Boys Varsity Football, Varsity Football · Football Week 2 Preview: St. Xavier Bombers (1-0)

Chris Himonidis

Graphic courtesy


What:             Week 2 Varsity Football Preview – Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown and Hall of Fame Induction
Who:              Colerain Cardinals (1-0) vs. St. Xavier Bombers (1-0)
Where:           “THE CAGE” 8801 Cheviot Rd., Cincinnati, OH
When:            Friday September 6, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
Coverage:    Live VIDEO Broadcast via CLICK HERE


Key Team and Player Stats/Comments

St. Xavier Bombers (1-0, Division 1 – Region 4)

2019 Schedule/Results:
W, 38-17 – Aug 30 vs. Brownsburg (IN) (1-1)
Sept 6 @ Colerain (1-0)
Sept 13 @ Penn (IN) (1-1)
Sept 20 vs. Indianapolis Cathedral (2-0)
Sept 27 @ Moeller (0-1)
Oct 4 vs. Elder (1-0)
Oct 11 vs. Football North (CAN) (1-1)
Oct 18 vs. LaSalle (1-0)
Oct 26 @ St. Ignatius (1-0)
Nov 1 @ St. Xavier (KY) (2-0)

Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #12 Matthew Rueve (Sr.) 6’4” 190 lbs
RB – #20 Kellen Newman (Sr.) 5’8” 184 lbs
RB – #31 Luke Vransky (So.) 5’8” 170 lbs
TE – #88 Marshall Lang (Sr.) 6’4″ 225 lbs
WR – #2 Liam Clifford (Jr.) 6’2” 190 lbs
OL – #70 Jack Kirby (Sr.) 6’3” 292 lbs

Defensive Players to watch:
DL – #97 Charlie Eckert (Sr.) 6’3” 220 lbs
DL – #96 Giovanni Albanese (Jr.) 6’0” 255 lbs
LB – #5 Noah Taylor (Sr.) 6’3” 207 lbs
LB – #32 Matthew Devine (Jr.) 6’0” 210 lbs
DB – #4 Tucker Hundley (Sr.) 6’0” 185 lbs
DB – #23 Gabriel Dubois (Jr.) 5’9” 160 lbs


COLERAIN CARDINALS (1-0, Division 1 – Region 4)

2019 Schedule/Results:
* – denotes conference game

W, 28-19 – Aug 30 @ Wayne (0-1)
Sept 6 vs. St. Xavier (1-0)
Sept 13 vs. Oak Hills (0-1) *
Sept 20 @ Princeton (1-0) *
Sept 27 @ Middletown (1-0) *
Oct 4 vs. Sycamore (1-0) *
Oct 11 @ Hamilton (1-0) *
Oct 18 vs. Mason (0-1) *
Oct 25 vs. Lakota East (0-1) *
Nov 1 @ Fairfield (1-0) *


Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #1 Freddie Johnson (Jr.) 5’11” 170 lbs – Transitioning from RB in 2018
QB – #15 Tyler Prather (Jr.) 6’2” 185 lbs – Starting QB from 9-1 JV team in 2018
FB – #9 M.J. Flowers (So.) 6’1” 185 lbs – Leading rusher from JV team in 2018
RB – #14 Hamzah Abdul-Waheed (Sr.) 5’6” 175 lbs – Primarily backup at FB in 2018
OL – #60 Ace Ehrenschwender (Sr.) 6’0” 280 lbs – 3-yr starter on the OL, Team Captain

Defensive Players to watch:
DL – #49 Donovan Owens (Sr.) 6’2” 230 lbs – 2nd year starter, Team Captain
DL – #58 Dante Corleone (Jr.) 6’1” 285 lbs – 2nd year starter
LB – #25 Michael Bess (Jr..) 6’1” 245 lbs – 2nd year starter, Top returning tackler from 2018
LB – #11 Elijah Ford (Sr.) 6’3” 215 lbs – 2nd year starter, Team Captain
DB – #3 Deshawn Pace (Sr.) 6’3” 210 lbs – Committed to Cincinnati, Team Captain


