There is never a shortage of confidence within the Colerain football program. And this season will be no different.
The Cardinals have 17 players returning that started a game last season. A year of game experience and added strength for a very young squad (8-4 record in 2014) has the Cardinals primed for what could be a special season.
Some players have added 20 to 25 pounds since last season.
Senior quarterback Deshaunte Jones – the Greater Miami Conference offensive player of the year in 2014 – feels even more comfortable in the system.
Eight starters return on defense, including senior linebacker Darryll Gardner and junior linebacker Kyle Bolden.
Even with a demanding schedule of Warren Central, La Salle and St. Xavier the first three weeks, no one will underestimate Colerain.
“We do have a swag about us – there is no doubt about that,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said in late July. “We are going to play great competition because we think we’ve got a chance to be a great football team. We don’t hide from that stuff.”
Bolden senses a different vibe in practice late this summer. The Cardinals understand the talent they have.
“We were really young last year so we are developing,” Colerain senior lineman Desmond Noel said. “You can see the difference this year. You can definitely see it’s more of a team. People are together.”
Noel, who is 6 feet 4 and 290 pounds, has an offer from Ohio University and was scheduled to make some visits late this summer.
Jones, one of the area’s top players in the 2016 class, rushed for 1,026 yards and 12 touchdowns. He threw for 1,449 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I think I am more experienced at quarterback and I think I am more calmed down and I know the situations and I know what I am doing,” said Jones, who is considering UC and Louisville at the wide receiver position.
Bolden said he can’t wait to see what his quarterback will do on the field.
“You’ve got Deshaunte, who’s got a year of quarterback under his belt; he’s just got a whole different look,” Bolden said. “He played about as bad as he could play that first game of the year against La Salle (in 2014). Then he got better each game. It’s kind of scary this year he is just oozing confidence.”
The Cardinals also have excellent playmakers in junior fullback Monalo Caldwell, senior running back Zach Johnson and senior offensive lineman/tight end Nathan Niehaus.
Junior wide receiver Darrian Beavers and sophomore wide receiver Javon Hicks will be players to watch.
Besides Kyle Bolden (Tom’s son) and Gardner on defense – both of whom have multiple scholarship offers – sophomore middle linebacker Daniel Bolden (Kyle’s cousin), junior linebacker Ryan Davis, junior defensive back Amir Riep (multiple offers), junior cornerback Kevin Hyde and junior defensive back Keonte Jones will be players to watch.
Noel said the Cardinals have plenty of energy and motivation and are perfecting their technique at this point of the summer.
“Every practice counts,” Noel said. “I’ve got to get my people together. I’ve got to my teammates together as a team so we can get this championship.”
Players to watch
Deshaunte Jones, Colerain: The senior quarterback rushed for 1,026 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He threw for 1,449 yards and 17 touchdowns. Jones was the GMC offensive player of the year in 2014.
A’Shon Riggins, Hamilton: The Indiana commit will likely see time at quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver for the Big Blue. He was first-team all-GMC last season.
T.J. Jemison, Lakota East: The senior quarterback ran for 952 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Thunderhawks last season. He’s an excellent offensive threat for East.
Kyle Bolden, Colerain: The junior linebacker has several scholarship offers including UC, Indiana and others. He had 107 tackles as a sophomore. He was first-team all-GMC in 2014.
Vincent Calhoun, Middletown: The senior free safety had 102 tackles, three pass breakups and three interceptions last season. He was first-team all-GMC and has multiple scholarship offers.
Greater Miami Conference teams
Teams listed in alphabetical order.
2014 record: 8-4 (7-0 GMC).
Key players: Sr. QBJones; Jr. FB Caldwell; Sr. RB Johnson; Sr. OL/TE Nathan Niehaus; Sr. OL/DL Desmond Noel; Jr. WR Beavers; . WR Hicks; . MLB Daniel ; Sr. LB Gardner; Jr. LB Ryan Davis; Jr. DB Amir ; Jr. CB Kevin Hyde; Jr. DB Jones; Sr. P Christian .
Game to watch: vs. Warren Central Aug.<TH>29.
Outlook: Colerain has 17 players returning that started a game last season. There were well over 100 players on the roster this spring. This Cardinals squad is in a much different position than last summer when it had to replace 15 starters from the 2013 season. Jones, one of the area’s top recruits, returns for his second year at quarterback. There are eight starters returning on defense including Kyleand Gardner.
