The No. 15 Colerain (Cincinnati) football team extended its winning streak in Greater Miami Conference play to 55 straight with a 30-16 win over visiting Mason Friday night at Cardinal Stadium in Colerain Township, but it wasn’t easy.
The upset-minded Comets led most of the first half while taking a 9-0 lead but were outscored 23-0 until scoring again and pulling to within 23-16 with 5:44 to play.
Mason forced a Colerain third-and-five attempt from the Cardinals’ 25 late in the fourth quarter, but Colerain converted then got a 37-yard run from tailback JJ Davis down to the Mason 22.
Running back Monalo Caldwell’s three-yard touchdown run ended the suspense and gave Colerain a 29-16 lead. Ryan Murray’s extra-point kick with 2:28 to play set the final score.
“We got down and took their best shot,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. “That’s a good football team, but for our guys it was all about the big game.”
The unbeaten Cardinals improved to 6-0 and 3-0 in the GMC. Mason dropped to 4-2, 2-1 in the conference.
The Comets are ranked fifth locally and fifth in the D-1 Region 4 computer rankings.
Colerain has not lost a GMC regular-season game since 2008.
“We had to dig down deep,” Colerain wide receiver Ja’von Hicks said. “We wanted to keep that streak going.”
Mason took advantage of early Colerain turnovers and put together the first two scoring drives in the opening quarter. Mason defensive back Cole Pearce was in on both turnovers, causing the first one with a hit that forced a fumble then corralling the recovery.
One play later, Mason quarterback Preston Hutchinson found running back James Grace with a 74-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown at the 6:19 mark. The attempted 2-point conversion pass failed for a 6-0 Comets lead.
Pearce came up with another recovery following Colerain’s second fumble on second-and-four from the Mason 45. Hutchinson completed a 14-yard pass to Cameron Buford on first down. Tailback Matt Sora ran for 19 yards.
The Colerain defense stiffened over the next five plays, forcing a field goal attempt by the Comets. Andrew Hauer converted a 34-yard kick for a 9-0 Mason lead with 20 seconds left in the quarter.
Colerain didn’t get on the scoreboard until 7:15 remaining in the second quarter. The Cardinals put together a 13-play, 57-yard drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Caldwell, the first of his three TDs on the night. The extra-point kick failed. Mason led, 9-6
The teams traded punts. Colerain got the ball back with less than a minute to go in the half and made the most of the opportunity, scoring on a 61-yard TD pass from Deante Smith-Moore to Hicks for the Cardinals’ first lead. Ryan Murray booted the extra-point kick for a 13-9 Colerain advantage with 11 seconds to go before the break.
Colerain outgained Mason in first-half total yards, 227-117 and had 12 first downs compared to just three for the Comets.
Colerain defensive back Kevin Hyde’s interception ended Mason’s opening drive of the second half and set up the next score, a Murray 32-yard field goal for a 16-9 Colerain lead.
Colerain outgained Mason in total yards, 451-180 after holding the Comets to 63 second-half yards.