Elyria Catholic's Gavin Hrobat makes a touchdown catch Sep 7. STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE
ELYRIA — Don’t get Elyria Catholic’s football team mad.
That may have been the lesson learned by Cleveland Central Catholic on Friday night at Knights of Columbus Field in non-conference play as the Panthers routed the Ironmen 74-22.
“This win was very special to us,” said senior receiver and defensive back David Griffin, who returned an interception for a score and caught a 49-yard pass for another. “We’re much better than we were last year and running through our banner was just disrespect. We just made a statement.”
“We walked in on Monday and had stickers on every one of our chairs,” senior quarterback Cameron Engrish said. “We had pictures everywhere of them running through our banner. We definitely took it personal.”
The Panthers, 3-0 for the first time since 2014, were reminded all week how the Ironmen ran through the cheerleaders’ banner before last year’s game at Central Catholic. CCC won 20-17.
“This was a huge week for (the players),” first-year EC coach Brian Fox said. “They talked about it the moment I started here about what happened before the game. Obviously I wasn’t here for that but I loved the energy and the focus when they came out.
“I just kept saying, ‘Last year we lost to (CCC). They disrespected you guys.’ Obviously this made a statement. It wasn’t going to happen again this year.”
There was no nonsense this time around, as the Panthers stuffed the Ironmen on their first series and scored the first of nine first-half touchdowns just two plays later on Leighton Banjoff’s 4-yard grab from Engrish. It was 60-0 at halftime.
Engrish threw for 340 yards and six touchdowns, tying the school record set by Danny Reaser in 2010. Engrish actually threw for another touchdown, but the last one was called back because of an illegal man downfield.
In addition to the short toss to Banjoff, Engrish hooked up for scoring passes of 40 yards and 51 yards to Gavon Hrobat, 41 yards to Jaret Frantz, 49 to Griffin and 14 to Alex Carandang. His seventh was an 11-yarder to Branson Taylor, but officials ruled a Panthers lineman had wandered too far past the line of scrimmage.
“We teetered with the thought of Cameron on the verge of breaking the record, but when that one got called back, it wasn’t worth it,” Fox said. “I just wanted our guys to take a knee and get out of there.”
Engrish has 974 yards and 13 touchdowns through three games.
EC returned a pair of interceptions for scores. Griffin’s pick came at the CCC 33-yard line and Banjoff returned one from the 35.
Christopher Jackson and Malik Gaddy got into the scoring act with runs from 52 and 49 yards. The Panthers returned two punts for touchdowns but they were called back due to illegal blocks. At one point, EC led 74-0 with more than five minutes still to play in the third quarter.
The hardest thing for Fox was rotating his players in and out as the score grew. EC played everyone on the field, freshmen included.
Central Catholic scored three touchdowns with the clock running. Kody Bell shook loose for scoring runs of 73 and 50 yards and Nathan Bledsoe added one of 38 yards.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 74, Central Catholic 22
Central Catholic 0 0 16 6 — 22
Elyria Catholic 26 34 14 0 — 74
EC — Leighton Banjoff 4 pass from Cameron Engrish (Asa Kempton kick)
EC — Gavon Hrobat 40 pass from Engrish (kick failed)
EC — Brian Beury 1 run (Kempton kick)
EC — David Griffin 33 interception return (kick failed)
EC — Jaret Frantz 41 pass from Engrish (Kempton kick)
EC — Hrobat 51 pass from Engrish (Kempton kick)
EC — D.Griffin 49 pass from Engrish (Kempton kick)
EC — Banjoff 35 interception return (Kempton kick)
EC — Alex Carandang 14 pass from Engrish (Kempton kick)
EC — Christopher Jackson 52 run (Stephen Gabel kick)
EC — Malik Gaddy 49 run (Gabel kick)
CC — Kody Bell 73 run (Nathan Bledsoe run)
CC — Bell 50 run (Bledsoe run)
CC — Bledsoe 38 run (run failed)
First downs 7 19
-- by rushing 7 8
-- by passing 0 9
-- by penalty 0 2
Yards rushing 241 189
Yards passing 10 340
Total offense 251 529
Passes att./comp. 14/2 17/11
Intercepted by 0 4
Fumbles/lost 4/0 3/1
Penalties/yards 7/57 7/80
RUSHING — (CC) Kody Bell 5-156, Nathan Bledsoe 12-30, Kenan Johnstone 8-27, Andre Gardner 3-15, Sirhan Smith 2-12, Ja’Juan Jones 1-1. (EC) Christopher Jackson 6-93, Malik Gaddy 4-70, Leighton Banjoff 5-39, Dominic Stevenson 4-20, Alex Carandang 3-8, Bryan Beury 2-2, Jerry Martin 2-(-1), Cameron Engrish 1 (-13), Team 5-(-25).
PASSING — (CC) Bledsoe 2-13-10-0-3. Kody Bell 0-1-0-0-1. (EC) Engrish 11-17-340-6-0.
RECEIVING — (CC) Daithan Haynes 1-6, Sirhan Smith 1-4. (EC) David Griffin 3-125, Hrobat 2-91, Jaret Frantz 1-41, Banjoff 1-32, Jack Griffin 1-30, Costa Bryan 1-16, Banjoff 1-4, Jackson 1-1.