Crosstown Showdown XI- Day 3 Game 3
Elder Panther and future UC Bearcat Josh Jones
Elder Panther and future UC Bearcat Josh Jones
Posted Aug 23, 2008
Sam Elliott

The stands at Nippert Stadium were a sea of purple and white as the Elder High School Panthers and the Middletown High School Middies met in the third game of Saturday’s Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown action. For two Panthers, playing football on the campus of the University of Cincinnati will become much more common over the next few years.

Elder High School seniors Josh Jones and Austen Bujnoch will remain teammates for years to come following their graduation from the Cincinnati high school, as both have signed on to become Bearcats following their time as Panthers.

Bujnoch and the rest of the Elder offensive line did more than their fair share of hard work against Middletown as junior quarterback Mark Miller had plenty of time to throw all night, never getting sacked and throwing 16-of-22 on the night for 200 yards and a touchdown and rushing twice for 17 yards en route to a 38-19 Elder win. Senior running back Nicholas Gramke also got plenty of work done behind the offensive line, running the ball 17 times for 94 yards and three first half touchdowns.

The scoring looked easy for Elder early as they jumped to a 14-0 first quarter lead. The Middies began fighting back early in the second however, as junior quarterback Caleb Watkins tossed a 66-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Terrell Ramsey to cut the lead in half. Not two minutes later however Gramke banged into the end zone for his and Elder’s third touchdown, and the Panthers were out in front 21-7.

The lead increased by seven again as Miller threw a four-yard touchdown pass to the future Bearcat wide receiver Josh Jones, a play in which he beat Tennessee commit defensive back DeeJay Hunter. Jones gave Cincinnati fans something to look forward to continue watching play on Saturdays, as he led the Elder receiving core with six catches and 82 yards.

With time in the first half winding down and the Middies holding the ball, Watkins launched a hail mary pass downfield. It landed in the arms of Elder senior defensive back Zachary Autenrieb and the Panthers held possession with just ten seconds left in the half. An incredible 47-yard field goal by senior Tony Miliano put Elder ahead 31-7 heading into the half.

Watkins added a second touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and finished the night 18-of-28 passing for 296 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Six of his passes went the way of senior Allen Roberts who racked up 102 yards with his opportunities.

Junior Kevin Watts played a great game for the Middies on both sides of the ball. As a defensive back, he led the team in tackles with six solo tackles and 7.5 total on the night, while as a receiver caught four passes for 31 yards.

The offenses were firing on all cylinders and both teams should expect success as they make their way through their respective seasons. Elder’s high power offense in particular should have the Panthers staying put near the top of rankings in Cincinnati this season.

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