The LaSalle Lancers (9-0, 2-0) traveled to "The Pit" in Price Hill in hopes of securing its first ever Greater Catholic League south division outright title and an undefeated record. However, the host Elder Panthers (3-5, 0-2) were attempting to put a positive spin on a disappointing season by playing the unfamiliar role of spoiler.
On the LaSalle's first drive, the Lancers went 61 yards on 13 plays to make the score 7-0 when quarterback Drew Kummer fell forward on a sneak from the two-yard line. Kummer connected with wide receiver Matthew Woeste five times on the drive for 53 yards.
After Elder went three-and-out on its ensuing drive, LaSalle went to work once again. Taking over on the 11-yard line, Kummer directed a 10-play drive that resulted in a six-yard touchdown scoring pass to Woeste. Kummer went 16-for-36 for 257 yards on the night.
Woeste had eight receptions for 88 yards in the first half alone as the Lancers lead 14-0 at halftime. LaSalle outgained the Panthers 186-77 in total offense in the first half.
The momentum that LaSalle carried into the halftime transferred to Elder early in the third quarter. On LaSalle's fourth play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Kummer threw a pass that was intercepted by junior defensive back Ian Gunn who returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.
On the next Elder possession, the Panthers drove 47 yards on a short field to tie the score 14-14. Ben Gramke threw a 5-yard pass to Ben Coffaro in the end zone for the scoring play.
The score remained tied until early in the fourth quarter when Gramke hooked up with Jeff Vorherr on a 14-yard pass play and Elder led for the first time 21-14.
But LaSalle struck fast to re-tie the game. On its first play of the ensuing possession, Kummer underthrew a pass to Rodriguez Coleman who reached over top of the defender to make the catch and sprinted into the end zone. The 65-yard scoring play made the score 21-21 with 9:37 remaining.
Elder proceeded to chew over seven minutes of clock with a 15-play scoring drive that had Panther fans on the edge of their seats. On third-and-six from the seven-yard line, the entire stadium thought the play call was for Coffaro to run the ball. However, head coach Doug Ramsey called for Gramke to shovel-pass the ball to Josh Friedel who reached the one-yard line for the first down. Two plays later, out of the wildcat formation, Coffaro scored from the one and the Panther were ahead 28-21 with 2:26 remaining. The senior running back carried the ball 41 times for 170 yards rushing.
This gave LaSalle plenty of time to march 78 yards in seven plays to tie the score at 28-28. Kummer, throwing his third touchdown pass of the game, connected with Woeste on a 28-yard pass play with just over a minute remaining. It was Woeste's second touchdown of the game along with having 152 yards on 12 receptions.
Elder had a chance in regulation to win the game. Gramke, who went 17-for-28 passing for 138 yards, was intercepted by Zack Cox as time expired.
The Panthers won the coin flip and elected to play defense to start overtime. The Elder defense rewarded Ramsey with that decision, forcing LaSalle to negative six yards on the drive and caused them to come away with zero points. The final two pass plays were pass breakups by junior Kevin Groll.
Elder's turn on offense in the extra period generated a first down but the drive ultimately stalled on the six-yard line. That is when Elder brought out freshman kicker Matthew Murray to attempt a 24-yard field goal. LaSalle head coach Tom Grippa called timeout in an attempt to freeze the youngster who joined the varsity squad four games into the season. Murray's attempt was perfect and a mob of shirtless students stormed the field in celebration as Elder wins a wild one 31-28 in overtime.
LaSalle's perfect season and outright GCL South title was not meant to be for this season as the Lancers fall to 9-1 overall and 2-1 in the division. The Lancers end up sharing the crown with Moeller. However, when the Ohio playoffs matchups are announced on Sunday, it is believed that the LaSalle will still host a playoff game.
Elder's win improves both its record, to 4-5 overall, and its chance at a playoff berth.