PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Colerain vs. Moeller, Regional Final
November 16, 2012Colerain High School/WeAreColerain.com
What: OHSAA Playoffs: Division I, Region IV Final Preview
Key Team and Player Stats/Comments
# - Playoff Game
Offense: (Including Playoffs)
QB - #7 Spencer Iacovone (Sr.) 6’2” 210 lbs: 131/213 for 1,677 yds, 17 TD/7 int, 773 Rush & 10 TD’s
Defense: (Including Playoffs)
DL - #54 Jake McCluskey (Sr.) 6’0” 200 lbs: 6.0 Sacks, 50.5 Tackles (11.5 TFL), 1 FF, 1 FR
COLERAIN CARDINALS (12-0)
# - Playoff Game
Offense: (Regular Season only)
QB - #1 Alfred “LA” Ramsby (Sr.) 5’11” 195 lbs: 1,103 Rush yards, 8.7 AVG, 56/109-1,281 yards (GMC Leader), 28 Total TD/3 INT
Defense: (Regular Season only)
DL - #59 Dae’shaun Durham (Sr.) 6’2” 255 lbs: 2.5 Sacks, 2 FF, 3 FR
Keys to Victory for Colerain
• OFFENSE: THIRD VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Run the ball, control the clock, avoid turnovers. It really is that simple. Colerain has shown offensively that they are as balanced as they have EVER been. They have found themselves down in so many games this year and yet, have fought back to win every single one of them. This offense is dynamic and can both run and pass with great efficiency. But make no mistake, this team is going to win games in November based on their ability to RUN the football and control the clock. Especially against teams like Moeller. The Crusaders allow 174 YPG on the ground. In their losses to common opponents Elder and St. Xavier, they allowed 141 yds and a TD to Elder’s Chris Schroer and 130 yds and a TD to St. Xavier’s CJ Hilliard. Both are mostly straight ahead runners so I would expect to see large doses of FB Jackson Sorn and QB LA Ramsby this game, very similar to the game last week against Elder. Moeller does possess a bit more speed in the secondary and one of the best linebackers in Ohio in Southwest District Defensive POY, Michigan State recruit #8 Shane Jones. No matter how you cut it, this offense is going to need to score AT LEAST 28-35 points if the Cardinals expect to move on to the State Tournament against the Region 3 champion.
• DEFENSE: BEND, BUT DO NOT BREAK – Where to begin? Moeller is an offensive juggernaut. They are almost scoring at will against teams. They are averaging 38.9 pts/game through 12 games against some very impressive opponents. Their bread and butter is clearly the legs of Senior RB and Northwestern recruit #3 Keith Watkins. He averages 7.9 YPC and has speed to burn. Keeping him in front of defenders is going to be a real challenge. Don’t be shocked if he breaks of a long TD run or two during this contest. Of course, no offense can run without a QB and Moeller has a good one in #7, Senior Spencer Iacovone. Spencer is a two year starter and led Moeller to the Regional final last year before bowing out to St. Xavier, 35-21. He is smart, tested and not ready for his season to end. While he doesn’t possess the big arm of last week’s foe (Elder’s Josh Moore), he does possess just over a 60% completion rate and he has some big guys to throw the ball to, mainly WR, and backup QB, #14 Gus Ragland and #89, 6’6” Casey Pieper. When he isn’t throwing the ball, Spencer loves to take off and run. Colerain has had trouble with QB’s who love to take off on delayed runs or after a play has broken down. If that happens too much this week, Spencer will make the defense pay. He’s got 10 rushing TD’s on the year. Overall, forcing Iacovone to beat them is going to be the smart play. Shutting down Watkins will be difficult but must be attempted to shorten the game and get off the field on third down. The key here is to force Moeller to pass and get a turnover or two.
• SPECIAL TEAMS: MAKE THE PLAY – The Cardinals have been very good on special teams this year. While the average observer might not think so given that very few, if any, kickoffs have gone into the endzone this year, the coverage teams on both kickoffs and punts have been excellent. In addition, Jr. K Zac Gehner, along with Long Snapper Sr. Eric Works and holder So. Spencer Henn, have all been excellent on PAT attempts this year. The most unfair thing to ask those involved on Special Teams to be is perfect…yet, that is exactly what they must be. Make the play every time and don’t turn the ball over. If they do that, and most importantly, avoid unnecessary penalties that either hurt Colerain or help Moeller, the offense and defense will be in good position throughout the day to make plays.
Well, this is it. The game that everyone in Cincinnati has waited for all year. It’s #1 vs. #2. It’s GMC vs. GCL. It’s Colerain vs. Moeller. And it’s for the Regional Championship. Colerain is playing for their 5th (6th unofficially) regional championship in school history while Moeller will be playing for their 12th. Colerain last played in this game in 2008, losing to Elder in 2OT, 27-20. For Moeller, it’s the 2nd year in a row they’ve played for the regional crown. The difference? Colerain has won 3 Regional Championships since Moeller’s last one in 1997. These two teams have had quite a history in the past decade, but haven’t met on the field since 2008 when Colerain ended Moeller’s season, winning 17-10 in the playoffs. Both schools are filled with immense pride and sense of tradition and history. Moeller’s, of course, goes all the way back to the school’s inception and the glory days of Coach Faust’s Archbishop Moeller Crusaders as they won 7 State Championships in the 70’s and 80’s. Colerain’s championship history, while not nearly as extensive as Moeller’s, is very impressive in its own right. Crashing the GMC party in 1997, the Cardinals have been a consistent football powerhouse in the region for 20 years, winning their lone state title in 2004 with arguably the best High School Football team the City of Cincinnati has ever seen.
Flip a coin, honestly. These two teams proved throughout the season they were the best in the region. And now they are going to fight it out for 48 minutes to determine who gets to represent Region 4 in the State Semi-Finals. The Cardinals have proven time and time again they can come back from being down, so don’t ever count them out. The Crusaders have shown an offense that at times is as high-powered as any this region has seen in recent memory. The bottom-line line is, which defense is going to get the key stop necessary to give their team’s offense a leg-up in the contest. It will be a classic that NO ONE should miss.