Tom Bolden said goodbye to several key seniors Friday night, but not in the manner he had hoped. After reeling off 14 straight victories, the Super 25 No. 8 Colerain High (Cincinnati) Cardinals fell short against St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 24-10 in the Division I Ohio football final at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Fourteen seasons after the Cardinals last finished undefeated as state champion, Colerain was stopped cold in the second half. After out-rushing St. Edward 142-37 in the first half, the Cardinals would run for just 29 more yards the rest of the way. Meantime, the victorious Eagles tacked on 155 second-half yards on the ground as Jordan Castleberry finished with a game-high 89 yards and senior quarterback Garrett Dzuro had 76.
Through the air, Dzuro was 12-for-12 with a pair of touchdown passes to Michigan commit Quintel Kent. Kent finished the night with eight grabs for 120 yards. By shutting the Cardinals out 14-0 in the second half, St. Edward racked up their fourth state title and first sine 2015.
“We just didn’t play well enough, that’s all there is to it,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. “It’s one of those that will haunt me for a lifetime.”
Reluctantly, the Cardinals accepted their runner-up trophy. As it was presented, the sobbing was overwhelming as many Cardinals stood disappointed in the chilly Canton night air.
Tom Bolden acknowledged his seniors as he addressed the team, then hugged several. The longest hug came for his senior son Luke playing in his final Colerain game. Many of the Cardinals have played together 10 years or more.
“That one got me good,” Bolden said of his embrace with Luke post-game. “Obviously, I love them all like my children. I only have one more after him, it just seems like yesterday when he was a freshman. That one got me pretty good. Especially when he wants to tell me he’s sorry. That kid’s got nothing to be sorry about, he’s played his rear off.”
Added Luke Bolden, “Of course I wanted to end it on a good note with a state championship. I love him to death. He’s the reason why I am the way I am today. I’m just thankful for my family and my teammates. They just push every single day and I just love them so much.”