The stage has been set for a classic showdown Saturday night in the Queen City. With the University of Cincinnati playing at Louisville Friday night on
ESPN2 and the Bengals an afterthought this season, the talk around
Cincinnati this week is the Colerain-Elder matchup.
The stage has been set for a classic showdown Saturday night in the Queen City.
With the University of Cincinnati playing at Louisville Friday night on ESPN2 and the Bengals an afterthought this season, the talk around Cincinnati this week is the Colerain-Elder matchup.
Elder (11-1), the top-ranked Division I team in the Ohio High-ONN Power Poll, plays the fifth-ranked Cardinals (11-1) for the first time since the 2004 season. The Division I regional final is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Nippert Stadium. It will be broadcast live on SportsTime Ohio, with a tape-delay late Saturday night on the Ohio News Network.
“It’s as big as it gets,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said in an interview on WeAreColerain.com.
Players on both sides this week were getting a history lesson from the respective coaches. Colerain and Elder played five times between 2000-2004. Each game during that span had playoff implications.
But, the focus won’t be on the past when Saturday arrives. Both teams have an opportunity at representing southwest Ohio in the state semifinals next week. The winner plays either Hilliard Davidson (11-1) or Pickerington Central (12-0) on Nov. 22.
There doesn’t seem to be any secrets as to the strategy of Colerain or Elder for the regional final. Colerain likes to run the triple option, while Elder wants to open up the passing game and spread the field. Both defenses are solid.
“I think staying focused is easy this week because of who we are playing,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “Their option is really good and we must play assignment football, be physical and tackle well.”
Colerain is led offensively by junior QB Greg Tabar, who has rushed for 858 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has thrown for 532 yards and six touchdowns.
Sophomore running backs Tyler Williams (1,302 yards) and Trayion Durham (1,075 yards) will relied upon heavily.
Defensively, the Cardinals allow just 17 points per game. Senior LB Colin Lozier (5.5 sacks) and junior LB Tyon Dixon (3.5 sacks) are among the leaders.
Colerain senior DB Cole Pasquale has a team-leading five interceptions, but knows the defensive backs will be tested against the Elder receiving corps.
“We have great athletes on defense,” Bolden told the Web site. “We just got to be in right spot, make the right checks and be in the right coverages and just play football, and I think we will be ok.”
Elder, which is making its first regional final appearance since 2003, is led by junior QB Mark Miller, who is the Greater Catholic League South division player of the year.
Miller has thrown for 2,307 yards and 24 touchdowns and has plenty of options in the passing game. Senior WR Josh Jones has 48 receptions for 792 yards. Junior Tim O’Conner (662 yards) and senior Michael Del Prince (588 yards) are also significant contributors.
“Offensively, we need to be able to pick up their blitzes, make good decisions and not turn the ball over,” Ramsey said.
Junior RB Adam Brown has rushed for 949 yards and 13 touchdowns behind a strong offensive line, led by seniors Austen Bujnoch (Cincinnati) and John Anevski (considering Miami or Louisville).
Defensively, the Panthers are led by seniors Orlando Scales (6.5 sacks) and Carlos Ware (5.5 sacks). The Panthers have allowed just 16 points per game.