Aug. 29 – Warren Central (Ind.), 8. (at UC)
Sept. 4 – St. Xavier
Sept. 11 – at La Salle
Sept. 18 – at Mason
Sept. 25 – Middletown
Oct. 2 – at Fairfield
Oct. 9 – Lakota West
Oct. 16 – at Lakota East
Oct. 23 – Hamilton
Oct. 30 – at Oak Hills
2014 record: 6-4 (4-3 GMC).
Key players: Sr. QB Hunter; Sr. WR T.C. Wells; Jr. slot/RB James Mitchell; Sr. RB David Keeling; Sr. C Adam ; Sr. S Mitchell Larsen; Jr. CB Josiah Scott; Sr. OLB Josh Weaver; . ILB/DL ; Sr. DT Micah ; Sr. DT Todd Ross; Jr. K McGuire.
Game to watch: vs. <TH>28.Aug.
Outlook: The Indians have 36 seniors and there is plenty of talent and leadership on this squad. The defense is the strength of the team and there are plenty of playmakers. Larsen has Mid-American Conference offers. Malik Vann, who is 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, has an early offer from UC. McGuire, who is 6-1 and 220 pounds, had an excellent summer. Jason Krause wants his group to get tougher and faster and has emphasized that this summer. Hunter Krause weighed 204 pounds in June as opposed to 182 last year. He will improve his velocity and ability to run because of his weight.
Aug. 28 –
Sept. 4 – at
Sept. 11 – Dublin
Sept. 18 – at Sycamore
Sept. 25 – Mason
Oct. 2 – Colerain
Oct. 9 – at Lakota East
Oct. 16 – Princeton
Oct. 23 – at Oak Hills
Oct. 30 – at Hamilton
Coach: Chad Murphy (18-33)
2014 record: 0-10 (0-7 GMC).
Key players: Sr. QB Steve Cunningham; Jr. QB/RB Eric Jackson; Sr. RB Isaiah; Sr. QB/WR/DB ; Jr. WR Vince Sanford; Sr. OL Drew Baker; Jr. OL Jacob ; Jr. OL Grant ; Sr. DL Joey ; . DL Jason Smith; Sr. LB Jesse Vaughn; Jr. LB/DL Brian .
Game to watch: vs. Lakota East Sept.<TH>18.
Outlook: Hamilton is entering its third season under the direction of Murphy and there is reason for optimism this season. Murphy said the Big Blue could surprise some people. He likes the commitment, leadership and work ethic., one of the area’s top recruits in the 2016 class, has elevated his game and is verbally committed to Indiana. is a three-year starter. Cunningham played a significant amount of time as a junior. Jackson started four games as a freshman. “We have a lot of work to do,” Murphy said. “I really believe we have a great group of kids.”
Aug. 28 – Milford
Sept. 4 – at
Sept. 11 – at Kings
Sept. 18 – Lakota East
Sept. 25 – at Princeton
Oct. 2 – Oak Hills
Oct. 9 – at Middletown
Oct. 16 – Lakota West
Oct. 23 – at Colerain
Oct. 30 – Fairfield
Coach: Rick Haynes (29-25)
2014 record: 9-3 (5-2 GMC).
Key players: Sr. QB TJ; Sr. OL Dalton ; Sr. OL JT ; Sr. OL Nick ; Sr. RB ; Jr. FB Tyler Glenn; Sr. TE Austin Hatfield; Sr. DT Hunter ; Sr. LB Fisher; Jr. DB Preston Gamble; Jr. P/RB Tyler .
Game to watch: at Loveland Aug.<TH>28
Outlook: The Thunderhawks return plenty of starters this season and this is a group that has solid postseason experience., who is 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds, returns at quarterback and has received solid college interest. , who is 6-6 and 275 pounds, is verbally committed to Miami University. , who is 6-2 and 290, is committed to James Madison. Lakota East lost three impact linebackers but Haynes will have this group contending for a GMC title.
Aug. 28 – at Loveland
Sept. 4 – atNorth, 7:30 .
