Ohio football playoffs preview: Moeller vs. Colerain

Repeat or revenge in D-I regional final?

DIVISION I, Region 2

Colerain (12-0) vs. Moeller (11-1)

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 23  @, 7 p.m at Mason HS

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UPDATE: No tickets will be sold at the gate.

Moeller took down undefeated Colerain last fall on its way to a state title. The Cardinals would like nothing better than to avenge that loss. High school football doesn’t get any better than what Southwest Ohio has to offer this weekend. Two of the country’s Top 25 teams, Moeller and Colerain, face off in what could be an epic battle.

The eyes of a nation will be fixated on what happens at Mason High School on Saturday night. This contest isn’t about winning and losing -- it is about pride. Cincinnati gets to showcase its best public and private schools and when it is all said and done you can bet that these two squads will do the city proud.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This game features Moeller quarterback Gus Ragland, the 2013 Division I Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year, and Colerain linebacker Tegray Scales, the 2013 Division I Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year.

These teams also boast five more First Team Southwest District Offensive team members: Receiver Isaiah Gentry, lineman Jarred Jacon-Duffy, and kicker Matt Coghlin of Moeller and running back DeTuan Smith-Moore and Ross Demmel from Colerain. Joining Scales on the First Team defense were Ohio State commit and Moeller defensive back Sam Hubbard and  teammate D-lineman Chalmer Freuauf.

Ragland is the gas that makes the Crusaders go. The senior has accounted for 2,820 yards of total offense (1,657 passing, 1,153 rushing) and 39 touchdowns (18 passing, 21 rushing) in 11 games. Colerain quarterback Kelvin Cook has run for 1,584 yards, while Smith-Moore leads the Cardinals with 1,685 yards rushing. Each has found the end zone 18 times on the ground.

Coghlin has been money for Moeller in the event the game comes down to a kick or two. The Crusaders have an advantage with a sophomore who appears to have ice in his veins.

TEAM TRENDS: Colerain has lost once in its last 25 games and that was to Moeller in last season's regional championship game. Cardinals head coach Tom Bolden is 76-9 in his seven seasons at the helm. Five of his losses have come in the postseason. He has never led his troops past the third round of the playoffs.

Moeller head coach John Rodenberg is looking to solidify his position as one of the best leaders in the 21st century. Rodenberg is looking to capture his third state title in seven years. He won it all with the Crusaders last season and on the other side of the river at Covington Catholic in 2006.

COLERAIN’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Cardinals came out sluggish on both sides of the ball last Saturday night against Pickerington Central before they hit second gear. A poor start this weekend and Moeller will be relentless in trying to keep Colerain down. They have to play football for the full 48 minutes in this affair.

MOELLER’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Crusaders' most underrated strength is their biggest asset, their linemen - on both sides of the ball. Getting push up front and winning in the trenches is what this Big Moe team is all about. Line play can carry a team far at this time of year. It is a luxury that very few squads have and expect it to work to Moeller’s advantage on Saturday night.

PREDICTION: Moeller 27, Colerain 21

 

DIVISION III, Region 12

#1 West Jefferson (11-1) vs. #3 Badin (10-2) @ Clayton Northmont HS - Saturday at 7 p.m. – These two schools have 38 post-season appearances between them yet neither has won a regional title since 1998. Badin,  in the playoffs for the 20th time, grabbed the crown 15 years ago. West Jefferson, in the tournament for the 18th time, hasn't grabbed a championship since 1982. The Roughriders went on to win their second of two state titles for the program that year. Look for some jitters on both sides of the ball out of the gate, but once they settle into the flow of the game, a hard-hitting, low-scoring battle will ensue. 

 

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