Justin Taylor carries Elyria Catholic Panthers past Vermilion Sailors

ELYRIA — After losing two straight games following quarterback Jeremy Holley’s season-ending injury, Elyria Catholic needed a spark to try to turn things around.

They found one and then some in sophomore running back Justin Taylor, who ran for 223 yards on nine carries and three touchdowns, to give the Panthers a 31-0 win over Vermilion, on Friday night, at a muddy and rainy Knights of Columbus Field.

“A lot of it was my line,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t do it without my line. Honestly, we all performed very well and that led to a great performance by me and other players. The line, they did a great job tonight.”

The Panther defense was very stingy all night, as they held the visiting Sailors (2-5, 1-3) to just 144 yards of total offense, and never let them get inside the Elyria Catholic (4-3, 2-2) 25-yard line.

“We wanted to take away their running game,” Elyria Catholic coach Mike Polevacik said. “We were really impressed on film how much they ran the ball. So we wanted to put them in those situations and I was very happy with that.”

Taylor began his incredible night by weaving his way through the Vermilion defense on a 36-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to get the Panthers on the board.

Following a fantastic Sailors punt that landed at the Elyria Catholic 7, Taylor broke through the line and sprinted his way to a 93-yard touchdown on the final play of the first quarter for a 14-0 Panther lead.

“He’s really done some things, but we haven’t gotten the W,” Polevacik said. “He played really well last week vs. Avon, but it’s good for him to lead the win. He’s really established himself as one of the best running backs in the area.

“He has incredible vision and cut. I really like to compare him to Barry Sanders who was one of my football guys I watched when I was a kid. I really think he has that juke and footwork like Barry. He’s also slippery, and then he can stop and start as good as anyone I’ve ever seen.”

He his third touchdown in the second quarter, this time from 46 yards out, to give his team a 21-0 lead.

Conner Riddell made it 28-0 towards the end of the half when he found Joshua Pierce deep down the Vermilion sideline on a 46-yard deep pass. Riddell completed 7 of 12 passes for 109 yards.

The Panthers added the only points of the second half on a 27-yard field goal by Jacob Moore, which was set up by a nice 52-yard return of the opening kickoff.

Their defense did the rest, stopping Vermilion on three fourth down attempts in the half to preserve the shutout.

Vermilion never had an offensive play longer than 14 yards, as starting running back Mike Repko ran 15 times for just 43 yards. The passing game struggled as well, as they combined to complete just five of 19 passes for only 37 yards.

Taylor, who ended his short night with a spectacular 24.8 yards per carry, hopes the big performance can spark the Panthers the rest of the way this season.

“It’s a good feeling, but we’ve got to keep it going,” Taylor said. “We can’t give up next week on North Ridgeville. We’ve got to get it going.”

While the Panthers travel to face North Ridgeville, Vermilion also hits the road to battle Avon.

Elyria Catholic 31, Vermilion 0

West Shore Conference

Vermilion (2-5, 1-3 0 0 0 0 — 0

Elyria Catholic (4-3, 2-2) 14 14 3 0 — 31


EC — Justin Taylor 39 run (Jacob Moore kick)

EC — Taylor 93 run (Moore kick)

EC — Taylor 46 run (Moore kick)

EC — Joshua Pierce 46 pass from Conner Riddell (Moore kick)

EC — Moore 27 FG


First Downs — V 7, EC 9.

Yards Rushing — V 107 (Repko 43), EC 261 (Taylor 223).

Yards Passing — V 37 (Kazmer 18), EC 110 (Pierce 49).

Passes Att.-Comp.-Int — V 19-5-1, EC 16-8-1.

Fumbles-Lost — V 1-0, EC 1-0.

Penalties-Yards — V 2-10, EC 8-80.


Last Updated: 10/6/2012 12:00:27 AM EST

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