The Colerain Cardinals stormed through the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record in 2010, the school's 10th perfect season since 1994.
Many expected the dominating results that saw the team outscore their opponents by an average of 33 points per contest while piling up 423 yards of total offense.
Unfortunately the train stopped short of the final destination of a state championship for a talented group of seniors, but there were so many great stories along the journey of a great ride the team gave the fans.
Let's take a game-by-game look at Colerain's 2010 campaign:
GAME #1 - COLERAIN 35, NORTHMONT 6: Colerain made a statement at Nippert Stadium as they pounded Clayton Northmont 35-6 in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown. The Cardinals dominated offensively with their potent triple-option attack led by quarterback Tyler Williams, who carried the ball 18 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Colerain had 433 yards of total offense in the game with 384 of those coming on the ground. They got out to an early lead when Williams found the endzone from six yards away. Northmont scored the next touchdown in the second quarter when Jeremy Campbell dove in from a yard out. Williams responded quickly for the Cardinals as he scored on a 50-yard scamper to give Colerain a 14-6 halftime lead. That's all the Colerain defense would need as they shut the Thunderbolts out in the second half. Andrew Smith led the way for the Cardinals with three sacks. Curtis Jester extended the Colerain lead midway through the third quarter when he picked up a fumble by Williams in the endzone. The Cardinals got the ball right back, courtesy of a Dylan Coombs interception, and pushed their lead out even farther when Williams hit sophomore Chris Davis in the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown. Jester scored the final touchdown of the game on a 36-yard touchdown run of his own. Fullback Trayion Durham carried 18 times for 87 yards while Davis had nine carries for 78 yards.
GAME #2 - COLERAIN 44, ELDER 12: After dropping games to Elder each of the past two years, the Colerain Cardinals handed the Panthers their worst loss in five years, winning 44-12 in a FOX19 Friday Prep Rally matchup. Colerain dominated the game from start to finish and outgained Elder 458 to 273 in total yards, including a 448 to 143-yard advantage on the ground. It marked the 54th consecutive home win for the Cardinals, who last loss at Cardinal Stadium in 1999 to LaSalle. The game got off to a bad start right out of the gate for Elder as they muffed the opening kickoff and started their first drive at their own 4-yard line. A quick three-and-out gave the ball to Colerain. Within two plays on the ensuing drive the Cardinals found the end zone as Williams scampered for a 12-yard scoring run to make it 7-0. The Panthers would answer less than four minutes later on the game's next drive as junior quarterback Ben Gramke connected with Josh Freidel for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Just when it seemed as if Elder was going to make a game of it, Colerain struck quickly once again as Williams took a 77-yard run to the house on the Cardinals' very next offensive play. Jester added a third score less than three minutes later on a 60-yard run as Colerain took a 20-6 lead after one quarter. Gramke would lead the Panthers back down the field on another touchdown drive, finished off by a 12-yard TD pass to Max Mazza. They failed on an attempt for a two-point conversion, but cut the lead to one score at 20-12. It would be the last time Elder put points on the board for the rest of the evening. Williams ran for a third score, this time from 27 yards out, and Tommy Budke drilled a 35-yard field goal as the first half was winding down and Colerain took a 30-12 lead to the locker room. Elder's defense came up with a big stop on the opening drive of the second half, forcing the Cardinals to punt. However, on the very first snap the Panthers took on the next drive Gramke was picked off for the first of two times in the game. Durham would score on 12-yard run moments later, putting the final nail in Elder's coffin. Williams finished the game with 160 yards and three scores on just 12 carries. His only completion in three attempts came on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wright. Durham contributed with 18 carries for 143 yards and a score and Jester added 110 rushing yards of his own.
