COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Colerain football team is back. And the Cardinals mean business.
Colerain defeated visiting La Salle 23-0 Friday night in front of an estimated 6,100 at Cardinal Stadium. The game was part of the 21st annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.
It was the largest margin of victory since the Colerain versus La Salle game resumed in 2014. Friday night was the fifth meeting between the two programs since then. The schools are just 4 miles apart on the West Side.
Colerain’s defense limited La Salle to just five first downs and 111 yards of total offense.
“If our defense plays like that continuously, we are going to be all right,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said.
Senior linebackers Luke Bolden (Tom’s son and Miami University commit), and Eric Phillips (University of Cincinnati) had seven and six tackles, respectively.
Junior linebacker Elijah Ford and senior defensive back Jakari Patterson had five tackles each.
Sophomore linebackers Michael Bess and Dante Corleone were also impressive.
Offensively, the Cardinals (1-0) had 263 yards - 228 rushing.
Senior quarterback Deante Smith-Moore had 24 carries for 157 yards and touchdown. Smith-Moore was named the Most Valuable Player for the game.
“Deante – he is playing on a whole another level than everybody else,” Tom Bolden said. “We got to get the rest of the offense on the level he is. He’s just 100 miles per hour all the time.”
Said Smith-Moore: "There is no other place I’d rather be right now."
Seniors Ivan Pace Jr. and JJ Davis also scored touchdowns for the Cardinals, who led 23-0 at halftime.
“This one is special,” Davis said. “This is my last first game here as a Colerain Cardinal.”
Colerain, ranked No. 1 in the TriStateFootball.com Division I Preseason Rankings and No. 7 in the Midwest by the USA Today Super 25 regional rankings, seized the moment quickly Friday night.
La Salle (0-1) fumbled on its first snap and the Cardinals scored two plays later when senior Smith-Moore scored on a 5-yard run. The Cardinals led 6-0 at the 11:23 mark of the first quarter.
La Salle went three-and-out on its next possession and Colerain senior Syncere Jones returned the punt 41 yards to put the Cardinals at the Lancers’ 18-yard line.
Senior kicker Chris Mangold, a first-team all-state selection in 2017, made a 29-yard field goal to put the Cardinals ahead 9-0 with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
La Salle fumbled on a jet sweep on its next drive and Luke Bolden recovered to give the Cardinals great field position again.
Davis caught 10- and 13-yard passes on the drive and scored on a 7-yard run to help put the Cardinals ahead 16-0 with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
La Salle’s offense couldn’t find a rhythm all night. The Lancers had just 27 yards of total offense in the first half. La Salle did not earn a first down on its drives in the first half.
“I thought our defense played really well,” Lancers coach Pat McLaughlin said. “They were on the field a long time. Special teams played well. We will get it together offensively. It’s one game. We have to move on.”
La Salle senior linebacker Jarred Uran (Akron) had 13 tackles while senior Garrett Bledsoe (Albany) had 12 tackles.
But the Colerain offensive line did its job, too, in the triple option. The Cardinals had the ball for nearly eight minutes more than the Lancers.
Pace scored on a 9-yard run with 1:22 left in the second quarter to help give the Cardinals a 23-0 lead.
Colerain leads the all-time series with La Salle, 13-11. Both schools have discussed the future of the game, but no decision has been made for 2019 yet.
La Salle, a Division II regional runner-up in 2017, plays host to Mason Aug. 31. The Lancers are ranked No. 1 in the TriStateFootball.com Divisions II-III rankings.
Colerain plays at St. Xavier Aug. 31. St. Xavier (1-0) is ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Super 25 Midwest rankings and No. 3 in the TSF rankings.
St. X defeated Lakota West 34-0 Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
Next week will be the 37th meeting between Colerain and St. Xavier. The two schools renewed a home-and-home agreement in March. St. X leads the all-time series, 22-14.
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