The Elder Panthers showed off a high-powered passing offense and a stifling second-half rushing defense today on national television as they beat Colerain 20-7.
Elder got on the board first when kicker Tony Miliano made his first of two field goals with :12 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
However, Colerain answered right back with a 23-yard touchdown courtesy of fullback Trayion Durham with 9:17 left in the first half. The Cardinals saw six of their rushing plays go for 20 or more yards in the first half, but that touchdown would be their first and last as Elder's defense was dominant the rest of the game.
Elder was able to regain their lead on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Mark Miller to wide receiver Selby Chidemo with :20 seconds left in the half. The touchdown gave Elder the momentum heading into the locker rooms and they continued it into the second half as they got the ball first. Junior Ben Coffaro reeled off a 53-yard return on the opening kick of the second half starting Elder's drive at the Colerain 45.
That was all Miller and the offense needed as just a minute and twenty-seven seconds into the half they extended their lead to 17-7 with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tim O'Conner.
"We needed that," Elder Coach Doug Ramsey said. "We had some opportunities early on offense that we didn't take advantage of and then scored that last drive and then Coffaro's kickoff return let us score right away. I think that really changed the momentum of the game."
The Elder defense then finished the game from there on out stifling the Cardinals' triple-option attack repeatedly. The combination of Elder's stingy defense and the Cardinals running low on time forced them to try and take their offense to the air where they saw virtually no success. Colerain's offense finished the game 4 of 14 passing for only 25 yards.
Miliano added another field goal, this time from 37-yards out, with 11:48 left in the game and the Panthers never looked back.
Elder's offense was fairly one dimensional today as Miller was 19 of 27 for 225-yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and their running game was only able to muster 45-yards on 30 carries.
"We think we can do anything on anybody," said Miller. "If they shut us down in one spot then we'll pick them up with the other. It's just a good team effort."
Elder receivers O'Conner, Coffaro and Chidemo all had big days in the passing game. O' Conner had six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, Coffaro had eight catches for 91 yards including a long of 39-yards and Chidemo had three catches for 32 yards and a score.
"That is about as good of an offense as you're going to see anywhere," Colerain Coach Tom Bolden said. "Our defense played exceptional. We put them in the one bad spot with the turnover early in the game and then again on the opening kickoff (in the second half). The defense didn't play bad at all."
Colerain had success rushing the ball early with Tabar and Durham as they ran for 105-yards and 98-yards respectively, but they weren't able to move the ball effectively in the second half.
There was only one turnover in the entire game and that came on the second play from scrimmage when Tabar and halfback Tyler Williams mishandled the exchange on the option, setting up Elder's first touchdown.
With the loss, Colerain drops to 0-2 for the first time since 1985, while Elder moves on to 2-0 and keeps their home-game winning streak alive at 15 games dating back to the 2006 season.
"I got chills when we walked down here," Miller said. "Walking down here, seeing 13,000 plus people, it's just the biggest rush ever."