By Sean Duffy
Elyria, OH- A huge match up in the Great Lakes Conference as the Buckeye Bucks (1-0) travel to take on conference stalwart Elyria Catholic Panthers (1-1). Both teams are coming off wins in week 3 and will look to secure their place a top the conference and playoff standings. Two hard hitting teams on a crisp September night, it is a recipe for a Great Lakes Conference show down.
The Bucks were first to score thanks to 62 yd TD pass from Buckeye QB Jayden May to Kaymen Marshall, a made extra point gave the Bucks a 7-0 lead with 9:35 left in the first quarter. Elyria Catholic would not be down for long as the would score on their next possession with an 18 yd TD pass from Panther QB Steve Navalinsky to Jack Kenneally, with 8:21 left in the quarter the score was all tied 7-7. The Panther Defense got in on the scoring action as DB Jack Budinger intercepted a Jayden May pass and took it 44 yds for the pick six, a missed extra point had the score 13-7 in favor of the Panthers at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers were deep in Bucks territory to open the second quarter, but the Buckeye defense was able to keep the Panthers out of end zone and took over on downs. Defenses ruled the second quarter as each defensive unit was able to hold each offense out of the end zone for the majority of the quarter. That was until the waning moments of the half when Steve Navalinksy and Jared Frantz connected on a 13 yd TD, a failed two point conversion attempt made the score 19-7 in favor of the Panthers at the half.
The third quarter was dominated by the Panthers as they were able to score two more touchdowns while not allowing Buckeye any opportunities. The first Panther score came on a 7 yd TD run from RB Dominic Stevenson, another failed two point attempt made the score 25-7 Panthers with 5:39 left in the third. Panthers would intercept May for a second time and return the ball 40 yds, setting the offense up on the Bucks 25 yd line. Two plays later Navalinsky would connect with RB Levi Ellis for a 20 yd TD pass, Ellis would also convert the two point attempt. At the end of the 3rd quarter Elyria Catholic held a comanding 33-7 lead.
The Fourth Quarter featured an impressive defensive effort by both teams, each teams defense had goal line stands. Buckeye would find the end zone late in the game on a 17 yd TD pass from Jayden May to Bucks TE (and recent SOT Guest) Griffin Mitchell. Unfortunately for the visiting Bucks it was too little too late as the final score was 33-14 in favor of the Elyria Catholic Panthers.
Buckeye falls to 1-1 on the year and will look to rebound in week 5 as they play host to Parma Valley Forge (1-0).
The Elyria Catholic Panthers improve to 2-1 on the season and were led by QB Steve Navalinsky who had 3 TD passes on the night. The player(s) of the game is the defensive unit of the Panthers who’s highlights included 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD and a forced fumble. Elyria Catholic will go on the road in a Week 5 match up against Lakewood (0-4).