Colerain football coach Tom Bolden didn’t expect the margin of victory that occurred Saturday night.
Neither did his standout quarterback Deshaunte Jones.
But, when the Colerain offense clicked on all cylinders like it did in Saturday night, the Cardinals are awfully difficult to contain.
Colerain defeated St. Xavier 42-14 in a Division I regional quarterfinal played in front of a Time Warner Cable SportsChannel statewide audience and approximately 5,500 at Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium in Mason.
“That’s a heck of a football team,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. “We just kind of grabbed momentum and never let it go.”
The top-seeded Cardinals (11-1) advance to play Elder (9-3), which routed Hilliard Darby in Dayton on Saturday, in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Nov. 21. Cincinnati.com has learned the game will be played in Mason with the official OHSAA announcement on Sunday afternoon.
Nov. 21 will mark the first time Colerain and Elder will play since the second round of the 2012 playoffs.
“Now it’s a Colerain-Elder classic matchup,” Bolden said. “They have a ton offense with Peyton Ramsey and a great coaching staff and his father Doug and their defense is playing well. It will be a battle.”
Jones added to his season highlight reel as one of the elite skill players in the state.
He rushed 15 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns including a 69-yarder to start the fourth quarter on Saturday night. Colerain had 527 yards of total offense including 502 on the ground.
Still, Bolden insisted the defense gets plenty of credit too. Sophomore linebacker Dan Bolden – Tom’s nephew – had a team-high 11 tackles. Juniors Darrian Beavers (seven tackles), Kyle Bolden (seven tackles) and Keontae Jones (six tackles, one sack) also played key roles.
“We got a lot of playmakers on offense but it all goes back to defense,” Bolden said. “They have been playing great all year.”
Colerain senior Zach Johnson scored on a 44-yard touchdown carry with 6:15 left to help give the Cardinals a 42-7 lead and a running clock momentarily. Johnson had nine carries for 120 yards for the game.
Colerain went ahead 28-7 when sophomore Gunnar Leyendecker took a pitch from Jones and ran 62 yards for a touchdown at the 7:26 mark of the third quarter.
Colerain led 21-7 at halftime. Jones had nine carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
The Cardinals had 228 yards of total offense in the first half, including 203 on the ground.
The Cardinals scored on each possession in the first half.
The Cardinals went ahead 7-0 in in the first quarter after the Bombers missed a field on their opening possession.
Colerain junior tailback Monalo Caldwell scored on a 2-yard run and senior Christian Dinevski added the extra point to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead at the 2:31 mark. That score was set up by Jones with a 39-yard run down the sideline.
Caldwell had 20 carries for 92 yards for the game.
The Cardinals took a 14-0 early in the second quarter after Johnson had a 25-yard run to put Colerain near the red zone. Jones scored two plays later on a 21-yard touchdown run at the 11:12 mark.
St. Xavier had to punt on its next possession but the Bombers took advantage of two penalties during the play to get the ball at the Colerain 20.
Then on third-and-goal on the 9, junior quarterback Sean Clifford found senior tight end Brock Davin for a touchdown pass connection as Davin kept his footing in the end zone. St. Xavier senior Connor Maciag added the extra point to close the gap at 14-7.
Colerain went ahead 21-7 after it sustained a long drive on its next possession. Jones scored on a 2-yard run with just 50 seconds left in the first. During the 10-play drive Jones had a 30-yard run and 19-yard pass connection from Jones to senior Johnson.
St. Xavier junior Louie Raines had a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 5:46 left in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 42-14.
St. X coach Steve Specht had a simple message for the senior class on the field after the game.
“They played 25 games in their careers and made a mark on the Long Blue Line,” Specht said. “I just told them I was proud of them and that I loved them.”
Senior defensive back JP Bitzenhofer had a game-high 17 tackles for the Bombers.
Specht gave credit to Colerain but said the defense could’ve played better as a unit.
“They’re good,” Specht said. “Tommy’s good. He has a team that is good enough to win it all. Deshaunte is a difference maker. …I will have to watch film but I didn’t recognize that defense tonight.”
Specht said the offense moved the ball well up and down the field but made too many mistakes.
Specht was also emotional in speaking about his son, senior free safety Hayden Specht.
Hayden Specht was the first to congratulate Bolden at midfield after the game.
“He is a class act and I love him,” Steve Specht. “I am going to miss him. I am just happy I got to spend two years coaching him.”
St. Xavier 0-7-0-7–14
C-Caldwell 2 run (Dinevski kick)
C-Deshaunte Jones 21 run (Dinevski kick)
X-Davin 9 pass from Clifford (Maciag kick)
C-Deshaunte Jones 2 run (Dinevski kick)
C-Leyendecker 62 run (Dinevski kick)
C-Deshaunte Jones 69 run (Dinevski kick)
C-Zach Johnson 44 run (Dinevski kick)
X-Raines 72 kickoff return (Maciag kick)
Records: C 11-1, X 7-5