It is Homecoming at newly renovated Fairfield Stadium on Friday and Colerain would love nothing better than to crash the party.
Fairfield will have its hands full trying to put points on the board against a Cardinals defense that has held four opponents to 16 points or fewer. Both teams are looking to add another quality win to the resumé and enhance their chances to host a playoff game.
COLERAIN CARDINALS (4-1, 2-0) at FAIRFIELD INDIANS (4-1, 1-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Fairfield Stadium
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Fairfield has to adjust to life without quarterback Hunter Krause, who partially tore his MCL on the second play of last week’s game. Krause is expected to be out for four to six weeks. James Mitchell replaces Krause under center. He will need other Indians’ skill players to step up and elevate their performances. Fairfield has to find a way to get the ball to TC Wells and Tellis Kennedy more often. Running back David Keeling has rushed for 478 yards and averaged 9.4 per carry. He will see his carries rise from 10.2 per game in Krause’s absence.
Deshaunte Jones is the catalyst for the Colerain offense. The senior quarterback leads the team in rushing yards with 602. Seven of Jones’ eight scores have been on runs of 23 yards or longer. Junior Monalo Caldwell is the bruiser out of the Cardinals’ backfield. He has tallied 509 yards on the ground and found the end zone five times. Caldwell’s defensive classmates Amir Riep and Keontae Jones have combined for five interceptions for the Colerain secondary.
TEAM TRENDS: Colerain has won 47 consecutive Greater Miami Conference games. The Cardinals are on a quest for their 16th league title in a row. Since the beginning of 2014 Colerain has only scored 40 or more points five times in 17 contests. In contrast the Cardinals defense has yielded 16 points or less nine times in the last 14 games.
Despite being shut out last week, Fairfield has still scored just 47 less points than they did a year ago. The Indians’ defense has held seven of its last 11 opponents to 17 points or fewer. Fairfield is 8-3 and winners in six of its past seven in that span.
COLERAIN’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Cardinals need to be aggressive and relentless on defense. Getting Fairfield out of sync on offense is going to make life difficult for an inexperienced quarterback. The Colerain offense needs to score early and often. A double-digit lead is going to be a difficult hurdle for Fairfield to overcome.
FAIRFIELD’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The defense had its best game of the season in last Friday night’s 13-0 loss to Mason. The unit will have to be even better versus the Cardinals. The Indians offense needs to shorten the game. Fewer possessions mean fewer opportunities for Colerain to score.
Prediction: COLERAIN 33, FAIRFIELD 14