Leopards Soak Central 30-12 to Finish With Winning 6-4 Record – Varsity Football
Louisville 30, Central Catholic 12
The Louisville Leopards defeated the host Canton Central Catholic Crusaders 30-12 on a wet and windy Friday Night at Lowell Klinefelter Field. With the victory, Louisville finishes the season with a 6-4 record after winning 4 of their final 5 games.
Senior Bryce Zuppe finished with 3 catches for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Leopards. Zuppe got Louisville on the board with 3:00 left in the second quarter when he caught a 42 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Colton Jones on 4th-and-3. Zuppe also scored what proved to be the deciding touchdown on a state tying record 99 yard touchdown reception from Jones with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
Jones completed 22 of 35 passes for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. Senior Jared Mathie was his most frequent target with 7 catches for 74 yards. He also connected with Davis Burick 4 times for 70 yards and a 50 yard touchdown in the third quarter. Senior Runningback Max Hartline led the ground attack with 14 carries for 52 yards and ran in a fourth quarter touchdown.
The fate of the game was decided by a goal line stand from a bend but never break Leopards defensive effort. This goal line stop snowballed into a series of fortunate events for LHS to allow them to take complete command of the game. Louisville led 7-0 at halftime, but Central looked to knot the game by stringing together a grind it out 16 play, 70 yard drive that took up the first 7:24 of the third quarter. It ended inches away from its objective and it resulted in the Leopards scoring a pair of touchdowns in a span of 10 seconds.
The Crusaders opening second half drive didn’t look hopeful when they faced a 3rd-and-9 on their first series of downs. But Quarterback Dylan Johnson completed a pass over the middle to Wide Receiver Alec Stainaker for a gain of 13 to the Central 43. Later the Crusaders successfully converted 4th-and-1 runs runs by both Wide Receiver Gunnar Eberhardt and Runningback Mark Long which set them up with goal to go from the 7. Long also plowed ahead for a gain of 5 on the next play to put Central at the 2 yard line facing 2nd-and-goal.
On the next play, Mathie burst through from his Linebacker position to hit Long in the backfield before he fell forward for a gain of 1. On 3rd-and-goal from a yard out, Defensive Back Grayson Beamer and Defensive End Jason Goard held up Eberhardt at the 1 yard line for no gain to bring up fourth down. The Crusaders went back to the 5’11, 228 pound Long to try to punch in the game-tying score, but Defensive Lineman Riley Brendle plugged the hole and Defensive End Maverick Pugh stormed through a gap in the Central line to make the stop less than half a yard away from the goal line to preserve the Louisville lead.
The Leopards took over from there, but committed a false start penalty moving the ball back half the distance to the goal which amounted to about 6 inches. Backed up as far as an offensive could possibly be, Louisville lined up to pass. Receiving ample protection from his offensive line, Jones stepped back 2 yards away from the back goal line and went for broke. His pass found the hands of Zuppe who was streaking down the right sideline at the Leopards 30. The determined Zuppe spent the next 10 yards shaking off the trailing defender before dumping him at the Louisville 40. It was a foot race for the final 60 yards and Zuppe completed his 99 5/6 yard (0.057 mile) journey to paydirt to give the Leopards a 14-0 lead.
The the snowball kept rolling in the Leopards favor. Kicker Travis Pape blasted the ensuing kickoff into the front line of the Crusaders coverage team and recovered his own kick of the 50 yard line. One play later, Jones dropped back, stepped up, and fired a long pass to Burick who had beaten his defender for a 50 yard touchdown reception to make it 21-0 LHS. At that point in the third quarter, Louisville had run 2 offensive plays for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns with a time of possession of 26 seconds.
Pape worked his magic again on the following kickoff. His squib kick bounced in front of the Central return man and took an abnormally high hop over his head back inside the 10. This allowed the Leopards coverage team time to close in and Cam Lingle buried the return man at the 11. To pile on to the Crusaders misfortune, they were penalized setting them back to their own 7.
However, the resilient Central would put together their most successful drive of the night going 93 yards on 9 plays. The drive was keyed by two big pass plays that accounted for the majority of their total passing yards on the evening. The first was a 48 yard screen pass from Johnson to Wide Receiver Corlin Armour Smith that took the Crusaders from their own 7 to the Louisville 45. Two plays later Johnson connected with Stainaker over the middle for a gain of 28 and in just 3 plays they had flipped field position to the LHS 7. Johnson would end the evening completing 9 of 22 passes for 140 yards. Armour Smith also finished as Central’s top receiver with 2 receptions for 68 yards.