Sept. 11 –
Sept. 18 – at Hamilton
Sept. 25 – Sycamore
Oct. 2 – at Mason
Oct. 9 – Fairfield
Oct. 16 – Colerain
Oct. 23 – at Princeton
Oct. 30 – Lakota West
Coach: Larry Cox (116-91)
2014 record: 7-6 (4-3 GMC). Division: I
Key players: Sr. OLMcCarthy; Sr. OL Tim Tanner-Blair; Sr. G Jake Masters; Sr. OL Luke Brown; Jr. OL Cameron ; Sr. OL Nutter; Jr. OL Brian Qua; Sr. TE Bobby ; Jr. WR Payton ; Jr. WR Sam Williams; Sr. WR Nathan Wyatt; Jr. WR Ross; Jr. WR Horton; Sr. WR Anthony Pierre; Jr. WR Will Nguyen; Jr. RB Robinson; Sr. RB Danny ; Jr. RB B.J. Henderson; Sr. RB-DB Sean ; Sr. QB Justin ; Jr. QB Tyler Bridges; Jr. QB Tony White; Jr. DL AJ ; Jr. DL Tyler Green; Sr. DL Andrew ; Jr. DL Singh; . DE Daniel ; Sr. DL Jared Davis; Jr. LB Clayton Bell; Sr. LB Michael ; Jr. LB Blake Stone; Sr. CB Long; Jr. DB Marcos ; Sr. SS ; Sr. CB Derek Adkins; Sr. CB/S/LB Ryan ; Sr. K Jack Nguyen
Game to watch: vs. Elder Sept.<TH>4.
Outlook: Lakota West likes to emphasize the offensive and defensive lines and the Firebirds will be solid in both areas this season despite the graduation losses of key players on both sides of the ball. Robinson, a hybrid running back/slot receiver is capable of making big plays. He caught 51 passes for 658 yards last season., who has several scholarship offers, may see time in the backfield. The Firebirds are very deep at the receiver position. , Bridges and White each bring quality characteristics to the quarterback position and the starter may not be named until the final scrimmage. Lakota West was a regional semifinalist last season and the bar has been raised within the program. The players understand that and have responded with good chemistry. There are over 40 juniors in the program so the Firebirds will be enter the season with solid experience.
Aug. 28 – Canton
Sept. 4 – Elder
Sept. 11 – at Huber Heights Wayne
Sept. 18 – Princeton
Sept. 25 – at Oak Hills
Oct. 2 – Middletown
Oct. 9 – at Colerain
Oct. 16 – at Hamilton
Oct. 23 – Sycamore
Oct. 30 – at Lakota East
2014 record: 7-3 (5-2 GMC).
Key players: Sr. S Ty; Sr. LB Simmons; Sr. LB Michael O’Brien; Jr. DE/TE Alex King; Sr. C Justin Mullins; Jr. QB Preston Hutchinson; Sr. RB White; Sr. CB Nick Pearson; Sr. DB/PR/KR .
Game to watch: at <TH>28.Aug.
Outlook: The Comets will be led defensively by Sponseller, who is 6-3 and 193 pounds and is a UC verbal commit. King, who is 6-3 <AF>1/2<XA> and 220 pounds, is one of the area’s top players to watch in the 2017 class. Just three starters return on offense but that does include Hutchinson. Castner said he’s been emphasizing discipline and a strong mindset entering the season.
Aug. 28 – at
Sept. 4 – Upper Arlington, 7:30.
Sept. 11 – at Winton Woods
Sept. 18 – Colerain
Sept. 25 – at Fairfield
Oct. 2 – Lakota East
Oct. 9 – at Princeton
Oct. 16 – Oak Hills
Oct. 23 – at Middletown
Oct. 30 – Sycamore
Coach: Chris Wells (18-21)
2014 record: 4-6 (3-4 GMC).
Key players: Sr. FS Vincent Calhoun; Sr. CB Ethan Edwards; Sr.Daniel Fitzgerald; Sr. DL ; Sr. C Cameron Joseph; Sr. OT Matt ; Sr. QB Patterson; Sr. DB Preston; Sr. LB Rose; Sr. LB Jamar Thomas; Sr. TB Simmons; Jr. DL Gary ; Jr. DB Marquis Petty; Jr. WR Will Thomas; Jr. CB Cameron Winding; Jr. RB Wright; . QB ; . QB Blake Marshall; . WR Xavier Peters; Jr. K/P Cole Smith; Jr. K SA Collins.
Game to watch: at Colerain Sept.<TH>25.
Outlook: Six starters return on offense and seven on defense for the Middies. Middletown needs to improve upon the offensive line and special teams this season. Wells likes the selfless attitude of the team and there has been a strong work ethic in the weight room. “Our guys are doing things right,” Wells said. Calhoun, who is 5-feet-11 and 175 pounds, has multiple scholarship offers and the Middies use him on kick and punt returns. Three players were competing for the quarterback position this summer, including Marshall, who is the younger brother of Ohio State’sMarshall.
