Saturday, October 30, 1999

Elder 16, Oak Hills 15

Panthers escape with late field goal

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Oak Hills receiver Billy Brown just missed a diving catch.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        Oak Hills is for real. The Highlanders proved that by giving West Side rival Elder a scare, but kicker Tom DeFranco's 29-yard field goal with 13 seconds left gave the Panthers a 16-15 win Friday night before a crowd of 7,200 in and around 4,100-seat Denny Betz Stadium.

        “They're good,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “They had us beat.”

        It certainly appeared that way when Kyle Koester fumbled at the Oak Hills 21-yard line, and Alex Arinsmier recovered. The Highlanders had only 1:46 to kill for the victory, but went three-and-out, and Elder had the ball at its 36 with 1:29 to play.

        From there, Elder quarterback Collin Carey took over. He threw an incomplete on the first play, then hit four straight, moving Elder to the 13, where DeFranco converted.

        “I thought I had lost the game for us,” said DeFranco, who missed from 39 yards earlier in the fourth quarter. “If the situation came up where I got another chance, I knew I'd do it.”

        Carey gave him the chance.

        “He brought us back,” Ramsey said. “He had a great game. We had a couple of drops, or it might not have come down to that.”

        Carey was 19-of-39 for 398 yards and one touchdown. Brett Mezger caught 10 balls for 168 yards.

        Koester had 84 yards on 21 carries and caught five passes for 54 yards.

        Quarterback Rik Menchen ran for 90 yards on 14 carries for Oak Hills.

        Elder finished the regular season 8-1. Oak Hills had a five-game winning streak snapped and finishes 7-3. Oak Hills has not beat en Elder since 1986, but the rivalry seems to be back.

        “I couldn't be prouder of our kids,” Oak Hills coach Steve Sheehan said. “(Elder) made big plays at the end. But that was a great high school football game.”

        Both teams seem bound for the Division I playoffs.

        The game could not have started better for the Highlanders. They took the opening kickoff and went 85 yards in 21 plays, with Menchen, a sophomore, getting the last yard and the TD on a quarterback sneak.

        The Highlanders twice converted fourth downs. They were ready to settle for a field goal, but when Elder jumped off sides on the fourth-and-6, Oak Hills went for the first and converted.

        Elder got on the board via the turnover. Brian Rosenthal picked off a Menchen pass in the left flat and returned it 25 yards for the TD.

        Elder was called for a dead-ball foul on the play, making the extra point a 35-yard kick. DeFranco's kick was no good.

        Rosenthal's TD, which came with 8:12 left in the half, concluded the scoring for the half.

        “We wanted the lead at half,” Sheehan said. “We dominated on offense and defense.”

        Oak Hills added the lead on its first drive of the second half. The Highlanders took over at the Elder 39 after a short punt by Koester.

        Menchen kept the drive alive with a 23-yard lob pass to Steve Webb on a third-and-5. Two plays later, Arinsmier broke a couple of tackles on 7-yard TD run, and Menchen ran it on for a two-point conversion to make 15-6 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

        But the Elder offense responded. After a dropped pass on the drive's first play, Carey completed his next six, including a 15-yarder to Joel Wainscott for the TD.

        Elder ....... 0  6  7  3—16

        Oak Hills ....... 7  0  8  0—15

        OH—Menchen 1 run (Richmond kick)

        E—Rosenthal 25 interception return (kick failed)

        OH—A. Arinsmier 7 run (Menchen run)

        E—Wainscott 15 pass from Carey (DeFranco kick)

        E—DeFranco 29 field goal


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How ranked teams fared
Batavia 35, Western Brown 0
Beechwood 48, Newport CC 0
Bellevue 20, Dayton 0
Bethel-Tate 45, Clermont NE 6
Boone County 62, Simon Kenton 6
CCD 9, Reading 0
CHCA 32, Finneytown 27
Col. Watterson 35, Lakota East 21
Deer Park 43, North College Hill 13
Dixie Heights 41, Covington Catholic 7
Edgewood 49, Middletown Fenwick 7
- Elder 16, Oak Hills 15
Fairfield 35, Winton Woods 14
Goshen 27, Little Miami 21
Grant Co. 33, Frankfort Western Hills 20
Hamilton 45, Badin 13
Highlands 47, Conner 10
Holmes 30, Scott 9
Hughes 16, Aiken 7
Indian Hill 28, Glen Este 10
Kings 28, Turpin 13
La Salle 24, Colerain 14
Lakota West 48, Harrison 21
Loveland 49, Wilmington 29
Ludlow 21, Holy Cross 6
Madeira 42, Lockland 12
Mariemont 45, Summit CD 13
Mason 24, Lebanon 21
McNicholas 34, Taylor 15
Miami Trace 52, Hillsboro 32
Milford 55, Amelia 14
Moeller 34, Princeton 24
Monroe 41, Talawanda 34
New Richmond 28, Williamsburg 27, OT
Newport 28, Russell 10
Northwest 16, Roger Bacon 14
Ross 42, Norwood 18
Ryle 28, Campbell County 12
Springboro 47, West Carrollton 12
St. Xavier 34, Anderson 6
Sycamore 49, Withrow 7
Western Hills 26, Walnut Hills 18
Worthington Christian 34, New Miami 20
Wyoming 13, Blanchester 6