September 2, 2014

Elyria
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High school football: Elyria Catholic uses big third quarter to pull away from Bay

BAY VILLAGE — It took a day, but the Panthers finally finished off Bay.

Elyria Catholic scored 21 points in the third quarter Saturday and put Bay out of reach en route to a 38-6 victory in the West Shore Conference opener for both teams.

The game was suspended due to lightning Friday at the 10:04 mark. The Panthers led 10-0 at the time.

Jeremy Holley torched the Bay (0-4) defense for most of the game. He compiled 266 yards on 16-of-30 passing. The senior, however, threw interceptions on his first two drives Saturday.

“When you make mistakes you have to bounce back and I felt like we did bounce back in the second half,” Holley said. “Those were on me and I felt like I kept them in the game.”

Elyria Catholic’s (2-2) bounce-back plan was to hand the ball to Justin Rankin. He only needed four carries to go 80 yards for a touchdown to put the Panthers up 17-0. The score was set up by a 63-yard run in which he broke a number of tackles.

“I just keep my legs moving all the time,” Rankin said. “I don’t stop them moving, break out of tackles and that’s about it.”

Rankin finished with 251 total yards, 154 on the ground. Most of his receiving total came on Holley’s last completion of the game — one Rankin he took 91 yards to the end zone after evading three defenders who seemed to have him locked up at his own 20.

The score put the Panthers up 38-0.

Bay’s only score came when the game was well in hand with 10:29 to play.

“I think our defense has really been a strong asset for the first part of the season,” EC coach Mike Polevacik said. “We’re really getting better the last couple games. Since Elyria High we’ve improved. We’ve been getting a lot of sacks and a lot of tackles for loss. We do a good job of slicing and playing gap responsibility.”

If there was one negative for the Panthers it was their nine penalties for 115 yards. Most of those flags came in the fourth quarter, including one on a Rankin punt return that would have resulted in a 71-yard touchdown, but was called back due to an illegal block. There were actually three illegal blocks called on the play.

“I felt like the refs were trying to contain things at the end and not let things get chippy,” Polevacik said. “I don’t think the refs did a bad job at all. It was a good job by the refs to make sure everyone kept their cool and things didn’t get out of hand.”

FIRST POINTS: Sophomore Becky Horvath attempted three extra-point kicks and hit them all, converting her first points of her varsity career. “It was very nerve-racking,” Horvath said. “I like when he tells me right before I have to kick, that way I don’t have time to think about it. That way I can just go out and kick it and not have anything run through my mind.”

Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.