The Colerain (Cincinnati) Cardinals have a goal chart which they reference each week. While winning a state championship is paramount on that list, head coach Tom Bolden said claiming the outright Greater Miami Conference championship is something his team never takes for granted, even after 17 straight seasons.
Senior running back Monalo Caldwell rushed for 98 yards and two TDs as No. 14 Colerain secured its 17th straight GMC title, rolled to a 31-0 victory on a chilly Friday night at Lakota West (West Chester).
“Our focus this week was to win this game and get (the title) outright,” Bolden said. “We’ve won a lot of GMC games since 2000. We want to keep that rolling. That’s one of our goals. It’s part of the process.”
The Cardinals have won or shared every GMC title since 2000. Princeton won or shared 22 straight titles beginning with the league’s inception in 1967.
“Seventeen years is a lot of years of getting it done,” said Caldwell. “We can’t ever come out here expecting to win it. It’s big for the seniors and the community.”
Caldwell now has 13 TDs and 768 rushing yards for the season.
Against an upset-minded league rival, Colerain knew it was important to get off to a fast start. And, any energy the Firebirds could muster on Senior Night evaporated in the game’s first few minutes.
Two plays after linebacker Kyle Bolden recovered a fumble at West’s 18-yard line, Caldwell scored on a 16-yard run putting the Cardinals ahead 7-0.
Caldwell rushed for 59 yards on five carries and a TD in the first half.
“It started with our defense,” Caldwell said. “We got that first fumble … and they gave it to me for that quick touchdown and we kept rolling after that.”
West punted on its second possession. And, after converting a fourth-and-one at the Firebirds’ 40, Ja’von Hicks hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass to put Colerain ahead 14-0.
West’s third fumble of the quarter, and second recovered by Colerain, led to a 36-yard field goal by Ryan Murray to make the score 17-0. Mission accomplished on that fast start.
“We’re going to get everybody’s best shot, and I told the kids we have to be ready to go,” Bolden said. “If you do that to a team early, and let them know you’re here and ready to roll, it goes a long way.”