PIQUA, Ohio — The well-oiled Colerain machine is just one victory away from long-awaited glory.
A potential end to a 13-season championship drought is a mere 48 minutes away for the Cardinals (14-0) after they punched their ticket to Canton with a 28-14 victory over defending state champion Pickerington Central Friday night in a Division I state semifinal at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium.
It’s a sweet feeling of vindication and an early birthday present for Colerain head coach Tom Bolden, who will turn 49 on Sunday and was an assistant coach in 2004 on Colerain’s lone championship unit before taking the reigns in January 2007. Under Bolden, the Cardinals carried an 0-2 state-semifinal record going into Friday’s Final Four bout, but the monkey was finally lifted off the 12th-year coach’s back when quarterback Deante Smith-Moore ran in the game-sealing touchdown from a yard out with 1:16 remaining.
“I’m just so proud of the kids,” said Bolden, who is 22-10 overall in the playoffs at Colerain. “It’s a little surreal now. It’s been 12 years of grinding it out. I was an assistant in ’04 when we went. It means we get the chance to do something special.”
Colerain quarterback Deante Smith-Moore added: “This all I have dreamed of since I was kid – coming to Colerain and getting back to where we haven’t been in a really long time.”