moore 28 pass from Conner Riddell (kick good)
N — Jason Lucas 4 run (kick failed)
E — Justin Taylor 3 run (kick failed)
First Downs — E 16, NR 16.
Yards Rushing — E 94 (Taylor 73), NR 194 (Lucas 84).
Yards Passing — E 92, NR 29.
Passes Att.-Comp.-Int — E 19-12-0, NR 11-3-2.
Fumbles-Lost — E 2-2, N 1-0.
Penalties-Yards — E 4-25, NR 4-35.
Last Updated: 10/13/2012 12:34:40 PM EST