Boys Varsity Football, Varsity Football · Football Playoffs Regional Semi-Final Preview: Fairfield Indians (10-1)

Chris Himonidis


What:             Region 4 Playoffs:  Semi-Final Preview
Who:              Colerain Cardinals (10-1) vs. Fairfield Indians (10-1)
Where:          Pat Mancuso Field at Viking Stadium @ Princeton High School
When:            Friday November 15, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
Online Coverage:    Live AUDIO Broadcast starts at 6:45 PM via CLICK HERE
Live TV Coverage:   Live VIDEO on Spectrum News1


Team Schedule/Results and Key Players to Watch

Fairfield Indians (10-1, 7-1 in GMC, 2nd place)
Harbin Ranking – 2nd

2019 Schedule/Results:
W, 33-7:  Aug 30 vs. Centerville (4-6 D1 R2)
W, 16-12:  Sep 06 @ Springfield (10-1 D1 R2)
W, 47-7:  Sep 13 @ Middletown (1-9 D1 R4)
W, 34-27:  Sep 20 vs. Hamilton (5-6 D1 R4)
W, 33-7:  Sep 27 @ Lakota West (7-4 D1 R4)
W, 20-14:  Oct 04 vs. Lakota East (5-5 D1 R4)
W, 37-13: Oct 11 @ Princeton (6-5 D1 R4)
W, 31-3:  Oct 18 @ Sycamore (5-5 D1 R4)
W, 50-0:  Oct 25 vs. Cincinnati Oak Hills (0-10 D1 R4)
L, 10-16 (ot):  Nov 01 vs. Colerain (10-1 D1 R4)

W, 37-13:  Nov 08  vs. Hamilton (5-6 D1 R4)
Nov 15 vs. Colerain (10-1 D1 R4)

(Stats – Regular Season Only)
Total Offense:  390.7 YPG (1st in GMC)
Rushing Offense:  289.4 YPG (1st in GMC)
Passing Offense:  101.3 YPG (6th in GMC)
Points per game:  31.1 PPG (1st in GMC)

Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #2 Sawiaha Ellis (Sr.) 6’3” 215 lbs:  72-103 for 1,013 PASS, 5 TD, 5 INT : 106-446 RUSH, 9 TD, 4 Fumbles (Toledo Commit)
RB – #9 Jutahn McClain (Sr.) 5’10” 185 lbs:  204-1,800 RUSH, 21 TD; 10-50 REC, 4 Fumbles (UK Commit)
RB – #19 Jaydan Mayes (Jr.) 5’10” 175 lbs:  35-310 RUSH, 2 TD : 19-249 REC, 2 TD, 4 Fumbles
WR – #21 Dashaun Simpkins (Sr.) 6’0” 170 lbs:  19-331 REC, 3 TD
WR – #4 Phil Thomas (Jr.) 5’10” 175 lbs:  10-229 REC; 25-141 RUSH, 2 TD

(Stats – Regular Season Only)
Total Defense:  196.3 YPG (1st in GMC)
Rushing Defense:  90.8 YPG (1st in GMC)
Passing Defense:  105.5 YPG (4th in GMC)
Points per game:  10.6 PPG (1st in GMC)

Defensive Players to watch:
DL – #55 LJ France (Sr.) 6’1″ 260 lbs:  45 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
DL – #11 Brandon Smith (Jr.) 6’1” 245 lbs:  50 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks, 1 forced fumble
LB – #17 Phoenix Porter (Sr.) 6’1″ 220 lbs:  64 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries
LB – #5 Dealo Mcintosh (Sr.) 6’1” 210 lbs:  59 Tackles, 1.0 Sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT
CB – #4 Phil Thomas (Jr.) 5’10” 175 lbs:  28 Tackles, 4 INT


COLERAIN CARDINALS (10-1, 8-0 in GMC, 1st Place)
Harbin Ranking – 3rd

2019 Schedule/Results:
* – denotes conference game

W, 28-19:  Aug 30 @ Wayne (3-7 D1 R2)
L, 14-21:  Sept 6 vs. St. Xavier (9-2 D1 R4)
W, 45-14:  Sept 13 vs. Oak Hills (0-10 D1 R4) *
W, 23-14:  Sept 20 @ Princeton (6-5 D1 R4) *
W, 41-14:  Sept 27 @ Middletown (1-10 D1 R4) *
W, 27-7:  Oct 4 vs. Sycamore (5-5 D1 R4) *
W, 17-3:  Oct 11 @ Hamilton (5-6 D1 R4) *
W, 33-28:  Oct 18 vs. Mason (5-6 D1 R4) *
W, 34-3:  Oct 25 vs. Lakota East (5-5 D1 R4) *
W, 16-10 (ot):  Nov 1 @ Fairfield (10-1 D1 R4) *

W, 30-7:  Nov 08  vs. Princeton (6-5 D1 R4)
Nov 15 @ Fairfield (10-1 D1 R4)

Total Offense:  323.2 YPG (3rd in GMC)
Rushing Offense:  273.9 YPG (2nd in GMC)
Passing Offense:  49.3 YPG (9th in GMC)
Points per game:  27.8 PPG (3rd in GMC)

Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #1 Freddie Johnson (Jr.) 5’11” 170 lbs:  22-49 for 401 yds PASS, 4 TD, 97-566 yds RUSH, 9 TD, 3 Fumbles
RB/LB – #2 Jaylen Thomas (Sr.) 6’0” 190 lbs:  69-704 RUSH, 6 TD – 12-228 REC, 1 TD, 2 fumbles – 40 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks
FB – #9 M.J. Flowers (So.) 6’1” 185 lbs:  92-475 RUSH, 5 TD, 2 Fumbles
RB – #14 Hamzah Abdul-Waheed (Sr.) 5’6” 175 lbs:  76-560 RUSH, 5 TD – 3-38 REC, 1 fumble
OL – #60 Ace Ehrenschwender (Sr.) 6’0” 280 lbs:  3-yr starter on the OL, Team Captain


Total Defense:  217.3 YPG (2nd in GMC)
Rushing Defense:  94.6 YPG (2nd in GMC)
Passing Defense:  122.7 YPG (8th in GMC)
Points per game:  13.3 PPG (2nd in GMC)

Defensive Players to watch:

DL – #49 Donovan Owens (Sr.) 6’2” 230 lbs:  39 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks
DL – #58 Dontay Corleone (Jr.) 6’1” 285 lbs:  40 Tackles, 6.0 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery (UC Commit)
LB – #8 Xander Kendall (Jr..) 5’11” 220 lbs:  55 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 Interceptions
LB – #11 Elijah Ford (Sr.) 6’3” 215 lbs:  32 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery
DB – #3 Deshawn Pace (Sr.) 6’3” 210 lbs:  47 Tackles, 3 INT (UC Commit)
DB – #10 Sean Williamson (Jr.) 6’0” 160 lbs:  56 Tackles, 2 INT


Keys to Victory for Colerain

    • OFFENSE:  Last week, the Cardinals showed once again that they are going to go to multiple offensive sets to find a way to move the ball and score points, dropping 30 on a solid, athletic Princeton Viking defense.  While they only managed 243 yards, they did manage to put 30 points on the scoreboard, scoring in 3 quarters of the game.  New Wildcat QB Sr. Deshawn Pace led the team with 74 yards rushing.  The story really was the diversity that OC Tyler Williams and Offensive Asst. Daniel Rod showed in the game plan.  TEN different players touched the ball on offense while three different players scored.  This week, much of the same will be necessary.  The Cardinals just saw this Indian defense two weeks ago and they held Colerain to their 3rd lowest rushing total of the season.  Fairfield is led by DL #11 Brandon Smith (50 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks) and DL #55 L.J. France (45 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks).  They form a wall at the point of attack that the Cardinals really struggled to get by in week 1o.  If they were fortunate to get past them, LB’s #17 Phoenix Porter (64 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks) and #5 Dealo Mcintosh (59 Tackles, 1.0 Sack) will be waiting.  In week 10, these two players combined for 22 of Fairfield’s 73 tackles, or 30% of their total.  The Cardinals found much better success in the 2nd half against a very aggressive Indian squad.  Ultimately, it was the Cardinals unveiling their Wildcat package for the first time in OT that caught the Indians off-guard.  The OL, led by Sr. Ctr. and Captain Ace Ehrenschwender, did a great job getting push late in the game and allowing Pace to find the holes he needed to eventually score the game winner.  Look for a more diverse offensive game plan from the get-go as the Cards will look to get a lead early and let their defense go to work.  Speaking of defense…
    • DEFENSE:  Let’s get this out of the way right now…the Colerain defense has stepped up BIG TIME!  While the Colerain offense has evolved over the second half of the season to find as many creative ways to score as possible, the defense has turned up the pressure.  A great defense does what they can to put their offense in the best position to win by flipping field and…creating turnovers.  And man oh man, have the Cardinals created turnovers.  Over the last half of the season, including last week’s playoff game vs. Princeton, the Cardinals have forced 12 turnovers, or an average of 2 per game.  That is a big reason why the Cardinals have gone undefeated over that same period and find themselves in the Regional Semi-Finals.  Two weeks ago, Colerain forced Fairfield to turn the ball over 3 times.  That, combined with their unbelievable goal line defense, held the Indians to a season-low 10 points.  Finally, the real X-Factor is Fairfield Sr. RB and Kentucky commit Juthan McClain.  Colerain held McClain to only 63 yards and NO TDs on the night which resulted in his worst performance of the year.  That was driven by the fact that he was injured near the end of the first quarter and missed most of the rest of the game.  He did return but was clearly not running at 100%.  Last week, against Hamilton, he did not play at all so the question is…will we see him at all?  If he is healthy, he is going to present a tremendous challenge for this defense.  He has the power and speed to score from anywhere on the field.  His backup, Jayden Mayes has performed well in his absence and will be a formidable compliment to McClain, along with Phil Thomas.
  • Bottom-Line:  Two weeks ago, Colerain traveled to Fairfield and on their Senior night, ended their perfect season while winning their 83rd consecutive conference game and 20th consecutive GMC title.  The win was huge for the Cardinals as many doubted they could go on the road and beat the highly talented and undefeated Indians.  The had several opportunities to put the game away but it took OT to make it happen.  Fairfield extended a lot of energy that night to beat a team truly felt they were better than.  A big question is whether or not they will be able to muster that same level of energy for the second time in 3 weeks.  The same question could be asked of the Cardinals.  Can they match the intensity they possessed two weeks ago?  It’s the post-season and the right to play for a regional title is on the line, so expect emotions to be high and the intensity to match it.  It will be the end of the season for one of these two very good football teams.  Colerain has the win from two weeks ago under their belt as well as the confidence to know they can beat Fairfield.  The Indians have #revengetour on their minds and are looking for a chance to shock the world and end the Cardinals season.  Expect a game very similar to week 10 with the winner being decided by less than a TD late in the game.
  • #BeatFairfield