Ragland leads Moeller to another Division I title

BRAD BOURNIVAL Associated Press Published:

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Quarterback Gus Ragland ran for five touchdowns and threw for three more to lead Cincinnati Moeller to the Ohio Division I state championship with a 55-52 win over Mentor Saturday at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

The Associated Press' co-offensive player of the year tied the Division I state championship record for rushing touchdowns as Moeller (14-1) won its second consecutive title and ninth overall. He threw for 273 yards and rushed for 189.

It's the first time a school has won back-to-back championships in Division I since Cincinnati Elder did it in 2002-03 and the third time the Crusaders have done it (1979-80, 1975-77).

"My performance is kind of getting blown out of proportion. I owe it all to the guys up front, and the athletes around me," Ragland said. "When you have talent like that, it's easy to be a good quarterback."

Mentor quarterback Conner Krizancic, the other co-offensive player of the year, set D-I championship marks for passing yards and completions. He was 36-of-55 for 419 yards and two touchdowns.

"I thought it was a great football game," said Moeller coach John Rodenberg. "We knew playing Mentor it would be a shootout. I think (Mentor Coach Steve) Trivisonno has a great offensive mind.

"They're so well-coached. We knew we had to score points. It turned out to be one heck of a game. You feel sorry for Mentor, but I'm proud of our guys. We ended up on the winning side."

Moeller led 48-26 after the third quarter, but Mentor scored two touchdowns in the first 36 seconds of the fourth quarter. Krizancic rushed for a 3-yard touchdown with 4 minutes, 12 seconds left and an extra point cut Moeller's lead to three.

Ragland scored the eventual game-winning touchdown, which tied the D-I rushing championship touchdown record set by Davidson's Bo Delande in 2006, with 2:13 left.

Krizancic threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Daugherty with 44 seconds left, but the Cardinals' ensuing onside kick went out of bounds Daugherty (18 catches, 164 yards, 2 TDs) set an all-division mark for receptions in a state final.

"That's what you get in these type of games, great offenses that are hard to stop," Trivisonno said. "(Ragland is) just a great player, and did as nice of a job as he's done all year. He wasn't the co-player of the year for nothing."

The 107 points that Mentor (13-2) and Moeller scored were the most in a D-I final, eclipsing the 71 by Hilliard Davidson and Moeller in 2006.

The Crusaders and Cardinals set D-I state finals marks for most combined touchdowns (15), most combined passing yards (736) and most combined total yards (1,136).

The Cardinals' 586 yards total offense, and Moeller's 55 points and eight touchdowns also set D-I records.

"It's surreal," Moeller safety and Ohio State commit Sam Hubbard said. "I know these guys are speechless, too but I'm just proud of our senior class.

"We had a new identity. We had a target on our back, but stayed true to ourselves and did what we did best."