Keys to Victory for Colerain

  • OFFENSE:  PATIENCE…that was the theme communicated in this space last week and it is the theme once again this week.  While the Cardinals won last week over Wayne and scored four TD’s in the process, they mustered only 225 TOTAL yards of offense.  Nothing against the Warriors, but the Bombers present an entirely different level of defense.  Points & possessions are going to be at a premium this week so two things are paramount for this offense: 1 – NO TURNOVERS and 2 – Limit the penalties.  The Cards had 1 turnover and 60 yards in penalties last week.  It’s difficult to ask for ZERO turnovers against St. X but that really must the goal.  At home, the penalties should also improve.  Again, this offense is going to need several more weeks to really get going.  We did not see Tyler Prather in at QB at all last week…was that a smokescreen for this week?  Who knows.  Freddie Johnson did an admirable job against Wayne and will get better as the season progresses.  So will Sophomore FB MJ Flowers.  Repeat after me…PATIENCE.

  • DEFENSE:  The Cardinals were fortunate last week to face a Wayne team with a new Head Coach and new QB who presented problems due to his escapability and athleticism.  This week presents a first-time starter at QB and a new Offensive Coordinator for St. Xavier in Andrew Coverdale, formerly of Trinity High School in Louisville, KY.  The Bombers responded very well in their first game last week against Brownsburg (IN), a Top 10 team in Indiana’s largest classification.  The offense scored 23 points (defense/special teams chipped in 15 with punt and fumble returns for TDs) and QB Matthew Rueve was 21 of 35 for 301 yards, 2 TD’s & 0 INT.  He hit 6 different receivers throughout the game while leaning on Sophomore Luke Vrsansky and Senior Kellen Newman in the backfield.  This is going to be tall task for the mostly new Cardinal defense.  The DB’s are going to get tested on Friday night.  Junior Liam Clifford is a fast, athletic threat at WR and will most likely be the responsibility of Safety Deshawn Pace.  The line is going to have to penetrate and make Rueve uncomfortable in the backfield.  If they can do that, errant throws could happen and allow for possible turnovers.  Expect Defensive Coordinator Phill Joseph to call up similar blitz packages to last week to rattle Rueve as well.  A lot rests on the defense’s shoulders early in this season and this contest is a great way to measure where they are at this early stage.

  • Bottom-Line:  The win last week vs. Wayne is good…this one would be great.  The Cardinals have had a good run of recent success against the Bombers going 6-4 over the last 10 meetings dating back to the beginning of the 2014 season, including 3 in a row.  However, this game finds the Cardinals in a bit of a different position returning so little on offense against a team that, historically, does a great job containing Colerain’s offense in week 2 of every season.  Over the past 5 regular season meetings, the Cardinals have averaged 15.2 pts/game.  Expecting a lot more than that this year is probably not fair.  Conversely, the Bombers have averaged only 17.4 over those same 5 games.  SURPRISE!  These two teams are very closely matched which is why this is always a great game.  To win, the Cardinals MUST control the clock on offense.  Long, sustained drives with NO TURNOVERS resulting in points every time.  Defensively, they must put pressure on Rueve and tackle on first contact.  Allowing guys like Vrsansky and Clifford to get in open space will spell trouble.  Ultimately it may come down to the leg of Senior K Cameron Ott, who was 4 for 4 last week in PATs.  If that’s the case, we like our chances.  Win or lose, this is always a fun game and the atmosphere at Colerain will be electric all night.  The game is part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown and the media will be out in full force, including the Gameday crew from Fox 19 and ex-UC QB and radio personality Tony Pike being at school to tailgate and broadcast live starting at 5PM.  Going to be a great night for football so get there early, buy split-the-pot and concessions and enjoy a great game between two schools who respect each other and play the game the right way.