From Ragland to Riches
December 8, 2013By Robert Ebel of Cincinnati Moeller High School
By Scott Springer, Community Press
From Ragland to Riches
CANTON — It would be easy to overlook Moeller High School’s return to the Division I state football finals with, “Oh, they’re always there.”
While that might be the impression to an outsider, Crusader fans know that 2012’s state championship was the first since 1985. For perspective, 72-year-old Reds legend Pete Rose had just broken Ty Cobb’s all-time baseball hit record that year.
In Moeller’s “heyday,” coach Gerry Faust won back-to-back-to-back state titles between 1975-77. Before leaving for Notre Dame, he won again in consecutive years in 1979-80. After that, coach Steve Klonne won titles in 1982 and 1985.
This year, again with Klonne on his staff of talented assistants, coach John Rodenberg joined Faust as the only Moeller coach to make two straight title games.Rodenberg’s Crusaders held off Mentor 55-52 to travel south with their second state trophy in as many years.
“I don’t even worry about things like that,” Rodenberg said. “I just think our kids did such a great job. It’s all about the kids. It’s a special group.” The blue and gold never trailed after jumping out to a 13-0 lead on first quarter deep balls to senior Isaiah Gentry and junior Chase Pankey from senior quarterback Gus Ragland.
Mentor cut it to three twice as quarterback and UC commit Conner Krizancic led the Cardinals on scoring drives with his passing and scrambling. However, Moeller’s Ragland was equally as talented with his arm and feet as the Crusaders answered back with either No. 14 scoring or finding Kent State commit Gentry alone again (naturally).
Krizancic cut it to three for a final time with :44 remaining, hitting Eddie Daugherty from three yards out for his second touchdown toss of the game. At 55-52, Mentor then attempted an onside kick that went out of bounds, allowing Moeller to knee the ball out for the victory.
Both signal callers lived up to their billing. Krizancic ran for 102 yards and three scores and was 36-55 passing for 419 yards and two scores. Ragland had the game of a lifetime with 189 yards rushing for five touchdowns to go along with a 12-13 passing night for 273 yards and three scores.
“I owe it all to the guys up front,” Ragland said. “They played a great game and our receivers did their jobs. I had eight touchdowns but everyone put me in position to be successful.”
There’s not much rest for Ragland ahead. Carl Kremer’s Moeller basketball team will use him and they play Dec. 13 at Taft. Come March, the redhead chucks the small ball from the mound for the defending state champions of Tim Held.
“Every team has a Gus Ragland,” Rodenberg said. “Gus was there for us tonight and got some big plays. I’m proud of the whole team.”