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No place like 'The Nipp' for Moeller

November 11, 2012
Cincinnati Moeller High School

Written by Scott Springer

Though they’ve never really had a “true” home field, Moeller High School is familiar with several venues.

Lockland Stadium is currently their official home field. Before that, the Crusaders played at old Galbraith Field near Kings Island.

However, they’ve always managed to have a game or two at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. In the Gerry Faust/Pat Mancuso era, a Moeller vs. Princeton contest would often pack the home of the Bearcats better than the Bearcats themselves.

Recently, the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown and playoffs have brought the Crusaders to UC.

Their meeting with Lakota East Nov. 10 was therefore nothing new and the Crusaders played that way, thrashing the Thunderhawks 46-20.

Moeller coach John Rodenberg didn’t see that type of convincing win coming.

“They have a pretty good team,” he said. “It’s been a while since we played against the option. We got shook up early, then we came back and got disciplined. It was a good win for us.”

Lakota East held a 7-3 first quarter lead thanks to an opening drive that lasted 8:35.

The second quarter then quickly became the “Keith Watkins Show” as the Northwestern-bound running back scored on runs of 17, 40 and 80 yards to give Moeller a 24-7 halftime lead.

“(The) offensive line made some key blocks,” Watkins said. “I love them to death. I can’t do it without them.”

The lead was so substantial that Watkins, suffering from heat cramps from the Indian summer temperature, didn’t play in the second half. Playing just two quarters, he still raced for 168 yards.

“It was just a heat thing,” Watkins said. “It’s been awhile since we played in the heat. It was just dehydration. I didn’t hydrate enough. I could’ve gone back in, but there really wasn’t any need to.”

Moeller went on to add rushing touchdowns from Joe Eramo, quarterback Spencer Iacovone and back-up Gus Ragland to earn the 26-point win and another chance to play.

“Just keep running it and keep the time off the clock,” Rodenberg said with a smile.

In a game that featured 11 total passes from both teams, Moeller’s Iacovone was 2-3 for 13 yards, but ran 10 times for 95 yards. In a reserve role, senior Joe Eramo had 13 carries for 80 yards.

“We thought we were going to run the ball pretty well,” Iacovone said. “Keith had a really good game and played out of his mind. Somebody plays like that and it’s kind of hard to stop them.”

Iacovone will sign to play baseball with Marshall Nov. 14. He says there is a chance he could double-up and also play football for the Thundering Herd.

The Crusaders face Colerain Nov. 17 back at Nippert Stadium. The Cardinals squeaked by Elder 35-34 in overtime a few hours after Moeller and Lakota East played.

If anything, Moeller’s contest with Lakota East was a good tuneup for the Colerain game as both run similar offenses.

“No doubt!” Rodenberg said. “It’s another option team"


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