Monday, November 15, 1999

Elder: Where there's will, there's Wayne




The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Nothing in Elder football history may be able to top Saturday's thrilling 49-42 victory over Centerville. Except a state championship.

        The Panthers, who got as far as the state semifinals in 1996 before losing to eventual champion Lima Senior, are two wins from the state finals. They play Huber Heights Wayne in the Division I regional finals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dayton's Welcome Stadium.

        Mike Honold, a retired 37-year football coach, athletic director and teacher at Elder, put Saturday's victory in perspective.

        “Nothing in the history of Elder football compares to the total points and excitement of Saturday's game,” said Honold, who couldn't attend the game, but listened on the radio. “I've seen a lot of football, but this game tops them all.”

        Trailing 42-28 with three minutes left, the Panthers scored three touchdowns — two in the last 44 seconds.

        Elder defensive back Ryan Vanderpool, who intercepted the pass and returned it for the winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining, vaguely remembered the game winning play.

        “The ball tipped off of a Centerville receiver's hand and I grabbed it and took off,” Vanderpool said on Sunday. “The rest is still a blur. I do know I had a wall of blockers in front of me.”

        Wayne lost to Centerville in the ninth game of the season but had little trouble defeating St. Xavier 37-14, taking advantage of three pass interceptions and a blocked punt.

        Elder will have its hands full with a quick Wayne defensive unit that held St. Xavier tailback Steve Sollmann to 58 yards and a secondary that includes Ohio State-bound players John Hollins and Will Allen.

        Tickets will not go on sale until Tuesday at the earliest.



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