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Playoff Preview: Week 3 vs. Archbishop Moeller Crusaders

November 22, 2013
By Chris Himonidis of Colerain High School/WeAreColerain.com



Chris Himonidis

WeAreColerain.com

 

What:             OHSAA Playoffs:  Division I, Region 2 – Regional Semi-Finals
Who:              Colerain Cardinals, GMC Champions (12-0) vs. Archbishop Moeller Crusaders, GCL South Champions (11-1)
Where:           Dwire Field @ Mason Middle School, 6370 Mason-Montgomery Rd., Mason OH 45040
When:            Saturday November 23, 2013 @ 7:00 PM
Internet:        LIVE AUDIO - WeAreColerain.com (CLICK HERE)
Television:   LIVE TV– Time Warner Cable Sports Channel

 

 Key Team and Player Stats/Comments


Moeller Crusaders (11-1)
Head Coach:  John Rodenberg

2013 Schedule/Results:
W – Pike (IN) (7-5), 37-33
W – Covington Catholic (KY) (10-2), 45-7
W – St. Michael’s College (ON) (2-6), 64-13
W – St. Xavier (KY) (7-5), 24-12
W – St. Xavier (5-6), 20-17 ot
W – La Salle (3-7), 31-28
W – Elder (9-3), 35-14
L – St. Edward (10-1), 42-45
W – Trinity (KY) (6-5), 42-14
# W – St. Xavier (5-6), 42-17
# W – Elder (9-3), 24-0

# - Ohio playoff game

Key Players

Offense:
412 YPG (254 Rush/158 Pass); 38 Pts/game

QB - #14 Gus Ragland (Sr.) 6’3” 205 lbs:  102/164 for 1,657 yds, 18 TD/5 int, 1,153 yards rushing, 21 TD
RB - #2 Jack Gruber (Sr.) 5’10” 190 lbs:  597 yards rushing, 4.8 AVG yards per carry, 2 TD
RB - #25 Dean Meyer (Sr.) 5’10” 210 lbs:  513 yards rushing, 5.3 AVG yards per carry, 6 TD
WR - #7 Isaiah Gentry (Sr.) 6’4” 180 lbs:  35 rec 887 yards, 8 TD’s
WR - #4 Chase Pankey (Jr.) 6’1” 180 lbs:  26 rec 432 yards, 7 TD’s

Defense:
305 YPG (129 Rush/177 YPG); 20 Pts/game

DL - #11 Chalmer Frueauf (Sr.) 6’2” 250 lbs:  64 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
DL - #58 Elijah Taylor (Jr.) 6’3” 275 lbs:  53 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FR
LB - #8 Will Mercurio (Sr.) 6’2” 196 lbs: 55 tackles, 7 int/2 TD
DB - #6 Sam Hubbard (Sr.) 6’6” 225 lbs: 74 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 3 int…committed to Ohio State
K - #1 Matthew Coghlin (So.) 5’10” 175 lbs:  8/10 FG long of 44, 54/54 XP…1st Team Southwest District

 

COLERAIN CARDINALS (12-0)
2013 Schedule/Results:
W – Park Vista (FL) (7-2), 45-27
W – St. Xavier (5-5), 31-19
W – Trinity (KY) (4-5), 42-28
W – Lakota East (5-5), 35-7
W – Hamilton (1-9), 57-7
W – Princeton (4-6), 56-38
W – Sycamore (6-4), 40-22
W – Mason (3-7), 63-14
W – Middletown (1-9), 49-10
W - Oak Hills (5-5), 29-17
# W – Springboro (9-2), 41-14
# W – Pickerington Central (8-3), 38-20

# - Ohio playoff game

Key Players

Offense:
458 YPG (391 Rush/67 Pass); 45 Pts/game

QB - #10 Kelvin Cook (Sr.) 5’9” 152 lbs:   1,584 Rush yards, 7.8 AVG, 34/57-788 yards, 30 Total TD/2 INT
FB - #2 De tuan Smith (Sr.) 5’5” 185 lbs:  1,685 Rush yards, 8.9 AVG, 21 Total TD
RB - #9 TJ Dula (Sr.) 5’8” 170 lbs:  561 Total yards, 6 Total TD (4 rush/2 pass)
RB - #3 Jordan Asberry (Jr.) 5’10” 173 lbs:  628 yards rush/134 yards REC, 9 Rush TD

