A long drought between regional titles will end for one of these teams on Saturday night. It is hard to believe that Moeller last won a regional championship 15 years ago in 1997. Undefeated Colerain hasn't been to the final four since 2006. Tears of joy and of heartbreak will be shed at Nippert Stadium this weekend.
For many a sigh of relief and the weight on their shoulders will be lifted for other anticipation of a new year ahead will be little consolation for what could have been.
It promises to be another classic game in what has been a thrilling season for both teams.
MOELLER CRUSADERS (10-3) vs. COLERAIN CARDINALS (12-0)
Site: Nippert Stadium - University of Cincinnati
Kickoff: Saturday, November 17th at 7:00 P.M.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The marquee reads Colerain versus Moeller starring Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year, LA Ramsby of Colerain, battling Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year, Shane Jones of the Crusaders. This face off should more than live up to its billing. Ramsby has amassed 2,967 yards of total offense (1,535 passing and 1,432 rushing) with 33 total touchdowns (15 passing and 18 rushing). The Michigan State-bound Jones will be chasing around #1 in red like there is no tomorrow, appropriately. On defense the Colerain defense has been very opportunistic with 17 interceptions for 377 return yards and four touchdowns. Roger Bacon transfer Lonnell Brown has three picks for 210 return yards and two scores. Ryan Williams leads the Cardinals with five interceptions while Jalen Christian and Dejuan Lang have four.
Colerain has many weapons that will keep the Moeller defense busy. Ramsby has thrown touchdowns passes to seven different receivers on the season. His top targets are Chris Davis and Trevon Hudson. Running back Jackson Sorn is healthy and has picked up 198 yards on and three scores rushing in two playoff tilts.
The Crusaders can pound the ball on teams behind big Alex Gall, Chris Henke and crew. Running back Keith Watkins has ran for 1,760 yards averaging 7.9 per carry with 23 touchdowns. He also has 30 receptions for 357 more yards with two scores. Getting the ball into Watkins hands is quarterback Spencer Iacavone, who is starting in his second straight regional final. The senior has thrown for 1,677 yards, ran for 706 more and accounted for 27 touchdowns (17 passing and 10 rushing). Iacavone likes to spread things around as well as five different receivers have at least two catches in the playoffs and four have found the end zone. Moeller will come after the quarterback. Jake McCluskey and Chalme Frueauf have combined for 10.5 sacks. Logan Kelleher leads the secondary with six interceptions.
TEAM TRENDS: Not only is Colerain looking to win their fifth Region 4 title they are also looking to become the unofficial champions of the GCL South. The Cardinals have beaten St. Xavier twice, Elder last weekend and with a victory against Moeller they would be 4-0 and could have some big fun with city bragging right for a whole year over their private school buddies. The Crusaders are looking for their 12th Regional title. Every time they have won the region they have finished either first (seven times) or runner-up (four times) in the state.
MOELLER'S KEYS TO VICTORY: Believe it or not Moeller came into the playoffs allowing 30 points per game. They have cut that 20.5 in the post-season. The Crusaders ability to keep Colerain around three total touchdowns will be the difference between a win and a loss. This squad can score with anyone. They need to show that they can come up big on the other side of the ball against a top-notch foe.
COLERAIN'S KEYS TO VICTORY: Staying mentally focused and not becoming emotionally drained playing their third straight GCL South opponent will be the Cardinals biggest hurdle. Colerain wants to dictate the pace of this game out of the box. The last thing they want to do is fall behind early to a Moeller to that can show opposing defenses no mercy.
PREDICTION: COLERAIN 35, MOELLER 31