COLERAIN TWP. – The word “rebuild” isn’t in the Colerain High School football dictionary, but head coach Tom Bolden admits this season is a little different.
After graduating 14 All-Greater Miami Conference performers a season ago, the Cardinals have just 15 total seniors in the program as they prepare to challenge for their 14th straight conference title and 15th in 16 years dating back to 1998 season.
“Going into the (2013) season we graduated 15 starters, but yet we had some seniors that had kind of waited their turn,” Bolden said Aug. 19 between two-a-day practices. “… Now we have to replace 15 starters again, but now we’re having to replace them with some young ones. It’s a different process from that standpoint because there’s a much great learning curve. The talents there, but it’s just a different learning curve.”
The replacement process begins under center with the quarterback battle between senior Spencer Henn and junior Dashaunte Jones. Both are taking reps with the first team, and Bolden expects both to play big-time roles within the offense, no matter where they are on the field. Jones was the team’s second-leading receiver last season with 132 yards and a touchdown on six receptions, while Henn didn’t attempt a pass, but rushed 10 times for 47 yards.
“It’s one of those things where I think going into it, and I’ve told them this, they both have to be ready,” the coach said. “Dashaunte does some things athletically that Spencer can’t do, but yet Spencer’s got several years of it under his belt, so there’s kind of a balance there with it. I feel comfortable with either one and the thing is it’s not like one isn’t going to be somewhere offensively helping us make an impact.”
Providing the experience offensively is senior center, Kendall Strader, and senior running back, Jordan Asberry. They are two of the Cards’ four team captains, and while Asberry’s been Bolden’s “go-to guy” and the team’s “rock,” it all starts up front with Strader.
“He’s the guy that sees it all and lets us know if we have an odd front, an even front and all that kind of stuff,” added Bolden. “Kendall has a wonderful personality and he, and all four of our captains that I have this year, are all guys that the other guys look up to.”
Defensively, look for a big season from senior linebacker, Demetrius Colbert. He was second on the team last season with three sacks en route to earning first-team All-GMC honors. As one of two defensive captains this season (the other being defensive back Mayne Williams), Colbert’s just trying to take what he learned last year under the tutelage of Tegray Scales (Indiana University) to the field this season.
“I’m just trying to keep the guys in line and tell them how to be a Colerain football player,” Colbert said. “I took a lot of initiative last year and last year’s class walked us and showed us the way. They led by example and we followed. That’s what I’m trying to do this year.”
Aug. 29: Vs. La Salle, 8:30 p.m. (Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Yager Stadium, Miami University)
Sept. 5: At St. Xavier, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12: Vs. Trinity (KY)
Sept. 19: Vs. Fairfield
Sept. 26: At Lakota West
Oct. 3: Vs. Lakota East
Oct. 10: At Hamilton
Oct. 17: Vs. Princeton
Oct. 24: At Sycamore
Oct. 31: Vs. Oak Hills