The Leopards defense held the Crusaders off the board until Runningback Chase Miller scored on a 4 yard 4th-and-goal pass from Johnson four plays later. The extra point was missed leaving the score at 21-6. Miller would also finish as Central’s leading rusher with 12 carries for 47 yards.
Louisville answered by driving into the redzone on their next drive, but a penalty and a sack pushed them back the 32 yard line as they faced a 4th-and-25. The Leopards elected to punt and it paid off. Zuppe’s boot bounced a few times inside the 5 and Dillon Rebuck covered it inside the 1 yard line to pin the Crusaders offense. Central was called for intentional grounding in the endzone on the next play which gave Louisville two points via a team safety.
The ensuing free kick was punted and bounced to the Central 46. Burick retrieved it and returned it to the 35 yard line. A face mask infraction was called on the play and the Leopards were already back in the redzone at the Crusader 20. Three straight handoffs to Hartline resulted in him scoring from a yard out to put the Leps ahead 30-6 with 5:10 to go.
Canton Central Catholic held a 142-57 advantage on the ground over Louisville for the contest. Runningback Vinny DiRuzza had the other Crusaders touchdown run from 30 yards away to make it 30-12 with 3:18 remaining in the contest. The conversion failed and neither team scored on their final two possessions to end the season. The Leopards finished with a winning record of 6-4 in their first season as an independent while the Crusaders ended the 2018 season with a mark of 4-6.
This was the first meeting between the two Varsity programs since 1984 and first matchup in the series held at Central Catholic since 1979. The Leopards now lead the all-time series 12-1-1 which includes a 5-1-1 mark in games played at Central. The 42 combined points is the most ever in the history of the series eclipsing Louisville’s 26-14 win in 1978 and the Leopards 21-19 victory in 1984. The 30 points scored by LHS is also the most ever in the series eclipsing their 27-6 victory over then St. John’s (prior to the co-ed merge with Mount Marie Academy) on October 30, 1943.
Donate to Leopard Nation
Louisville at Central Catholic Football Pictures
Cover Photo Taken By Jim & Laura Photography
View & Purchase Louisville Leopards Pictures on the Jim & Laura Photography Website
Louisville at Central Catholic Band Pictures
LEOPARDS 30, CRUSADERS 12
Central Catholic 0-0-6-6–12
LOUISVILLE – Bryce Zuppe 42 Yard Pass from Colton Jones (Travis Pape Kick) | LHS 7, CCHS 0, 3:00
5 Plays, 48 Yards
LOUISVILLE – Bryce Zuppe 99 Yard Pass from Colton Jones (Travis Pape Kick) | LHS 14, CCHS 0, 4:20
1 Play, 99 Yards
LOUISVILLE – Davis Burick 50 Yard Pass from Colton Jones (Travis Pape Kick) | LHS 21, CCHS 0, 4:10
1 Play, 50 Yards
CENTRAL CATHOLIC – Chase Miller 4 Yard Pass from Dylan Johnson (Kick Failed) | LHS 21, CCHS 6, 0:20
9 Plays, 93 Yards
LOUISVILLE – Team Safety, Intentional Grounding in the Endzone | LHS 23, CCHS 6, 6:28
LOUISVILLE – Max Hartline 1 Yard Run (Travis Pape Kick) | LHS 30, CCHS 6, 5:10
3 Plays, 20 Yards
CENTRAL CATHOLIC – Vinny DiRuzza 30 Yard Run (Run Failed) | LHS 30, CCHS 12, 3:18
5 Plays, 83 Yards
Records: Louisville 6-4, Central Catholic 4-6
Central: 38 carries for 142 yds 1 TD
Louisville: 20 carries for 57 yds 1 TD
Central: 9 of 22 for 140 yds 1 TD 0 INT
Louisville: 22 of 36 for 353 yds 3 TD’s 1 INT
3rd Down Conversions:
4th Down Conversions:
Chase Miller: 12 carries for 47 yds
Max Hartline: 14 carries for 52 yds 1 TD
Corlin Armour Smith: 2 catches for 68 yds
Jared Mathie: 7 catches for 74 yds
Davis Burick: 4 catchers for 70 yds 1 TD
Max Hartline: 4 catchers for 26 yds
Bryce Zuppe: 3 catches for 149 yds 2 TD’s
Ryan Pukys: 3 catches for 26 yds
Dominic Mongiardo: 1 catch for 8 yds
Dylan Johnson: 9 of 22 for 140 yds 1 TD 0 INT
Colton Jones; 22 of 35 for 353 yds 3 TD’s 1 INT