GAME #3 - COLERAIN 34, LOUISVILLE DuPONT MANUAL 7: Colerain cruised to their third straight win to the start season as they beat Louisville DuPont Manual on the road, 34-7. Durham led the charge by rushing for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries. Colerain finished the night with 415 yards of total offense behind a dominant ground attack. Davis added a pair of scores of his own and finished with 95 total yards on 11 touches. The Cardinals defense nearly pitched a shutout before ceding a late fourth-quarter score and limited DuPont Manual to just 139 total yards in the game, including just two yards on the ground. Linebacker Andre Jones had a big day with two fumble recoveries and an interception.
GAME #4 - COLERAIN 44, FAIRFIELD 7: The second quarter belonged to the Cardinals as Durham scored three touchdowns in the stanza to put away Fairfield. The senior running back would wind up with 113 yards rushing. Colerain's ground attack was too much for the Indians to handle as they ran for 420 yards and six scores on the night. Quarterback Williams led the way with 159 yards and two touchdowns. The effort allowed the Cardinals to pick up their first GMC win of the season. Colerain saw Smith register two sacks to bring his season total to 6.5. Jones intercepted a pass for the second straight week and had five takeaways over the last three outings.
GAME #5 - COLERAIN 56, LAKOTA WEST 14: The top-ranked Cardinals picked up their 55th straight home win in convincing fashion, beating Lakota West, 56-14. The two teams shared a GMC crown a year ago, but on this night they were far apart. Davis stole the show as he ran for a pair of touchdowns and caught two more to pace the Cardinals' offense. He finished with 198 total yards of offense on just nine touches. Williams completed 5-of-7 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 12.8 yards per carry on the ground on his way to 192 yards and a score on 15 carries. Colerain outgained Lakota West on the ground by 417-42 margin in one of the team's most dominating performances of the season racking up 558 yards of total offense. The Cardinals defense gave up just 42 yards rushing on 42 carries and saw Joe Bolden and Jordan Fleuck come up with interceptions. The Firebirds' own Tyler Williams, a junior wide receiver, finished with seven catches for 101 yards a touchdown in the loss.
GAME #6 - COLERAIN 49, LAKIOTA EAST 17: Colerain continued to breeze through GMC play as they took down Lakota East 49-17 on the road Friday night. Colerain got huge efforts from Williams and Davis. Williams rushed for three scores and 180 yards on 17 carries. Davis found the end zone twice and tallied 166 yards on the ground on just 10 attempts. The Cardinals would rack up 500 yards rushing and zero passing in the contest. Lakota East running back J.D. Whetsel contributed with 82 yards on 11 carries in the loss.
GAME #7 -COLERAIN 17, HAMILTON 14: On Colerain's first drive against Hamilton Williams broke the school's all-time career rushing record of 3,140 yards set by Ronnie Alexander, who played for the Cardinals from 1993-95. However, that drive ended with no points as Budke missed a 25-yard field goal attempt. From that point on the Big Blue would be that thorn in the side of the home team the rest of the evening. Hamilton answered with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brian Cleckley. The extra point gave the Big Blue a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, Budke redeemed himself by making a 38-yard field goal that cut the Hamilton lead to 7-3 with 9:30 to play before intermission. With under six minutes left in the half Hamilton put together a 91-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a Chris Tarrant one yard run. Tarrant had a 50-yard scamper that set up the Big Blue's 14-3 lead at intermission. Colerain took the opening kickoff in the second half and marched 79 yards in just over five minutes. Williams scored on a 1-yard run to cut the Hamilton lead to 14-10. The Cardinals' defense tightened up in the second half, forcing Hamilton to a pair of consecutive three-and-out possessions. Colerain's offense went on another extended drive going 57 yards in five-and-a-half minutes of game time as Durham ended the 12-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to take the lead 17-14. Hamilton got the ball back with 8:29 to play in the game and went on a potential game winning drive. Senior running back Devin Jarrett carried the ball ten times in the 17-play drive for 50 yards. The drive stalled on the Colerain nine yard line, but they missed a 26-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds to secure the win for Colerain 17-14. Williams rushed for 158 yards on 32 carries for the Cardinals while Hamilton's Jarrett also rushed for the century mark (111). The Big Blue actually outgained Colerain in total offense 261-256.
