It wasn’t the prettiest season opener for Colerain or Huber Heights Wayne in the 10th Annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Miami University’s Yager Stadium, but the Cardinals emerged in the end with a 19-7 victory in a physical game characterized by big plays.
Assistant Editor Matt Natali was on hand and has the details.
OXFORD – It wasn’t the prettiest season opener for Colerain or Huber Heights Wayne in the 10th Annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Miami University’s Yager Stadium, but the Cardinals emerged in the end with a 19-7 victory in a physical game characterized by big plays.
Both teams combined for 17 penalties for 127 yards but also combined for 483 total yards of offense.
“It was a battle. I’ve got to tell you, Wayne is a great team,” said Colerain head coach Tom Bolden. “Those kids come to play. They have a great football team. They are going to win a lot of ball games.”
Colerain opened up the scoring four minutes into the game on a 40-yard TD run by Dominique Sherrer capping off an 8-play, 81-yard drive. The failed point after attempt put the Cardinals up 6-0 early.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wayne’s Erique Geiger raced 98 yards to pay dirt and Colerain’s early lead was quickly erased on the Joe Day extra point giving the Warriors a 7-6 advantage.
Special teams came into play again minute later when Colerain return specialist Ravelle Sadler took a Wayne punt 47 yards to the endzone. Mark Tabar hit the extra point giving Colerain a 13-6 lead and the Cardinals entered the half with the seven point edge.
Just over two minutes into the second half, Colerain struck again on a 74-yard touchdown run by quarterback Doug Reynolds on the first play from scrimmage of the possession. The Cardinals opted for the two-point conversion attempt but Wayne stuffed Joseph Harrison before he could cross the goal line.
The damage had been done, though, as both teams failed to score in the fourth quarter and Colerain picked up the week one win.
Sherrer led all stat getters with 112 yards rushing on 19 carries and the TD in the first quarter. Reynolds had 105 yards on the ground on seven carries and the long TD run in the third quarter.
“Doug is more of a prototypical quarterback,” Bolden said of his senior signal caller. “He can run and he can throw. We’re going to open it up for him a little bit for some of the things he can do.
“But his leadership and his poise tonight was what really stood out and he is going to be something special for us,” he added.
Harrison and Quentin Sims combined for 80 rushing yards on the ground for the Cardinals.
Wayne receiver Chris Bonner had eight catches for 108 yards.
The Warriors only had seven first downs in the game, though, 1-for-10 on third down conversion attempts.
“We were here to beat (Colerain) and you can see some rejection in our kids,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said. “You take a national power like Colerain and we have so much respect for them.
“Our kids played tough, especially on defense. Offensively, you’ve got to make first downs against those guys. You can’t give them that much time on offense because they will hurt you with all their weapons.” he said.
“If we regroup and we play our cards right, we could be seeing them again,” Minton said referring to a possible playoff match up.
Both teams combined for 186 yards return yards on special teams including the two TDs.
“Anytime you get a game like this with lots of jitters and lots of penalties, special teams are definitely going to lay a part,” Bolden said.
The Warriors took the field in the second half with freshman quarterback Braxton Miller under center. Miller (6-2, 190) went 10-for-15 passing for 149 yards and two INTs.
Minton had full confidence in the youngster’s varsity debut despite the intimidating circumstances of playing against a national power in Colerain on the big stage at Miami’s Yager Stadium down 13-6.
“He came alive,” Minton said. “He’s not a freshman anymore. Not after that. Not when you line up against Colerain. You’re not a freshman anymore.”
Bolden added, “Anytime you can run like that and you have an arm like that – that is something special. They have a good one there.”
A New Era
Bolden picked up his first win as Colerain’s head coach in his debut. Bolden, a longtime assistant, took over the Cardinals program earlier in the year after Kerry Coombs moved onto the University of Cincinnati to take the defensive backs coaching position following a 16-year tenure at the Cardinals helm.
“It is pretty neat,” Bolden said of his first win. “It still hasn’t really sunk in yet. Maybe it will on the bus ride home. We’ll see.”
On The National Scene
Colerain entered the season ranked No. 23 in the country by USA Today and No. 20 in the PrepNation.com poll.
The Cardinals will face national power Hoover (Ala.) in the Third Annual Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge next Saturday at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium at 2:15 p.m.