Sunday, November 07, 1999

Elder 14, Oak Hills 0


Panthers overcome mistakes

BY JOHN ERARDI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Elder's Collin Carey scrambles from the rush.
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        OK, so Elder won. But if the Panthers play like this next Saturday against Centerville, there won't be any football Saturdays to follow.

        They couldn't hang onto the football, could rarely execute in the red zone and kept self-destructing with penalties in a 14-0 win before 10,000 fans at “The Pit” Saturday night.

        “We moved the ball, but we dropped a pass for a touchdown on the first series and then we fumble snaps, we turn the ball over, we run before we catch it... we're just making way too many mistakes on offense,” said Elder coach Doug Ramsey. “If we don't improve that next week, we can't win. Centerville will score some points. They're a great offensive team.”

        Centerville averages 35 points per game.

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Elder's Chris Braun celebrates a TD catch.
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        But give credit to Oak Hills' defense, too. It played mostly bend-but-don't break football for three quarters. And had the Highlanders not turned the ball over with less than a minute to go in the first half, the score would have been 0-0 going into the fourth quarter.

        An interception — twice-tipped — deep in Oak Hills territory opened the door for Elder.

        With 20 seconds left in the half, Elder quarterback Collin Carey dropped back to pass from Oak Hills' 16. The protection was lead-tight. He zipped a strike to Chris Braun just inside the back-line on the left side of the goal post. Braun made a nice grab with extended hands.

        “We had two receivers to the right side and their safety cheated way over and he just got in front of the safety and ran away from man coverage,” Ramsey said.

        That TD pass made up for a lot of first-half mistakes.

        Then it looked like Elder might break it open with a long pass play with less than two minutes in the third quarter, but it was called back because of a clipping penalty.

        Special teams' play then came through for Elder.

        Brett Mezger caught the punt on the dead run, taking it deep into Oak Hills' territory.

        “It was big, a big momentum shift,” Ramsey said.

        On the first play from scrimmage, Koester busted it to the Oak Hills' 5. Two plays later, Koester swung right for the pitch and high-stepped it into the end zone through a huge hole.

        For the night, Koester had 21 carries for 159 yards and one TD. It put him over 1,300 yards for the season, making him the first back in Elder history to top that mark.

        Oak Hills responded with a long drive to the Elder 10 with six minutes to go, but couldn't punch it in.

        But Oak Hills hit a 70-yard pass down to Elder's 5 with 2:40 to go. A false start slowed them down and backed them up and the Elder defense did the rest, keeping the Highlanders out of the end zone.

        “We ran the ball well and we threw the ball pretty well,” Ramsey said. “But we only scored 14 points. That's the thing that's really frustrating.”

        Oak Hills ....... 0  0  0  0- 0

        Elder ....... 0  7  7  0-14



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