Boys Varsity Football, Varsity Football · Regional Semi-Finals Preview – #5 Colerain Cardinals (5-2) @ #1 Lakota West Firebirds (7-0)

Chris Himonidis


What:             PLAYOFFS – Regional Semi-Finals
Who:              #5 Colerain Cardinals (6-2) @ #1 Lakota West Firebirds (7-0)
Where:          Firebird Stadium, Lakota West High School, 8940 Union Centre Blvd., West Chester, OH 45069
When:            Friday October 23, 2020 @ 7 PM
Media:          VIDEO:  TV – LIVE coverage on Spectrum News1 | Web – OHSAA Network (per game fee)
AUDIO ONLY:  Pregame @ 6:45PM – YouTube Channel (Click Here)



Team Schedule/Results and Key Players to Watch

Lakota West Firebirds (7-0, 5-0 | 1st Place in the GMC)

2020 Schedule/Results:
W, 10-0:  8/28 @ Colerain (6-2)
W, 40-13:  9/4 vs. Hamilton (4-4)
W, 33-0:  9/11 @ Sycamore (1-7)
W, 21-7 :  9/18 @ Fairfield (1-7)
9/25 H Oak Hills (1-6) *Cancelled
9/25 Open date
W, 21-0:  10/2 vs. Mason (5-3)

Playoffs (#4 Seed):
W, 44-0:  10/9 vs. West Clermont (2-4)
W, 31-14:  10/16 vs. Lakota East (4-4)
10/23 vs. Colerain (6-2)


Total Offense:  263.4 YPG (6th in GMC)
Rushing Offense:  170.3 YPG (6th in GMC)
Passing Offense:  93.1 YPG (6th GMC)
Points per game:  17.9 PPG (6th in GMC)

Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #7 Mitch Bolden (So.) 6’2” 180 lbs:  652 yds PASS, 12 TD, 3 INT : 376 yds RUSH, 4 TD, 1 Fumble
RB – #25 Cameron Good (Jr.) 5’10” 215 lbs:  61-398 yds RUSH, 6.5 avg, 4 TD, 1 Fumble
WR – #15 Trent Lloyd (So.) 5’11” 180 lbs:  15-200 yds REC, 13.3 avg, 4 TD, 1 Fumble
WR – #1 Caleb Rao (Sr.) 5’11” 175 lbs:   13-168 yds REC, 12.9 avg, 3 TD
WR – #5 Adrian Davis (Sr.) 5’10” 180 lbs:  11-202 yds REC, 18.4 avg, 5 TD, 1 Fumble, 1 return TD
OL – #77 Tegra Tshbola (Jr.) 6’6″ 300 lbs:  Ohio State commit


Total Defense:  146.7 YPG (1st in GMC)
Rushing Defense:  75.9 YPG (2nd in GMC)
Passing Defense:  70.9 YPG (1st in GMC)
Points allowed per game:  2.9 PPG (1st in GMC)

Defensive Players to watch:
DL – #98 Aneesh Vyas (Sr.) 6’2″ 260 lbs: 18 Tackles, 4.5 Sacks
DL – #99 Bryan Henderson (Jr.) 6’1″ 260 lbs:  25 Tackles, 5.0 Sacks, 1 FF, 3 FR
LB – #23 Aden Miller (Jr.) 5’11” 200 lbs:  36 Tackles, 5.5 Sacks, 2 FF, 1 INT
LB – #33 Jackson Kuwatch (Sr.) 6’4″ 220 lbs: 46 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 3 FF
LB – #44 Kam Vargas (Sr.) 6’1″ 215 lbs: 40 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks
CB – #2 Alex Afari (Jr.) 6’3″ 200 lbs: 11 Tackles, 2 INT, 1 return for TD
Multiple D1 offers including UC, Kentucky, Michigan State, Pitt and Virginia.


COLERAIN CARDINALS (6-2, 4-2 | T-3rd Place in the GMC)

2020 Schedule/Results:

L, 0-10:  8/28 vs. Lakota West (7-0)
W, 30-0:  9/4 @ Oak Hills (1-6)
L, 37-41:  9/11 vs. Princeton (6-2)
W, 42-6:  9/18 vs. Middletown (1-6)
W, 21-7:  9/25 @ Sycamore (1-7)
W, 14-13:  10/2 vs Hamilton (4-4)

Playoffs (#5 Seed):
W, 38-7:  10/9 vs. #12 Milford (3-4)
W, 28-7:  10/16 @ #4 Mason (5-3)
10/23 @ #1 Lakota West (7-0)


Total Offense:  302.6 YPG (5th in GMC)
Rushing Offense:  229.1 YPG (3rd in GMC)
Passing Offense:  73.5 YPG (8th in GMC)
Points per game:  18.0 PPG (5th in GMC)

