Playoff Preview: Week 3 vs. Archbishop Moeller Crusaders
November 22, 2013By Chris Himonidis of Colerain High School/WeAreColerain.com
What: OHSAA Playoffs: Division I, Region 2 – Regional Semi-Finals
Key Team and Player Stats/Comments
# - Ohio playoff 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
DL - #11 Chalmer Frueauf (Sr.) 6’2” 250 lbs: 64 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
COLERAIN CARDINALS (12-0)
# - Ohio playoff 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
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
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.
• 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.
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!!