GAME #8 -COLERAIN 56, PRINCETON 7: Colerain scored four first-quarter touchdowns in an eight-minute span while flexing their muscle building a 28-0 lead over Princeton. The Cardinals offense racked up 409 yards and seven touchdowns rushing led by Durham with 122 yards and a score. The defense held the Vikings to less than 100 total yards through three quarters en route to a 56-7 victory. Davis scored three touchdowns had 112 all-purpose yards on eight touches. The sophomore caught his fifth touchdown pass of the season from Williams which ties for the league lead in the GMC. There is no jinx for this rising star who now has 1,040 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. The lone highlight for Princeton came in the fourth quarter when Nate McGill and Justin Cornwall hooked up on a 78-yard scoring strike. Cornwall ended the night with nine receptions and 129 yards receiving.
GAME #9 - COLERAIN 45, SYCAMORE 7: The Cardinals picked up their 57th straight home win and moved to 9-0 on the season with a convincing 45-7 over the Sycamore Aviators at Cardinal Stadium. Colerain tallied 401 total yards of offense, including 371 on the ground. Williams accounted for 143 of the team's rushing yards on just 14 carries. He rushed for two touchdowns and added two more passing scores in the route. Davis continued to show flashes of brilliance as he picked 98 total yards on just four touches and caught a touchdown in the process. The Cardinals' defense was equally impressive, yielding just 2.0 yards per carry while holding the fifth opponent of the season to a touchdown or less. Sycamore got a score early when quarterback Joey Bruscato punched one in from two yards out to knot the score at 7-7 with 3:43 to go in the first quarter. However, Colerain would answer with a pair of scores of their own within the next two minutes and never look back. Bruscato finished with 27 yards on 19 carries and completed five of his 13 passes for 51 yards in the loss.
GAME #10 - COLERAIN 48, OAK HILLS 6: After a one-year absence Colerain looked poised for its return to the postseason in its final regular season game. The Cardinals scored five times in the first half constructing a 34-0 halftime lead over Oak Hills. Colerain would not look back as they finished the regular season undefeated and claimed a share of the GMC title with Middletown. With just over eight minutes remaining in the first quarter, Williams took the ball 52 yards for a Cardinal score. The touchdown put the 5-foot-7, 155 pound Williams a top the school's all-time scoring list. He would add another touchdown run from four yards out late in the second quarter to cap off a lucrative first half for the Cardinals. Colerain would finish the half without a single punt and converted all three of its red zone opportunities. The senior finished the game with 65 yards on eight carries along with those two scores on the ground and a touchdown pass to freshman Trevor Hudson. Durham carried the ball 16 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Jones picked off Highlander quarterback Ben Rothwell and took the ball 85 yards to the end zone for another Colerain score. William's backup at quarterback, junior Dustin Smith, got in on the scoring act as well finding junior Chris Mimes in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown reception. The lone bright spot for Oak Hills was tailback Tommy Konkoly who set the Highlanders single-season rushing record (1,431) with 175 yards on the ground and the team's lone score. He became the first player to rush for more than 100 yards on the Cardinals defense all year long.
GAME #11 - COLERAIN 42, HAMILTON 14: It was sheer domination by Colerain from start to finish as they looked liked a team on a mission in a 42-14 round one playoff win over league foe, the Big Blue of Hamilton. Colerain stormed out to a 21-0 lead less than 13 minutes into this affair. They wound up owning almost 18 minutes of advantage in time of possession by the time this one was said and done. For the Cardinals, Williams had 196 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown and another passing in the contest. Durham found the end zone three times while gaining 124 yards on the ground. The team would pile up 374 yards on the ground and just four passing. The defense was equally impressive as they came up with three turnovers, including a 38-yard fumble recovery score by Jake Blust. Take out a 71-yard run by Hamilton quarterback Brian Cleckley and the Cardinals only allowed 61 yards of total offense on 27 plays to the Big Blue.
