Elder advances over Lakota West

WEST PRICE HILL, Ohio – The #4 Elder Panthers used a trick play to start the game, setting the tone for a 42-17 first round playoff win over the #5 seed Lakota West Firebirds at The Pit.

Elder won the coin toss and like many teams decided to defer to the second half. As the Panthers setup to kickoff to Lakota West what came next shocked just about everyone in attendance. Sam Harmeyer executes a perfect on-sides kick that was recovered by the Panthers near midfield.

With Lakota West still reeling, the high powered Elder offense marched down the field. Quarterback Matthew Luebbe, who got the Panthers into the red zone with a 36-yard dash, finished off the possession with a two-yard score to take a 7-0 lead.

The Firebirds looked to still be rattled when they took over on offense and were forced into a quick three-and-out possession. Luebbe again turned the opportunity into points, this time with a five-yard scoring run.

Lakota West was down 14-0 before they realized what had hit them.

The Elder offense was not about to let up. Just over one minute into the second quarter Cooper Johnson pounded the ball into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Panthers a convincing 21-0 advantage.

After each team traded punts Lakota West looked to have settled down and put together its best drive of the night. Despite failing to get into the end zone, the Firebirds came away with points after a nine-play possession. Josh Laine kicked a 32-yard field goal putting Lakota West on the scoreboard with 1:16 left before halftime.

Elder got the ball back and Lakota West used its timeouts to stop the clock in an effort to get the ball back for one last possession before the intermission. This strategy backfired as Luebbe threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Evan Vollmer as time expired in the half and the Panthers went into the locker room ahead 28-3.

As it turned out, that was the knockout blow despite a valiant effort put up by the Firebirds.

Aden Miller scored on a 10-yard rushing touchdown for Lakota West in the third quarter but Vollmer answered with his second touchdown of the game. Vollmer caught four passes on the night for a game-high 81 yards.

Luebbe was impressive for Elder once again on this night. The Elder quarterback who passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 during the season did not disappoint the home crowd in this last career game at The Pit. Luebbe ran for 103 yards and threw for 118 on 11-for-15 passing and two touchdowns.

The win was a nice bounce back for Elder who fell to the #4 seed in the Division I, Region 4 playoff seedings after a loss last week to LaSalle. The Panthers will face GCL South rival and #1 seed St. Xavier next week after the Bombers came from behind to defeat #8 seed Mason at home.


Lakota West 0-3-7-7 – 17

Elder 14-14-7-7 – 42


E – Matthew Luebbe 1-yard TD run (Sam Harmeyer kick)

E – Matthew Luebbe 5-yard TD run (Sam Harmeyer kick)

E – Cooper Johnson 2-yard TD run (Sam Harmeyer kick)

LW – Josh Laine 32-yard field goal

E – Evan Vollmer 53-yard TD catch for Matthew Luebbe (Sam Harmeyer kick)

LW – Aden Miller 10-yard TD run (Josh Laine kick)

E – Evan Vollmer 15-yard TD catch for Matthew Luebbe (Sam Harmeyer kick)

E – Joseph Cantania 1-yard TD run (Sam Harmeyer kick)

LW – Caleb Rao 12-yard TD catch from Mitch Bolden (Josh Laine kick)

RECORDS: Lakota West (7-4, 6-2); Elder (9-2, 2-1)

UP NEXT: #4 Elder will face the winner of #1 St. Xavier at a neutral site to be determined

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