The La Salle Lancers continued their magical season on Friday night adding another win to resume.
But it wasn't just another win.
La Salle handed the Moeller Crusaders a 31-21 loss and took the next step to their goal at season's beginning: a Greater Catholic League South Title. In conjunction with the victory over Moeller, who was previously unbeaten in league play, the Lancers earn at least a share of the division championship and now control their own destiny. With a win in week 10 over Elder, the Lancers will wrap up their first-ever outright league title.
With so much riding on Friday night's contest, emotions ran high from the get-go, and it looked like they might get in the way. Just minutes into the game, a Lancer personal foul penalty marched Moeller right into La Salle territory and the Crusaders cashed in on a Tucker Skove one-yard run to give them an early lead. La Salle battled back and evened the score at seven as quarterback Andrew Kummer handed off to Matt Farrell for a 16-yard score. The two teams then traded another pair of touchdowns, both aided by defensive pass interference penalties.
--Postgame: Drew Kummer, LaSalle
--Postgame: Matt Farrell, LaSalle
La Salle's special teams would give the Lancers the lead with about six minutes left in the second quarter. Following a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kummer to Rodriguez Coleman, La Salle kicker Alex Shuster placed the kickoff in no-man's land and the Lancers were able to recover. La Salle took advantage of the opportunity with a 34-yard field goal to go up 17-14. From there on out, the Lancers settled down, played their game and didn't look back.
"Before the game we thought we were the better team, and we knew we were the better team. We played like we were the better team," Kummer said. "It started sinking in during halftime. I started thinking if we don't turn the ball over, we're going to win."
In the second half, La Salle tightened up and didn't help the Moeller offense move the ball with unnecessary penalties. Farrell came out of the locker room and took advantage of the Crusader defense igniting the La Salle offense as the running back helped the Lancers drive downfield for two more scores. Farrell finished with 70 yards rushing on 20 carries and caught four key passes for another 96 yards while scoring two touchdowns.
"Passing really started working in the first half, so they started guarding our receivers with their linebackers," Farrell said. "I was able to get out on the flares pretty easy. That definitely helped me to get open."
Moeller tried to jump right back in this game, and nearly did as Tucker Skove sliced his way through the La Salle defense. His third touchdown of the night put the Crusaders within three points, a five-yard run with 1:24 left in the third quarter. But it wasn't enough as the Lancer offense proved too much for Moeller.
Kummer, who finished 16-of-30 for 256 yards, provided an immediate answer to the Moeller score when he found Coleman in the end zone with 10:57 left to play. The 30-yard touchdown pass stretched the La Salle lead back to 10 points.
As time ticked away in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders were desperate for a big play leading to two late interceptions by seniors Zak Cox and Ben Ingle. The interceptions enabled the Lancers to run out the clock and pandemonium ensued.
If Kummer has anything to do with it, this won't be the last time they're celebrating on North Bend Road.
"We definitely want to win these next two games, go 10-0 and win the GCL Title outright. Then we'll see what we can do in the playoffs. "
Written by: Katie Budke, TriStateFootball.com