Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller first-year coach John Rodenberg isn’t one
to dwell on the Crusaders’ recent playoff history. Why would he? Rodenberg is at his third school in three years. So the fact that the Crusaders have lost to Cincinnati Colerain four of
the past five postseason appearances doesn’t faze him or the coaching
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller first-year coach John Rodenberg isn’t one to dwell on the Crusaders’ recent playoff history. Why would he?
Rodenberg is at his third school in three years. He coached Roger Bacon in 2007 after leading Covington (Ky.) Catholic to a state title in 2006. He replaced Moeller legend Bob Crable this fall.
So the fact that the Crusaders have lost to Cincinnati Colerain four of the past five postseason appearances doesn’t faze him or the coaching staff.
“I never worry about the past since every year the players are new and this year the coaching staff is new,” Rodenberg said. “You have to bring your best against Colerain because they have been there and they know what to expect. You won’t rattle a Colerain (team).”
Colerain (9-1), the No. 1 seed in Division I, Region 4, plays host to No. 8 seed Moeller (6-4) in a regional quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Cardinals, who have won three consecutive games since a stunning loss at Middletown Oct. 3, are rated No. 5 in the final Ohio High-ONN Power Poll this week.
Colerain defeated Moeller 27-7 at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium in a regional semifinal during the 2007 season. The Cardinals lost to St. Xavier in the regional final last year.
This season, the Cardinals have developed several younger players to step in and fill the roles for several graduated starters.
Sophomore running backs Tyler Williams and Trayion Durham have thrived on the triple option offense. Williams has rushed for 1,269 yards and 16 touchdowns. Durham has rushed for 1,032 yards and nine touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Greg Tabar has shown effective leadership and has rushed for 805 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Colerain coach Tom Bolden said the offense needs to be consistent and not allow the strong Moeller defense gain any opportunities.
“We need to take care of the football offensively,” Bolden said. “It sounds cliché, but every game we need to do that. They are a physical football team and they will hit us hard.”
Defensively, the Cardinals have allowed just 17 points per game. The pass defense has been strong – allowing 114 yards per game.
“On defense we need to get to the right spots and the right checks,” Bolden said. “They are a GCL football team and very well-coached.
The Cardinals are led by senior linebacker Colin Lozier, who has 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Senior defensive back Nicholas Priessman has five interceptions.
“Nick is a smart football player,” Bolden said. “He’s a fast kid – not the fastest on the field – but he seems to be always seems to be right place at the right time. He has a great football mind.”
Moeller, which defeated host St. Xavier 17-14 last week to earn a playoff spot, has played well recently. The Crusaders defeated Lakewood St. Edward 33-29 Oct. 18 at the University of Cincinnati.
“We are really playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Rodenberg said. “It speaks volumes of the character our guys have. Saying that, we know we’re playing an equally confident team. They have great team speed and players who are well-coached and can cause problems.”
Moeller often utilizes a no-huddle offense, which causes problems for opponents.
The passing game has been solid, led by junior quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who has thrown for 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Tony Harris has had a career year with 70 receptions for 748 yards and three touchdowns. He returned a late kickoff for a touchdown that allowed Moeller to defeat St. Ed.
“Tony and Andrew are the big playmakers right now,” Rodenberg said. “They have a great supporting cast.”
The backfield must play well for Moeller to have a chance. Junior Jeff Aubin (363 yards) and sophomore Richie Dyer (336 yards) are the two featured running backs.
Defensively, the Crusaders have allowed 24 points per game.
Two key players Saturday will be junior linebacker Nick Galvin (9.5 sacks) along with junior linebacker Marcus Rush who has nine sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
“Marcus and Nick are creating names for themselves each time they go out,” Rodenberg said. “They are quickly becoming leaders and we expect big things from them this Saturday.”