Coldwater-Alter II: GCL vs MAC, public vs private, rematch…need more?


Alter-Coldwater has quickly grown into a Southwest Ohio rivalry

It has finally arrived. Not Christmas. Something better.

Coldwater-Alter II. Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Troy Memorial Stadium. The Division IV Region 16 final.

Think this is just another game? Think again.

It has finally arrived. Not Christmas. Something better.

Coldwater-Alter II.

Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Troy Memorial Stadium. The Division IV Region 16 final.

Think this is just another game? Think again.

All season long this has been THE game.

A year ago Coldwater shocked the football world by overcoming two 21-point deficits to beat the favored Knights 59-52 in triple-overtime in the regional semifinals. The Cavs rode that momentum to their second Division IV state title in three years with another stunning – and come-from-behind – win over Youngstown Mooney in the state final.

Now in the hunt for a third state title in four years, Coldwater faces an Alter team bent on bringing home the hardware itself.

The Knights have been painfully close to that elusive first state title the last two years. In 2006 they dropped the D-III state final to Steubenville 34-33 thanks to two missed extra-points. We all know what happened last year.

One question is can Alter beat the Catholics? Jokes aside this contest is far bigger than any this season and quite possibly any in recent memory. It has everything you want in a Hollywood script and enough for several sequels. There are numerous strong storylines.

Based on affiliations alone, this game is monumental. It’s a rare match up of teams from Ohio’s top two power conferences: the Greater Catholic League and the Midwest Athletic Conference. These are arguably the top two high school conferences in the Midwest and potentially the country. Big talk. Big resumes. Big game.

And although Alter isn’t St. Xavier, Moeller or LaSalle, that’s not necessarily a good thing. The Knights might be better than those three. Seriously.

The game also pits a public school against a parochial one. That’s a significance that stirs everyone’s emotion. It could be debated that this game features two catholic schools since 76-percent of Coldwater’s population is of German decent, but the Cavs indeed fall under the public umbrella.

Alter it could be argued is the most successful parochial school – athletically – in Ohio. The Knights have state titles in girls basketball, girls cross country and girls volleyball in the last three years and have finished second at state in boys soccer (twice), football and girls cross country (twice) over that same span. This fall Alter’s volleyball and girls cross country teams were state runners-up. Coldwater made the D-III state baseball Final Four last year.

The contest also features urban versus rural. Alter draws from a pool of cities that includes Dayton, Centerville, Kettering, Bellbrook, Springboro, Miamisburg and other south suburban Miami Valley communities that have a combined population over 300,000. Coldwater draws from Coldwater, a village of 4,482 in rural Mercer County.

Then there are the teams themselves.

Alter has demolished the opposition en route to a 10-2 record that’s really an undefeated run with an asterisk. The Knights were forced to forfeit their first two games for playing a third string senior in blowouts over Kettering Fairmont and Bellbrook.

The Knights have outscored opponents 540-84 this season, which is a nightly average of 45-7.

When the GCL North all-league team was released recently, 19 of Alter’s 22 starters were either first or second team. Offensively, seven Knights were named first team, including GCL co-players of the year QB Austin Boucher and RB Chris Borland. Boucher is headed to Toledo. Borland has committed to Wisconsin.

Alter does most of its damage on the ground with a punishing attack, but Boucher gives the Knights the ability to throw the ball – something that’s been traditionally ignored in the Alter game plan – effectively.

Knights head coach Ed Domsitz was the GCL North coach of the year.

Coldwater enters riding the state’s longest win streak at 25 games.

The Cavs won their fourth MAC title in five years this season and snapped Marion Local’s 33-game win streak along the way. They also allowed just seven offensive points in wins over Anna, Marion Local, Delphos St. John’s and St. Henry combined. In Week 2, Coldwater crushed Indiana big-school power Kokomo 41-7. Kokomo finished the regular season 9-1 and ranked 14th in Indiana’s final 5A (largest division) rankings.

The Cavs have outscored opponents 490-67, which equates to 41-5.6 per outing. Coldwater has registered five shutouts and allowed double-digits just twice.

Ohio State recruit Adam Homan stars as a linebacker/fullback, while Miami (Oh.) baseball recruit Cory Klenke excels as quarterback/safety. The best player on the field it could be argued is senior Tony Harlamert who does a little bit of everything. Harlamert, who somehow hasn’t nailed down a scholarship, stars at running back, kick returner and defensive back. He set a state record this season for consecutive games with at least one catch at over 40 straight.

Harlamert, the MAC’s offensive player of the year, was also first team all-conference as a defensive back. Homan was the MAC’s defensive player of the year. Head coach John Reed was the MAC coach of the year. Ten Cavaliers were on the MAC first teams (offense and defense).

Most consider this a de facto state title game, and it’s hard to argue it’s not.

Although Steubenville will have a say in who ultimately gets to display the state title trophy after Nov. 28, Coldwater and Alter have been on a collision course for 364 days.

The duo has been ranked Nos. 1-2, respectively, in the ONN/Ohio High D-IV Power Poll since the preseason rankings were released in August.

The key number heading into Friday, though, is 38.

Not as in 38 points – because it will probably take more than that to win. No the 38 stands for total victories in the last three years. Since the start of the 2006 season, each team is 37-2 on the field.

Someone is going to be 37-3 late Friday.

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