We can all take a breath now
In one of the wildest state finals ever, Gus Ragland of Cincinnati Moeller threw for three touchdowns, ran for FIVE more, and the Crusaders of Cincinnati Moeller hung on for dear life and defeated Mentor 55-52 in the Division I state championship game.
Many expected a shootout....no one expected this kind of scoring frenzy
Both of them put on a show
After Moeller took a 7-0 lead on a 37 yard pass from Ragland to Isaiah Gentry, Mentor fumbled a punt, giving Moeller the ball back at their own 43 yard line. On their first play, Ragland found Chase Pankey down the right sideline, extending the Mentor lead to 13-0. It would be the first of six straight Moeller possessions where they would score a touchdown.
Mentor responded by going 91 yards in 8 plays with Krizancic taking it in from nine yards out cutting the Moeller lead to 13-7. After Moeller fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Mentor cashed in on a 25 yard field goal by Mike Muzic.
Then the fun really started
10 yard run by Ragland Moeller 20-10. 3 yard run by Eddie Dougherty Moeller 20-17. 36 yard pass from Ragland to Gentry Moeller 27-17. 8 yard run by Krizancic Moeller 27-24. Finally, a 3 yard run by Ragland with 25 seconds left to go in the half Moeller 34-24.
The question going into the half was.....Was either team going to stop the other?
Moeller came out in the third quarter wanting to end things. After recovering a Mentor fumble, Ragland ran 70 yards for a touchdown stretching the Moeller lead to 41-23. Mentor was able to get on the board on their next drive, with Muzic kicking a 30 yard field goal cutting the lead to 41-26. Ragland responded with a one yard run and Moeller took a 48-26 lead into the fourth quarter.
Mentor had been here before. They rallied last season to beat St. Edward after being down 21 points in the fourth quarter. Would the Cardinals have another miracle in them?
Starting from their own 32 yard line, Krizancic and the Cardinal offense went to work. He hit Daugherty from 8 yards out. Moeller 48-32. After recovering an onside kick, Mentor reached into their bag of tricks. Taking an inside handoff from Krizancic, Daugherty stopped a lofted a 44 yard tuchdown pass to Cory Plavcan. Moeller 48-38.
The Mentor defense then did something they hadn't done in a while....they stopped Moeller
Taking over at their own 13 yard line, the Cardinals inched even closer when Krizancic took it in from 5 yards out, and the Cardinals were within 3 points at 48-45 with 4:15 left in the game.
Then, the play of the game
Facing a third and 13 from the Mentor 34 yard line, and with the Cardinals in desperate need of a stop, Ragland struck again. He found Gentry on a 'Hitch and Go" route down the left sideline all the way down to the Mentor 6 yard line. Two plays later, Ragland was in the endzone again on a three yard run. Moeller 55-45. Taking over with just over two minutes left and at their own 33 yard line, Mentor wasn't quite dead yet. Krizancic to Dougherty again from 3 yards out with 55 seconds remaining. Moeller 55-52. Mentor's furious rally finally ended when the onside kick they had to recover was kicked out of bounds, ending the Cardinals dream of their first ever state championship.
The final offensive numbers were pretty staggering:
- Gus Ragland of Moeller was 12-13 passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 26 times for 189 yards and five touchdowns
- Moeller's Isaiah Gentry caught seven passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns
- Moeller racked up 550 yards of total offense
- Connor Krizancic of Mentor finished 36-55 for 419 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 20 times for 102 yards
- Mentor's Eddie Dougherty set a state record with 18 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns
- Brandon Fritts and Cory Plavcan of Mentor both finished with over 100 yards receiving
- Mentor racked up 586 yards of total offense
It was quite a year for the Mentor Cardinals. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They just ran into a team that was just a wee bit better than they were today.