When the Ohio Associated Press poll came out this week, Colerain was not in the top 10. The Cardinals took that to heart.
"We got mad about that," said Colerain running back Ivan Pace Jr. "We was eatin' tonight, and we did our best."
Pace was the star in Colerain's 42-0 blowout win over the Sycamore Aviators on Friday, finding the end zone four times after only reaching it once in the first three games this season.
"He's given us an extra boost at the fullback spot," said Cardinals head coach Tom Bolden. "He's learning to play both ways, and I think he did a great job tonight."
Coming into the matchup, many expected this game to be defense-heavy. The two teams were atop the Greater Miami Conference in defense; Sycamore was No. 1 in the league, only allowing an average of 2.3 points per game this year.
Colerain shut down that notion quickly by scoring 21 points in the first half.
"We always come into the game thinking we're going to score a lot of points," Bolden said. "We followed the game plan, we did what we were supposed to do and it happened."
The Cardinals' defense was only allowing an average of nine points per game before their shutout Friday, but the pregame talk swirled around how good the Aviators' defense was.
"(The defense) had a little chip on their shoulder," Bolden said. "They've given up few points to some very good football teams, and I think they were hearing about how good Sycamore's was and I think they felt a little bit slighted -- they wanted to prove it tonight."
Despite forcing three interceptions, one of the key moments for Colerain's defense came early in the game.
When it looked as if Sycamore was going to punt the ball, giving Colerain another first quarter possession with an already 14-point lead, a roughing the kicker call kept the drive alive. They then took nearly eight minutes off the clock and drove down to the one-yard line, but a Colerain goal-line stand kept the Aviators out of the end zone.
A touchdown would have made it a one possession game.
"How about that," Bolden said. "We rough the kicker, kind of lost some momentum, (and) they bent but didn't break."
The Cardinals then exchanged the turnover on downs for six, driving 99 yards and capping it off with a JJ Davis 55-yard rushing touchdown, and Sycamore did not get that close to scoring again for the remainder of the game.
Colerain began the season 0-2 with a 7-3 loss to the 2016 Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division II State Champion, La Salle Lancers, and a 20-17 overtime loss to the 2016 OHSAA Division I State Champion, St. Xavier Bombers. They have now earned two straight blowout wins after defeating Middletown 38-7 last week.
"We just keep moving forward," Bolden said. "We are in playoff mode every week. This was a playoff game for us and next week will be a playoff game for us."