By Sean Duffy
North Olmsted, OH – The 2022 Regular Season is winding down, wins are at a premium for Conference championships. The Great Lakes Conference West Division is coming down to the wire to see who will play the East Division Top Team in the week 10 de facto Conference Championship. Our Feature Game will likely decide who will represent the West in that game. The Elyria Catholic Panthers (6-1,3-0) coming off a big win in week 7 over Westlake face the North Olmsted Eagles (5-2, 3-0). The winner controls its own destiny for the Great Lakes Conference West Division.
Elyria Catholic would draw first blood in the contest thanks to a 44 yd TD Run by Senior RB Levi Ellis. The Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Panthers defense had a very simple yet effect strategy in dealing with the high-powered Eagles offense, that plan was to pressure QB Xavier Baulson all night, and blanket coverage on WR Jared Kelly. At the end of the first quarter Elyria Catholic led 7-0.
The Panthers would continue to cause chaos in the Eagles backfield, sacking Baulson multiple times. The Panther defense would even score on a 25 yd scoop and score by Collin Doud.
Elyria Catholic would add to its lead thanks to a 39 yd TD pass from QB Hector Garcia IV to WR Connor Petrus. The panthers would take a 21-0 lead at the half.
The Panthers would continue to suffocate the Eagles offense to start the third quarter forcing a quick three and out. The panthers would then go on to further extend their lead with a 14 yd TD pass from QB Brady Cook to WR Tony Grasso. Elyria Catholic led 28-0 at the end of the third quarter.
North Olmsted finally put points on board early in the fourth quarter, Xavier Baulson would connect with WR Collin Willard for a 5 yd TD pass.
The Eagles would recover the onside kick on the very next play and score immediately after that as Baulson would connect with Jared Kelly for a 47 yd TD pass. North Olmsted cut the lead 28-14 with 10:53 remaining in the game.
Elyria Catholic would settle things down thanks to bulldozing 37 yd TD Run by Levi Ellis, his second TD run of the night. Panthers led 35-14 with 7:46 remaining in the game.
Levi Ellis was not done for the night, as he would score on the defensive side of the ball with an 18 yd scoop and score for his third TD of the night. Panthers led 42-14 with 6:55 remaining in the game.
North Olmsted would convert an excellent kickoff return to a TD pass from Baulson to Willard for their second TD connection of the night. Panthers led 42-21 with 6:01 remaining in the game. A failed onside kick and a Panther first down allowed Elyria Catholic to secure the 42-21 road victory.
North Olmsted falls to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Great Lakes Conference West Division. The Eagles were led offensively by QB Xavier Baulson who had 3 passing TDs on the night., Collin Willard had 2 TD receptions, and Jared Kelly had a TD Reception. North Olmsted will look to rebound in Week 9 as they travel to Rocky River.
Elyria Catholic Improves to 7-1 over and 4-0 in the Great Lakes Conference West Division. The Panthers were led offensively by Levi Ellis who had 2 rushing TDs and 1 defensive TD on the night. QBs Brady Cook and Hector Garcia IV each had a TD pass on the night, one to Drew Petrus and Tony Grasso respectively. Elyria Catholic is now in first place in the GLC West and will look to maintain that in Week 9 as they host Bay Village.