Moeller edges Colerain, headed to state semis
November 17, 2012Cincinnati Moeller High School
Written by Kevin Goheen
A year ago the Moeller football team was lamenting what could have been after losing a regional championship to a St. Xavier team it had beaten in the regular season. Saturday night the Crusaders celebrated earning another week of practice.
Senior running back Keith Watkins rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown with 4:24 remaining as Moeller ended a 15-year absence from the state semifinals with a 24-21 win against Colerain in the Division I, Region 4 championship game at Nippert Stadium.
Moeller improves to 10-3 on the season and advances to meet Pickerington North (12-1) in the state semifinals next Saturday at a site to be determined. Pickerington North beat Hilliard Davidson 21-0 Saturday night for the Region 3 championship.
Moeller last won a regional championship in 1997 when it reached the state title game before losing to Canton McKinley.
“Last year was a tough one going out against St. X,” said Watkins, who had 32 carries. “We knew this was going to be a battle and that’s what it came down to. This is an amazing feeling just to know that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and have another week of football left.”
Colerain ends its season at 12-1. The Cardinals were the Enquirer Division I poll champions and ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press state poll.
Colerain had beaten Greater Catholic League South teams St. Xavier and Elder in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Moeller had lost to both St. Xavier and Elder in the regular season.
“My heart goes out to those (seniors). I started with 32 of them and I
finished with 32 of them,” said Colerain coach Tom Bolden. “That’s the reason why we’re here. To start a season off with three returners on defense and two guys coming back off knee injuries. We had a lot of questions coming into the year.”
Moeller senior Max Foley returned a punt 75 yards with 3:36 left in the third quarter to give the Crusaders a 17-7 advantage. Foley made three Colerain defenders miss right after he caught the ball and stiff-armed a final would-be tackler around the 20 before reaching the end zone.
“I told myself at the beginning of the year not to fair catch it and I was just fortunate enough to have the best blocking in the state in front of me,” said Foley.
Colerain’s Chris Davis scored twice in the second half. His 1-yard run on a toss pitch to the left with 0:37 left in the third quarter cut the Cardinals’ deficit to three points, 17-14.
Davis caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Alfred Ramsby with 1:23 remaining to provide the final points of the game.
After a missed field goal on Colerain’s opening drive, Moeller marched 80 yards in eight plays and 2:53 on their first drive, capped by senior quarterback Spencer Iacovone’s 3-yard run to give the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
Iacovone jumped over a final Colerain defender and landed on his feet in the end zone. It was his 10th rushing touchdown of the season.
Colerain tied the score with 5:24 left in the first half on a 3-yard run by senior fullback Jackson Sorn, his fifth touchdown of the season. Sorn led Colerain with 84 yards rushing.
Moeller regained the lead with 0:10 left in the half on a 27-yard field goal by kicker Matt Reiniger.
“I felt we had to have a two-score lead on Colerain because they can come back too easy,” said Moeller coach John Rodenberg. “This is what you work for and we beat a great football team. This was a heck of a football team. I just feel good for our players.”
Colerain outgained Moeller 352-287. Colerain entered the game averaging 462 yards and 42.3 points per game, while Moeller was averaging 426 yards and 37.8 points per game.