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October 20, 2012In a battle of unbeaten teams in the GMC, Colerain came out on top over Lakota West 57-44. The Cardinals were able to overcome turnovers, while the Firebirds settled for field goals at times resulting in the 13-point win for the home team.
In a game where both teams came in giving up very few points per game, the offenses would dominate the show.
Lakota West (8-1, 5-1) came out of the locker room hot scoring the first quarter's only points. Malik Grove ran in a score from 2 yards out to start the scoring.
Colerain fumbled on their next possession and the Firebirds capitalized, this time Grove threw a 22-yard touchdown that was hauled in by Dustin Parker. The score was 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, and Lakota West was marching when the second frame began.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two teams Friday night was Colerain's (9-0, 6-0) ability to hold the Firebirds to field goal tries. The Firebirds would settle for their first of three Justin Martin field goals early in the second quarter giving them a 17-0 advantage. The home team's offense woke up after that, and there would be no stopping them the rest of the night.
The Cardinals got a very good return on the ensuing kickoff, and just fifteen seconds were off the clock after the Martin Field goal, when LA Ramsby put his team on the board with a 31-yard touchdown run. Colerain's defense forced a rare punt on Lakota West's next possession and drew within three points on Chris Davis's 22-yard touchdown run just about half way through the second quarter.
The Firebird's offense continued to move the ball, but would again be forced to send Justin Martin out for a field goal, his 27 yarder would give Lakota West a 20-14 advantage, but plenty of time remained on the second quarter clock.
With just under two minutes to go in the half Cardinal running back Detuan Smith scored from 3 yards out, and after the PAT was good Colerain had its first lead of the night 21-20.
Both teams hit the locker room, and the fans were getting everything they had hoped for in what turned out to be the GMC regular season title game. After a lengthy Homecoming halftime the Firebirds got the ball to start the second half. Again Lakota West would drive the ball close to the goal line, but again the Cardinal defense forced another Justin Martin 27-yard field goal and the Firebirds were back on top 23-21.
Colerain continued to answer Lakota West's scores with scores of their own, and having already shown off his feet, Ramsby went to the air for a 40 yard touchdown strike to Trevon Hudson tipping the see-saw back to the Cardinal's side 28-23.
The Firebirds took their last lead of the night with three minutes to go in the third quarter on Grove's 3 yard touchdown run. That score gave Lakota West a 30-28 lead, but Firebird fans were no doubt thinking about the twelve points not on the board due to field goals.
Not only did Colerain continue to answer Lakota West's scores, but they continued to do so quickly. 38 seconds before the third quarter ended the Cardinals would take the lead for good when Detuan Smith scored from 17 yards out, and then added the two-point conversion giving his squad a 36-30 edge.
In the final quarter Colerain finally distanced themselves from the visiting Firebirds as Ramsby would run the next two scores (8,17) in, heading towards his game high 230 yards rushing. After those two scores the Cardinals were up 50-30 in what was a back and forth battle only minutes before.
The Firebirds weren't quite done yet though as Grove got his team within two scores at 50-37 on his 3-yard TD run with less than four minutes to go. While everyone knew it was coming Lakota West still managed to recover the onsides kick, but that would be the final glimmer of hope. As Grove was trying to get his team into the end zone and back within one score, Lonnell Brown picked him off and went 77 yards for the touchdown and it was a 20-point spread once again at 57-37.
Tyler Jones of Lakota West scored the game's final points as time was winding down on a 31 yard touchdown catch making the final score 57-44.
This was certainly a game that matched the hype, and showed why both of these teams were without a loss heading into the game Friday night. One indicator of just how crazy this game was, Colerain running back Smith wasn't even sure how many touchdowns he had. Or maybe thats just indicative of the kind of team first mentality Tom Bolden has established with his team.
The Firebirds represented themselves well in this game, but between the three field goals, that could have given them twelve more points, and the 17-0 lead that they let slip away Lakota West left Colerain feeling like they could have still been unbeaten.
The Firebirds have to shake off this one quickly however, as they head home next weekend to face rival Lakota East (6-3, 4-2) in the regular season finale.The Cardinals will look to finish off the season unbeaten next week as they stay at home to play Oak Hills (5-4, 3-3) before heading into the postseason.