July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Catholic wins big, still sees room for improvement

ELYRIA — Quarterback Cody Schuster said he doesn’t think the Elyria Catholic football team is where it ought to be. Coach Ben Malbasa agreed.
Really?
This was in the aftermath of the Panthers’ 42-6 thrashing of Southview in non-conference action Friday night at Knights of Columbus Field. So if they’re not where they need to be, then where should they be headed?
Schuster said something about contending for the Division IV state championship, a noble enough goal. But the playoffs are weeks down the road. Malbasa’s assessment was a little closer at hand.
“We need to be ready for Norwalk St. Paul next week and we have a way to go to get there,” he said.
For the Panthers (2-0), the perennially strong Flyers will be a good test. They’ve been state runners-up several times in recent seasons and some say they’re the team to beat for the Division VI crown this year. A week from now, the Panthers will have a little better idea of where they stand.
They stood tall on Friday.
Schuster completed 7 of 9 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. One of the TD passes was to Pat Flanagan and covered 56 yards. And Flanagan, who shows up incongruously as having rushed for minus-13 yards on three carries, added another long-distance touchdown when he returned Southview’s second-half kickoff 88 yards down the left sideline.
“We wanted to come out strong the second half and I guess we did that,” Flanagan said.
Speaking of long-distance scores, EC’s Richie Baker also joined the fun, on two long passes from Schuster. The first of these covered 71 yards early in the second quarter and the other on a 68-yarder that treated the Panthers to a 35-6 lead at the half.
The Panthers’ Jayson Graham set the tone when he ran the final 3 yards of EC’s first drive, which covered 69 yards in seven plays less than halfway through the first quarter. And Nick Betka, a 205-pound lineman, blasted in from a yard out late in the first half.
Bottom line: EC scored touchdowns on six of its first seven possessions and junior Vince Scarpelli kicked the extra points after each.
Southview, which lost its 23rd in a row, avoided a shutout when sophomore Rick Earl ran 43 yards for a touchdown.
“For them to score on a play like that and for us to fight back like we did says a lot about our team,” said Schuster.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.