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Preview: Colerain-St. Xavier

It has turned into one of the best rivalries in Cincinnati and it always seems to have huge implications.

Tyler Williams ColerainSt. Xavier coach Steve Specht and Colerain front man Tom Bolden are close friends and epitomize everything that is right about high school football in the Queen City.

One thing is guaranteed the kids on both sides of the ball will leave everything on the line Saturday night. The Bombers and Cardinals will be the best bang for your entertainment buck this weekend.

Colerain has the better record, but have yet to really be tested. Conversely, St. Xavier has played one of the toughest schedules of any team in the Tri-state.

#2 Colerain (11-0) vs. #6 St. Xavier (6-4)
Nippert Stadium
7:00 p.m. kickoff, Saturday November, 13th
Radio: 1360-AM

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Colerain quarterback Tyler Williams has 1,550 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. He has rushed for at least 158 yards seven times. His success will open up lanes for fullback Trayion Durham to bull through. The St. Xavier defense will have something to say about that as Stephen Daniels, Sean Duggan and Nathan Gerbus are as tough as a trio, both mentally and physically, as there is in Southwest Ohio. Jarrrett Grace, Andrew Smith, Jake Blust, Joe Bolden and Anrdre Jones all have had special moments for the Colerain defense on the Nippert Stadium turf, so don't be surprised if several of those guys have huge nights on Saturday evening. They all have the potential to be unleashed at any given moment leaving them in one-on-one situations to create big plays.


TEAM TRENDS: Colerain has outscored their last four opponents by a combined 128-14, including a 28.5 margin per tilt in the first half. It doesn't get any easier for Cardinals foes as they have not given up more than seven points after intermission in any game this season. They are allowing just four points per game in the second half in 11 tilts. St. Xavier will need help on offense from someone other than Conor Hundley. The junior has accounted for 56.4 percent of the Bombers' total offense and scored 64 percent of the team's total touchdowns. The hidden yardage factor may come in to play for both teams. St. Xavier defensive back and return man Jake Brodbeckhas 677 all-purpose yards without an offensive touch. Colerain sophomore Chris Davis has amassed 1,183 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns.


COLERAIN'S KEYS TO VICTORY: If the Colerain defense can shut down Hundley and the St. Xavier running game then they can unleash their pass rush and make life miserable for the Bombers' quarterbacks. There at least six players on the Cardinals' defense with Division I scholarship offers. Their linebacking crew is deep and fast. It will take a titanic effort from the Bombers' offensive line to keep them at bay.


ST. XAVIER'S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Bombers did a great job of staying in their lanes and completely shutting down the Colerain triple-option in beating Colerain in the 2009 season opener (their last confrontation). St. Xavier will need to stay "at home" again and play smart. Their defensive backs are strong and can come and stuff the Cardinals' running attack. They must be wary of being sucked in too far because the one thing this Colerain quarterback can do is beat you with the pass, a dimension they didn't have the last two times the teams met.


FINAL TAKE: Look for both offenses to struggle early on. Both defenses will be as fast from sideline to sideline as anyone we've seen all year. That speed will come in to play forcing St. Xavier into a chaotic state on offense in the second 24 minutes by the Cardinals…COLERAIN 28, ST.XAVIER 10


Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com

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