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Moeller 3 Sport Star Has Crusaders in Regional Final

November 30, 2013
Cincinnati Moeller High School

By Mike Dyer, Cincinnati Enquirer

Moeller 3 Sport Star Has Crusaders in Regional Final

The footwork and high jump exercises usually don’t take more than three minutes to complete. But, the routine hasn’t graduated since the first grade.  Even when Moeller quarterback Gus Ragland arrives home tired after a practice during his senior year, he knows better than to veer from some tasks he started while a student at Madeira Elementary School.

Dan Ragland, a Moeller teacher of 35 years, helped set up some of the exercises for his son. Superstition or tradition, the workout is strictly adhered two nights before a football game.  With thin piece of plywood under an area rug, Dan places two pieces of tape about three inches apart. Gus will jump back and forth on each foot as fast as he can without touching the ground.  Gus, 18, completes 40 jumps on his right foot and 40 on his left; there is also a wrist exercise which strengthens his forearms and fingertips.

The exercises have been completed the past four weeks on a Thursday and the Ragland family hopes one more is in the offing next week.  What also gives Gus some additional bounce is a high jump exercise in which two chairs support a rope about two to three feet off the ground and the quarterback jumps over it 40 times.  “I just felt if you play any type of sport, you’ve got to have good feet,” said Dan, who teaches math at the school.  “I don’t know if it works but he’s been religious with it since the first grade.”

Accountability is in the nature of the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder. Gus, who was named after Robert Duvall’s character in the 1989 TV mini-series Lonesome Dove, played running back from fourth to eighth grade for the St. Gertrude Parish program.  Ragland was a quarterback his freshman and sophomore seasons at Moeller and elevated to varsity his junior year as a receiver on the state championship team in 2012. Ragland had 414 yards receiving and five touchdowns as a receiver last season. He also rushed for four touchdowns.

Ragland was also a pitcher on the Moeller 2013 state champion baseball team, and also plays basketball.  “Gus is an outstanding leader at Moeller High School,” said Moeller baseball coach Tim Held. “That is evident through his election to our student government, playing three sports and taking some really tough classes. I would say his best athletic qualities are his toughness and his love of competition.”  Nothing seems to rattle Ragland on the field or the court. His effort and commitment has earned the respect of his coaches.

“He always has a smile on his face and he gets along well with everyone and that helps to make his transition from sport to sport so easy,” Held said.  The aspirations to take snaps in the Crusaders’ uniform on the varsity level were evident from an early age for Ragland.  “I wanted to be the Moeller quarterback,” Ragland said. “It was pretty set in stone that I was coming to Moeller. It was either that or sleep in the shed in my back yard.”

Moeller coach John Rodenberg said Ragland could’ve easily started for most teams in the city as a quarterback his junior year. Rodenberg expected success for his senior this season, but not to the extent it has happened.  “Right now he is kind of on auto-pilot,” Rodenberg said. “I will say this: He doesn’t mind having (the ball) in his hands.” 

Ragland was named the Associated Press Southwest District Division I offensive player of the year last week.  He has thrown for 1,726 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,357 yards and 25 touchdowns.  “One of the best all around football players in Ohio,” said Mark Porter, director of ScoutingOhio.com. “Gus Ragland has proved he can run it, throw it or catch it over the past two seasons and is a huge reason for Moeller’s success.”

Moeller (12-1), the reigning Division I state champion, plays Hilliard Davidson (13-0) in a Region 2 final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. The regional final is also known as the state semifinals in Division I starting this year.  And while the stats are clearly impressive, Ragland is staying patient with the college recruiting process and is hopeful opportunities will arrive soon.

Ragland, who has a 3.6 grade-point average, would like to study engineering and possibly be a mechanical engineer one day. He is receiving interest from Ivy League programs.  “If Ragland was a stock I would be buying it now because when the season is over and college coaches see him in action his stock will skyrocket,” Porter said.



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