Aug. 29 – Lima Senior
Sept. 4 –Bradley
Sept. 11 – at, 7:30 .
Sept. 18 – Oak Hills
Sept. 25 – at Colerain
Oct. 2 – at Lakota West
Oct. 9 – Hamilton
Oct. 16 – at Sycamore
Oct. 23 – Mason
Oct. 30 – at Princeton
Coach: Evan(first season with Oak Hills, 43-19 overall)
2014 record: 2-8 (2-5 GMC).
Key players: Sr. CB Caleb; Sr. LB Francis; Sr. DL Ben McGinnis; Sr. LB Tyler Parrish; Jr. S Tony ; Sr. OLB Sawyer ; Sr. OL Matt ; Sr. RB/WR David ; Jr. WR Kyle ; Jr. WR Cam Neighbor; Jr. QB Cooper Scholz; . QB Jake .
Game to watch: at Elder Aug.<TH>28
Outlook:is optimistic in his first season with the Highlanders after spending six seasons with Western Brown. There were over 200 youth campers in June and a new staff and identity had hopeful as August approached. “We are going to build this program from the bottom up,” he said. is expected to be the leader of the defense. Watch for Francis, McGinnis and Parrish. is a and Oak Hills wants to receive the ball in space. The offense is mostly young and unproven and underclassmen will be expected to step up. Scholz and were competing for the quarterback position as of mid-June.
Aug. 28 – at Elder
Sept. 4 – at Harrison
Sept. 11 – Loveland
Sept. 18 – at Middletown
Sept. 25 – Lakota West
Oct. 2 – at Hamilton
Oct. 9 – Sycamore
Oct. 16 – at Mason
Oct. 23 – Fairfield
Oct. 30 – Colerain
Coach: Calvin Johnson
2014 record: 2-8 (1-6 GMC).
Key players:. QB Rafael Floyd; Jr. QB Terrence Smith; Jr. OL Samson ; Sr. OL Noah Jasper; Jr. WR McCray; Jr. DL Jamal Hines
Game to watch: vs. Winton Woods Aug.<TH>28.
Outlook: The Vikings will be much improved this season, Johnson said. He really likes the talent of the junior class. Hines, who is 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds, led the GMC with eight sacks last season. He attended Michigan’s camp this summer. Floyd is the first in the weight room and last to leave, Johnson said. Floyd and Smith were competing for the quarterback position this summer. Smith, a Winton Woods transfer, is a “game changer,” Johnson said. Hairston, who is 6-feet-3 and 265 pounds, will be a key offensive lineman. Johnson said he has continued to emphasize trust, care and commitment to the squad and he likes how the team has responded.
Aug. 28 – Winton Woods
Sept. 4 – at Walnut Hills
Sept. 10 – at Dunbar
Sept. 18 – at Lakota West
Sept. 25 – Hamilton
Oct. 2 – at Sycamore
Oct. 9 – Mason
Oct. 16 – at Fairfield
Oct. 23 – Lakota East
Oct. 30 – Middletown
2014 record: 6-4 (4-3 GMC).
Key players: Jr. QB Jake; Jr. RB Bonner; Sr. RB Clarence Dawson; Sr. OL Chris ; Sr. OL Justin Backus; Sr. OL Ricky ; Sr. OL Ben ; Sr. WR ; Sr. DL Andrew Waters; . DL Tate Goodyear; Sr. LB Gary ; Jr. LB Grant Young; Sr. DB Cobbs
Game to watch: vs. Mount Healthy Aug.<TH>28
Outlook: The Aviators return plenty of experience and talent this season. There are five starters returning on defense. The offense is experienced. Bonner and Dawson rushed for more than 1,000 yards each in 2014.said the commitment level is much better this summer as opposed to this time in 2014. The Aviators narrowly missed the playoffs and this squad is eager to reach the postseason. Sycamore will face a significant test early with three non-league home games in Mount Healthy, Covington Catholic and .
Aug. 28 – Mount Healthy
Sept. 4 – Covington Catholic, 7:30.
Sept. 11 –, 7:30 .
Sept. 18 – Fairfield
Sept. 25 – at Lakota East
Oct. 2 – Princeton
Oct. 9 – at Oak Hills
Oct. 16 – Middletown
Oct. 23 – at Lakota West
Oct. 30 – at Mason
*All games are Fridays at 7. unless otherwise noted