Offensive Players to watch:
QB – #1 Freddie Johnson (Sr.) 5’11” 175 lbs:  76-412 yds RUSH, 3 TD – 156 yds PASS, 1 TD
RB – #7 Shannon Murray (Sr.) 5’7″ 155 lbs:  21-153 yds RUSH (99 yards last week vs. Mason)
RB – #28 Amere Shannon (Jr.) 6’0″ 170 lbs:  21-146 yds RUSH 1 TD; 4-37 yds REC 1 TD, 2 Fumbles
FB – #9 M.J. Flowers (Jr.) 6’1” 185 lbs:  139-829 yds RUSH, 14 TD, 2 Fumble
WR – #2 Isaiah Myers (Jr.) 6’4” 175 lbs:  13-344 yds REC, 1 TD


Total Defense:  192.1 YPG (2nd in GMC)
Rushing Defense:  64.6 YPG (1st in GMC)
Passing Defense:  127.5 YPG (6th in GMC)
Points allowed per game:  9.6 PPG (2nd in GMC)

Defensive Players to watch:
DL – #58 Dontay Corleone (Sr.) 6’2” 340 lbs:  37 Tackles, 8.0 Sacks, 1 FF   3*** UC Commit
LB – #22 Temesghen Kashay (Jr.) 6’0″ 175lbs:  19 Tackles, 4.0 Sacks
LB – #20 Lavert Jarmon (Jr.) 5’10” 175 lbs:  51 Tackles, 5.0 Sacks, 1 INT
LB – #8 Xander Kendall (Sr.) 6’1” 220 lbs:  39 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks, 1 INT
DB – #10 Sean Williamson (Sr.) 6’ 165 lbs:  35 Tackles, 0.5 Sacks, 2 INT
DB – #4 Brandon Sinclair (Sr.) 6’2″ 185 lbs:  30 Tackles, 2.0 Sacks, 1 INT



Keys to Victory for Colerain

    • OFFENSE:  This is going to be the toughest test of the season for Colerain.  In week one, the Cards were shut out and could only muster 118 TOTAL yards.  Lakota West is LOADED defensively and are holding opponents to a ridiculous 2.9 pts/game and are the #1 ranked defense in the GMC.  They have shut out 4 of their 7 opponents to date.  If Colerain doesn’t want to be the 5th, they are going to have to do better than 1.1 yds/rush they averaged in their last meeting…and they should.  We all know that this offense takes several weeks to get going and this year started off as strange as any in history.  Due to injury, the Cards have gone with 2019 starter FREDDIE JOHNSON at QB the past two weeks and it has resulted in 66 points in two games.  The offense is going to have to play fast and absolutely avoid turnovers.  No one knows the triple option offense better than West Coach Tom Bolden.  His former QB and all-time leading rusher in Colerain High School history, Tyler Williams, is the Colerain Offensive Coordinator.  He is going to have to find a way to orchestrate a game plan that keeps West off-balance on defense and keep the Firebirds guessing as to what is coming next.  WR ISIAH MYERS has been targeted several times the past two weeks, and that should continue.  Although with all-world ALEX AFARI and JYAIRE BROWN in the secondary, getting open is going to be difficult for any Cardinal receivers.  In the end, it’s going to come down to the JOHNSON and FLOWERS show.  JR RB MJ FLOWERS has been a beast this post-season.  In two games, he has 252 yards and 7 TD’s on 42 carries.  Points are going to be at a premium Friday night.


    • DEFENSE/ST:  Another single TD effort turned in by the defense against Mason last week.  They are playing at a high-level and as the #2 defense in the GMC, they are allowing a ridiculous 9.6 PPG, which is basically what they gave up in week one vs. West.  West brings many weapons to the table offensively.  It is all run by Coach Bolden’s youngest son, QB MITCH BOLDEN.  Mitch has improved his turnover problem significantly from a year ago and as a Sophomore, looks like one of the better QBs in the conference.  While stopping the run is going to be key to beating any Coach Bolden offense, the secondary must keep their heads up as the Firebirds love to find multiple times in a game to throw the ball and the trio of LLOYD, RAO & DAVIS can be a nightmare for any defense.  Additionally, the special teams has got to limit the big-play potential of punt and kick off returns.  They have been bit a few times this year and that simply can’t happen on Friday.  Field position is going to be a major point of contention for both teams.  However, the biggest challenge may be the Cardinals themselves.  The defense has been hit with a ton of ticky-tack fouls that extend drives for teams and keeps them on the field longer than they should.  If they eliminate the pre-snap penalties and play a clean game, they will make getting yards very difficult for Lakota West, regardless of who is on the field.


    • Bottom-Line:  It’s hard to believe that the Cardinals are only 1-win away from matching last year’s success with a trip to the Regional Final.  But, that is where we are.  And who is in the way?  None other than the old ball coach Tom Bolden himself.  After wrecking the beginning of the season by ending the Cardinals 87-game GMC winning streak at The Cage in week 1, it kicked off a GMC Championship* season for the Firebirds, going undefeated to-date.  The Cardinals have to put all of that behind them.  At this point, it’s just Lakota West…that’s it.  It’s the next team on the schedule, period.  This is going to be a battle where one turnover or one penalty can make all the difference.  Coaching will be stressed as much as execution.  The team that limits mistakes and takes advantage of mistakes by the other team will win the game.  Everything points to another low-scoring affair with the winner scoring somewhere in the 14-17 point range, most likely.
  • #BeatWest