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June 21, 2009

Snapshot: Colerain Cardinals

In 2008 Colerain ran out an inexperienced group made up of several sophomores, and low and behold they ended up losing only one game in the regular season and finished 11-2 with a loss in the playoffs to Elder.

Now this talented group of youngsters comes back with another year of experience under their belt, and a target on their back as one of the top teams in the area.

2008 RECORD: 11-2; 6-1 GMC


COACHING: The Cardinals have one of the most dynamic coaches in high school football. Tom Bolden has done a fantastic job getting the most of his players both on the field and off the field as young men.

Bolden's offensive approach is not going to fool anyone as he is going to run the triple-option and will only opt to throw the ball a handful of times a game. However, stopping that offense with the speed and talent is a daunting task for defenses.

Defensively, Bolden is known for having his kids play very fast and being hard hitters. Expect this year's defense to be one of the top defenses in recent memory in the Cincinnati area.


OFFENSE: This year's edition of the Colerain offense is going to be one of the fastest if nothing else. They have quarterback Greg Tabar returning at the helm for his senior season. Tabar threw for 616 yards on the season with six touchdowns and four interceptions.

As previously mentioned the Cardinals throw the ball with rarity, as Tabar only had 68 attempts last year, 31 of which he completed. However, it was Tabar's legs that really caused trouble for opposing defenses. He ran for 979 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. His decision-making is also key for that triple-option offense.

Joining Tabar in the backfield will be fullback Trayion Durham and halfback Tyler Williams. Those two combine for the classic thunder and lightning combo with Durham running up the middle wearing down opposing tacklers, and Williams turning the corner on the outside breaking off the big runs.

Durham rushed for 1,170 yards last season with nine touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Williams had a thrilling season leading the backfield with 1,333 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged over 111 yards per game, 9.1 yards per carry and had five games where he scored multiple touchdowns. Both Williams and Durham will be returning for their junior season.

The biggest question for the Colerain offense will be their offensive line where they return only one starter from last year's team. The learning curve for the guys filling in will have to be a quick one, as the Cardinals are going to need blocking up front to kick start their run-heavy offense.


DEFENSE: The Colerain defense loses a fair amount off of last year's team, but there is some young talent chomping at the bit to make their mark on the program.

Two sophomores to be in Jake Blust and Joe Bolden and one junior to be in Jarret Grace have the potential to be one of the top linebacker corps in the state in the next couple of years. However, Bolden will be relying on experienced guys like linebacker Tyon Dixon, a Louisiville commit, to bring the youngsters along leading by example.

Also, there are rumors of returning senior Dom Carter moving from the offensive side of the ball to the linebacker position on defense.

Both Grace and Dixon have received offers from colleges. Dixon just recently picked up an offer from Louisville to add to one he already held from Ball State. Grace has already received an offer from Cincinnati despite just having finished his sophomore season, during which he saw limited action.

Grace is expected to be one of the most sought after players to have put on the Colerain jersey after his time with the Cardinals is finished. Don't expect him to be the only player to get offers out of that 2011 class though, as the Cardinals have an extremely talented group of juniors.


2009 SCHEDULE
08/28 - 8:30 PM - vs. St Xavier (Nippert Stadium)
09/06 - 12:00 PM - at Elder
09/11 - 7:30 PM - Dupont Manual
09/18 - 7:30 PM - Lakota East
09/25 - 7:30 PM - at Hamilton
10/02 - 7:30 PM - Princeton
10/09 - 7:30 PM - at Sycamore
10/16 - 7:30 PM - at Mason
10/23 - 7:30 PM - Middletown
10/30 - 7:30 PM - at Oak Hills


FINAL TAKE: The Cardinals have so much returning talent and so much young talent coming up that they will be a nationally ranked team during the season and could contend for a state title. The biggest issue will be getting the offensive line on par with rest of the team.


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