Colerain and St. Xavier are among the nation's top 10 high school football programs since 2003

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 07:00:09-04

CINCINNATI – Anyone who knows Greater Cincinnati high school football understands the tradition at Colerain and St. Xavier.

Fans of the Cardinals and the Bombers can put into perspective the consistent success of each program over the past 15 years in a new MaxPreps report of the nation’s top 10 programs since 2003.

Colerain is ranked No. 5 nationally while St. Xavier is No. 8 in a list that considers results and strength of schedule in a cumulative look over the past 15 seasons, according to MaxPreps partner Ned Freeman at

“There is nothing finer than Southwest Ohio football,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden told WCPO last week. “I get it – Texas, California and Florida and all that kind of stuff, but there is nothing finer than Southwest Ohio football.”

Freeman takes into account games going back to 2003. MaxPreps utilizes its own editorial rankings along with the Freeman computer rankings throughout the season.

Colerain, a Division I state semifinalist in 2017, has an overall record of 168-24 since the 2003 season and is 83-24 against the nation’s top 1,000 teams, according to MaxPreps and

The Cardinals won the 2004 Division I state title under former head coach Kerry Coombs. Colerain received an overall rating of 67.6 points. Colerain will open this season against visiting La Salle on Aug. 24 in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.

St. X, a Division I regional finalist in 2017, earned a 66.7 points rating. The Bombers will open the season against Lakota West on Aug. 24 atPaul Brown Stadium.

The Bombers have an overall record of 136-50 and are 122-50 against the top 1,000 teams. The Bombers have three state titles including 2016, 2007 and 2005. St. X won a national title in 2007.

St. X has earned nine consecutive postseason appearances, which is an area best mark among the large school programs.

“It gives you life,” St. X coach Steve Specht said about coaching at his alma mater. “You work with kids all day long and you’re young. We have a great group of kids.”

Colerain versus St. Xavier is the area’s preeminent high school football rivalry, and it will be renewed Aug. 31 at St. Xavier this season to complete the final game of the current series.

In March, the schools renewed the rivalry for two additional seasons – Week 2 of the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

“It’s part of the high school fabric in Cincinnati, Ohio,” Specht told WCPO in March. “It’s part of the football culture. I appreciate Tommy and Colerain High School and their approach to be the best they can by playing anyone anytime. It speaks volumes about them and their kids.”

The teams split the two games last season. The Bombers defeated host Colerain 20-17 in overtime during a rainstorm Sept. 1, 2017. Colerain defeated St. Xavier 21-14 on Nov. 18 in the Division I regional final played at Mason.

Colerain (11-3) completed its season as a state semifinalist. St. X (11-2) was a regional runner-up.

St. Xavier leads the all-time series 22-14. Colerain and St. Xavier have played in the postseason the past four consecutive seasons.

Bolden, a Colerain graduate, often says the high school football experience is all about making memories.

“Friday nights walking down those steps, clickety-clack and the cleats coming down the concrete steps,” Bolden said. “You know the smell of popcorn and all that other kind of stuff. The people yelling the positive things at you and then the other ones yelling the bad things at you like ‘throw the ball more.’ I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s special.”