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Over the past decade plus Moeller has seen its peers St. Xavier, Elder and Colerain have great success on the gridiron. It’s not as if things have been bad in Montgomery as the Crusaders have racked up a state-high 10 straight Division I playoff appearances, but there isn’t a regional title to enjoy with their prosperity.
This could very easily be the year that this program gets back to the glory days of years past with an explosive offense and elite level talent at a myriad of positions.
We take an in-depth look at the 2012 edition of the Crusaders:
2011 RECORD: 9-4, 3-0 GCL South, Region 4 Regional Runner-up
COACHING: This will be John Rodenberg’s fifth year at the helm for Moeller and you can already see where his emphasis has been felt. The coach has made it known that you when with size up front and top-notch athletes doing the work behind them. As good as eight wins a year looks on his resume, the alumni expects more out of this program. Rodenberg will remain steadfast in his approach and if the fans just exercise some patience and common sense they will see that they hired the right man for the job.
OFFENSE: There is no doubt that Moeller’s strength will be their offense. On the line the talented Alex Gall and Chris Henke are the cornerstones of a massive group. Quarterback Spencer Iacavone threw for a GCL best 1,976 yards, ran for another 579 and while accounting for 33 touchdowns as a junior. Running back Keith Watkins proved he can do just about everything with 687 yards rushing, 24 receptions, 1,151 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns a year ago. Replacing two high quality receivers will be tough, but a stable of young athletes waiting in the wings will get their shot at being contributors.
DEFENSE: Shane Jones headlines the marquee for the Crusaders defense, but it is the supporting cast that has many questions that need to be answered. This team was driven by senior defensive captains a year ago. Filling in the blanks that they left behind is going to be the coaching staff’s biggest battle. Jones will be given the green light to make plays all over the field but that will be all for not if Moeller doesn’t get a push up front. Look for Jimmy Rodenberg to have a big senior campaign at linebacker.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The loss of placekicker/punter Nick Palopoli is a huge void that Moeller needs to fill. Having a strong kicking game is a must for a deep post-season run. Watkins was named First-Team All-TrisTateFootball.com as a return specialist in 2011. It is imperative that he gets his hands on the ball for and create good field position for the offense.
Aug. 25 – TBA (Skyline Crosstown Showdown - TBA
Aug. 31 – TBA - TBA
Sep. 8 – @Detroit Central Catholic – 2:00 p.m.
Sep. 14 – @Louisville St. Xavier - 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 21 – @St. Xavier - 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 28 – @LaSalle - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 – ELDER - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 – @Indianapolis Cathedral - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 – ST. EDWARD - 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 – LOUISVILLE TRINITY - 7:30 p.m.
FINAL TAKE: Rodenberg’s squad will be fine offensively. The difference between Moeller being good or great will be their ability to stop the run. The Crusaders allowed 860 yards rushing (286.7/game) in three playoff tilts last season. With some many new faces amongst their front seven on defense that is a tall order to ask, but definitely a well-worthy goal to try and get accomplished in 2012.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.