GAME #12 - ST. XAVIER 24, COLERAIN 23: The St. Xavier Bombers, who began the post-season as the sixth-seeded team in Ohio's Region 4, came up with their second straight upset as they knocked off the Colerain Cardinals 24-23 at Nippert Stadium to advance to the regional finals. After one quarter of football it appeared as if St. Xavier was dead in the water as they trailed Colerain 10-0. The Cardinals had outgained the Bombers 121-5 in total offense at that point in the game. Things started to change from there on out for the Bombers. A Colerain fumble helped open the flood gates for St. Xavier in the second quarter as they reeled off 16 unanswered points to take a 16-10 halftime lead. Conor Hundley put up 60 yards rushing and a touchdown in the stanza. Quarterback Griffin Dolle scored on a nifty 19-yard run as well. Just two minutes after intermission the Bombers pulled of a 39-yard scoring strike from Kevin Milligan to Trey Kilgore on a beautiful wide receiver pass. The Cardinals were down 24-10 and their fans were shell-shocked at what had turned into St. Xavier domination. Colerain still had some fight left in them though as they drove 80 yards in 2:15 with Williams scoring on a five-yard scamper. The contest became an act of attrition for the next quarter. Colerain scored with just under six minutes left on a Williams-to-Davis 31-yard pass. The Cardinals had the opportunity to tie the game, but botched the extra point attempt leaving them one point short of the lead at 24-23. They would end up with one more possession, but the St. Xavier defense withstood the challenge. Colerain dominated the ground game with 285 yards on the ground led by Williams, who had 104 of those yards. Durham and Davis each had 82 more yards. Hundley led the St. Xavier attack with 86 yards rushing.
MILESTONES AND MORE
--The durable Tyler Williams played in 35 games at Colerain and rushed for school records of 3,816 yards, 47 total touchdowns and 284 points. The 5-foot-7, 155 pound Akron-bound senior ran for a career=high 1,654 yards, 20 touchdowns, threw for 534 yards and tossed 11 touchdowns on his way to Cincinnati Enquirer Division I Player of the Year, GMC Co-Athlete of the Year and Second Team All-Southwest District honors.
--Trayion Durham was a model of consistency at fullback. The senior ran for 1,096 yards and 15 touchdowns (his third straight season over 1,000 yards rushing). That earned him Division I First Team All-Southwest District and Special Mention All-Ohio honors. Durham, who recently withdrew his verbal commitment to Wisconsin, finishes up with 3,379 yards and 38 rushing touchdowns in a Cardinals uniform.
--For three seasons Jarrett Grace showed the athleticism at linebacker that made him such a menace to prepare. The 6-foot-4, 240 senior will head to Notre Dame next season after a senior year that saw him land recognition as the GMC Co-Athlete of the Year and a Division I First Team All-Ohio member.
--Andrew Smith terrorized the opposition's backfield in 2010 with 11 sacks and a fumble recovery on his way to Division I Second Team All-Southwest District honors. Smith will continue his football career at the University of Cincinnati next fall.
--Offensive Lineman Andrew Neeley really blossomed on a line that opened holes for a rushing attack that averaged 374.1 yards per game and found the end zone 55 times. The 6-foot-4, 270 pound senior was a Division I Second Team All-Ohio member.
--Jake Blust, Chris Davis and Alex Ehrenschwender were First Team All GMC and Division I Special Mention All Southwest District members. Davis had a breakout sophomore year with 1,320 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns on 106 touches.
--Joe Bolden, Tommy Budke, Jordan Flueck, Andre Jones earned First Team All GMC honors. Linebackers Bolden and Jones will team with Blust in 2011 to form a fantastic nucleus in the Cardinals' front seven.
--Andy Bolman, Trae Clark, Steve Ferneding , Chris Mimes and Mikyle Washington were Second Team All GMC members. Ferneding and Clark return next season to make up part of a ferocious defensive line.