Bluebirds Hope to Build on Bright Spots for Rest of Season
|PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands junior offensive lineman Conner Barton (72) sets up to block Moeller sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Martin (94).|
Two plays kept this one from a shut-out and hitting the running clock late in the non-district football game in a 50-14 Cincinnati Moeller Crusaders (3-6 overall) win over the host Highlands Bluebirds (3-5) on Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.
The first one came in the second quarter with the Bluebirds trailing 27-0 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Dominic Robinson took a Moeller kickoff about 90 yards for a touchdown.
The second one came with 3:41 left in the first half. Sophomore linebacker Sam Robinson intercepted a Crusader pass at the Highlands 48 and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore kicker Davis Burleigh hit both extra-point attempts.
"We showed some glimpses with some big plays," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "It was nice for those to happen. We just have to keep finding more ways to get more guys to make plays like that."
The question mark of Moeller motivation level came with a resounding high on the first possession when the Crusaders completed a pass to the left sideline and took it 55 yards for a touchdown. The Crusaders built the 26-0 lead with 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
Moeller Head Coach Mark Elder said this was the last game for the Crusaders. The Ohio High School Athletic Association let teams play six games during the regular season before letting everyone into the playoffs unlike before. Once eliminated from the playoffs, teams could play an extra four games through Nov. 14. But many decided not to play again after playoff elimination.
Elder is the fourth head coach in four years for Moeller, who has nine state championships in school history with the most recent one coming in 2013. The Crusaders lost to Greater Catholic League rival Cincinnati St. Xavier in the second round of the Division I playoffs two weeks ago.
For the third straight game, the opposing offensive line dominated the trenches against the Highlands 3-5 defense even though the Bluebirds stunted like crazy again. The Crusaders hit the running clock with 8:23 left in the game. All Weinrich could say about the Moeller offensive line is they are good.
Offensively, Highlands could not move the ball against the Moeller 4-3 defense unlike the previous two losses during the three-game losing streak against Covington Catholic and Cooper. The Bluebirds put up just 95 yards of total offense with just three through the air.
"Our guys fought hard to the end," Weinrich said. "We play a lot of young guys to start. By the end of the night, we were playing a lot of young guys. It is what it is."
Highlands sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon ran for 53 yards on 17 carries for an average of just more than three yards per carry. Noon also completed 3-of-15 passes for three yards and an interception.
Highlands is 0-4 in school history against Moeller. The other meetings came in the 1990s.
The Bluebirds travel to Campbell County (2-5) for a make-up rivalry game on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.