Defense:
261 YPG (109 Rush/152 YPG); 19 Pts/game

DL - #62 Jacob Todd (Sr.) 5’9” 315 lbs:  1 Sack…big NG takes up two blockers and can create disruption in backfield on any play
DB - #30 Ryan Williamson (Sr.) 5’11” 180 lbs:  5 INT for 130 yards (1 TD)…Leads GMC in interceptions
DB - #28 Jalen Christian (Sr.) 5’9” 170 lbs:  4 INT, 1 FR…teams with brother Jeff in the secondary as ball-hawking DB’s
LB - #8 Tegray Scales (Sr.) 6’2” 212 lbs:  5.0 Sacks, 1 FF, 3 FR, 2 INT (1 TD)…big hitter in the middle with multiple D1 offers
LB - #13 Darryl Gardner (So.) 5’10” 185 lbs:  2.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 3 INT, (1 TD)…the “Super Soph” is the rare Sophomore who can start for the Cards

 

Keys to Victory for Colerain

• OFFENSE:  PROTECT THE BALL / LIMIT PENALTIES – Keeping the same offensive theme as last week as it is going to be doubly important this week to avoid turnovers.  Possessions are going to be at a premium as the Cardinals are going to find themselves in a shootout.  The need to score on almost every drive is going to cause added pressure in an already pressure-filled game.  Moeller has a quick strike offense and giving them short fields due to turnovers is a recipe for disaster.  Hand in hand with turnovers is the need to severely limit the penalties.  In total (offense & defense), the Cards have committed 15 penalties for 244 yards in 2 playoff games.  That’s an average of 8 penalties for over 120 yards/game.  This simply cannot happen vs. Moeller.  Their defense is good enough that putting the offense in 1st and long or 3rd or long situations will be very detrimental.

  • Protect the Ball
  • Eliminate Turnovers
  • Long, sustained scoring drives

• DEFENSE:  FOCUS ON RAGLAND – Moeller has weapons all over the field, but their biggest, by far and without question is Ragland.  A converted WR destined to play QB, Gus Ragland is a 3-sport star who is big (6’3” 205 lbs) and fast.  Last week he had a 69-yard TD run against Elder.  As the QB, he averages 105 YPG on the ground and 150 YPG through the air.  He is a one-man wrecking crew that in the last 4 games vs. St. Xavier (Playoffs), Elder (Playoffs), Trinity and St. Edward, has amassed 11 TD rushing, 7 TD passing and 1,265 yards of offense...in 4 games!  RB’s Gruber and Meyer will get the ball but they don’t present the challenge Ragland does.  Pankey and especially Gentry late in the year have become the favorite targets of Ragland through the air.  And of course, they are 6’1” and 6’4” respectively, providing a real challenge to our secondary.  The Christian’s (Jeff and Jalen) and Williamson have been tremendous ball hawks all year and they are going to be tested with the vertical passing attack of the Crusaders.  All of these are weapons are complimentary to the main driver of this offense…Gus Ragland.

  • Never lose sight of Ragland
  • Don’t get beat deep
  • Force at least 2 Moeller punts

Bottom-Line

This is it.  The game for which the city has been waiting since Colerain and Moeller were #1 and #2 in the pre-season coach’s poll in August has finally arrived.  Moeller is the defending Ohio Division 1 State Champion and they look every bit the part.  They are massive in the trenches and have experienced skill players playing at a very high level at every position.  Oh, and they have a Sophomore kicker who was just named Southwest District 1st Team.  They are seasoned through playing a tough schedule and are 5-0 vs. the GCL South this season.  What else can be said about Moeller?  Impressive?  Yes.  Confident?  Yes.  Unbeatable?  Absolutely not.

The Cardinals bring to the table a contrasting offensive style that will cause the Moeller defense to play much faster than they would prefer.  The speed and athleticism that Cook, DSM, Asberry, Dula and the entire offense brings to the table is what separates them from Moeller’s past opponents.  Where they had a player or two who could make defenders miss, Colerain has several.  Without question, Colerain will bring a level of football to the table that Moeller has not yet seen.  Yes, the Cardinals are smaller.  But they have experienced Senior leaders on both sides of the ball that have brought this team back from deficits a few times already this season, most recently last week when Colerain trailed Pickerington Central 10-0 late in the first half.  Defensively, the Cardinals may be forced to take chances to create turnovers.  Blitzing Ragland won’t work as he’ll likely take off for big gains.  He must be contained and allowed to make mistakes on his own, which he has done with 9 TO’s on his own this season. 

It’s an uphill struggle for the Cardinals this week, no question about it.  But this team has something special about them.  Something that doesn’t allow them to ever think they are out of a game.  Great Senior leadership will be necessary along with the best football they have played all year if the Cardinals hope to advance to the State Semi-finals.  Do they have it in them?  Absolutely!!

 

We Are…Colerain!!!


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