John Rodenberg’s message to his Moeller football team was simple after a particularly difficult loss on Saturday.
Rodenberg and the Crusaders had just watched Lakewood St. Edward reel off four unanswered touchdowns in 15:17 of the game to roar back from a 42-21 deficit and steal a 49-42 win at Lockland’s Roettger Stadium.
“We’ll be alright,” the Moeller coach said when asked what he told his team after the game. “These are good teams we’re playing. (The Eagles) were 8-0. The team we’re playing next week (Louisville Trinity) is 9-0. We’re still in position to do something in the playoffs.”
Moeller was ranked No. 4 in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches poll and second in the Division I Region 4 computer standings.
Senior running back Dwayne Aaron completed St. Edward’s comeback with a 26-yard touchdown run with 4:21 left in the game. Aaron gained 250 yards and scored four touchdowns on 36 carries and senior quarterback Ryan Fallon was 16-of-30 for 259 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles (9-0), who went into the game ranked No. 2 behind St. Ignatius in the Associated Press Division I statewide media poll and in the Plain Dealer rating and leading the Division I Region 1 computer ratings.
Senior quarterback Spencer Iacovone scored two touchdowns on the ground and threw for a third and senior running back Keith Watkins gained 175 yards and scored a touchdown for the Crusaders (6-3), who could manage just 103 yards of total offense in the second half after piling up 246 in the first half. St. Edward finished with 548 yards of total offense.
Rodenberg credited St. Edward defensive adjustments with holding his Crusaders to 82 yards rushing in the second half after they racked up 261 on the ground in the first half.
“We were able to run the ball in the first half, and we couldn’t in the second half,” Rodenberg said.
St. Edward went into the game ranked No. 2 behind Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Associated Press Division I statewide media poll and No. 1 in the Division I Region 1 computer ratings.
Iacovone scored two touchdowns and threw for a third and senior linebacker Kaleb Nypaver returned an interception 67 yards for another score as Moeller was building a 35-21 halftime lead.
Watkins gained 124 yards and scored a touchdown on just seven carries in the first half.
Aaron scored two touchdowns and gained 137 yards on 20 carries before halftime for St. Edward.
The most points previously scored against St. Edward was the 28 by Elder in a 42-28 loss to the Eagles at Elder on Sept. 15.
The two teams combined for 572 yards of total offense in the first half.
After the Crusaders widened their lead to 42-21, the Eagles started their comeback with Fallon’s 17-yard pass to senior wide receiver Anthony Young with 3:17 left in the third quarter following Abounader’s interception. They tied the score on Fallon’s 13-yard pass to Young after sophomore Shaun Crawford partially blocked a Moeller punt.
Lakewood St. Edward 7 14 14 14 – 49
Moeller 7 28 7 0 – 42
SE – Crawford 53 pass from Fallon (Marsilio kick)
M – Ragland 10 pass from Iacovone (Reiniger kick)
M – Iacovone 24 run (Reiniger kick)
SE – Aaron 5 run (Marsilio kick)
M – Iacovone 6 run (Reiniger kick)
M – Nypaver 67 interception return (Reiniger kick)
SE – Aaron 16 run (Marsilio kick)
M – Watkins 1 run (Reiniger kick)
M – Ragland 3 run (Reiniger kick)
SE – Young 17 pass from Fallon (Marsilio kick)
SE – Aaron 7 run (Marsilio kick)
SE – Young 13 pass from Fallon (Marsilio kick)
SE – Aaron 26 run (Marsilio kick)
Records: SE 9-0, M 6-3.