Adam Baum , firstname.lastname@example.org
Colerain, Ohio’s No. 1-ranked team, improved to 19-0 all-time in the opening round of the playoffs with a 35-14 win over No. 8 Springboro in a Division I, Region 4 game Friday night at Colerain.
Thanks to a little halftime motivation, Colerain (11-0) regrouped after a lackluster first half and smacked Springboro (7-4) in the second half with three rushing touchdowns from senior fullback Monalo Caldwell.
“I think we responded well after halftime,” said Colerain coach Tom Bolden. “It was a pretty emotional locker room at halftime. There were a ton of flags, we had 10 penalties on us in the first half. The game had no flow, it was a little ugly.”
The defense locked Springboro up and threw away the key, holding the Panthers to 193 yards of total offense. Springboro entered Week 11 averaging 35.5 points per game, while Colerain’s defense allows just 7.2 points per game.
“It’s tough because you don’t want to take anything away from Springboro but we had all kinds of momentum, then their kid made a great play on the interception (in the first half, trailing 14-0) and we just kind of lost all the momentum; they took it away from us,” said Bolden. “We didn’t respond real well after that. Hats off to Springboro, they were playing with a lot more fire and passion than we were to be honest with you.”
Caldwell finished with 176 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. He had 110 yards in the second half. As a team, Colerain rushed for 327 yards.
“You kind of lean on him (Caldwell),” said Bolden. “It was a few adjustments here and there but it was more of an attitude adjustment. We weren’t particularly locked in like we needed to be all week for the playoffs and hopefully they learn that this week.”
Colerain charged right out of the gate to an early 14-0 lead with a pair of first quarter touchdown passes from Gunnar Leyendecker to Javon Hicks and Deante Smith-Moore.
But, penalties quickly became a problem for the Cardinals. In the first half, Colerain accumulated more yards in penalties (90) than Springboro gained offensively (82).
On Springboro’s final possession of the first half, the Panthers put together a 75-yard touchdown drive, aided by three Colerain infractions, to set up a 9-yard pass from Brody Mahle to Kris Hughes that made it 14-7 Colerain at the break.
Springboro added a score with 6:00 left in the game, a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mahle to Toledo commit Nick Kovacs that made it 35-14.
Colerain finished with 12 penalties for 110 yards.
St. Xavier beat Fairfield, 35-14, setting up a second-round showdown against Colerain. The game will be played Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at a neutral location that’s yet to be announced.
“It wouldn’t be high school playoffs without Colerain and St. X getting after it,” Bolden said. “That’s what it’s all about; that’s what it’s been like forever. It will be another classic, I guarantee you that. It will be everything that it should be and more I guarantee you that.”