Friday, August 28, 8:30 p.m.
Nippert Stadium – University of Cincinnati
Colerain vs. St. Xavier
Game six of the Crosstown Showdown has been one of buzz since it was announced. Two of the top programs in Cincinnati go toe-to-toe in the first weekend of the season.
Not only is a victory at stake but also a major jump on every team in Region 4 as both of these teams are expected to be battling to come out of the region at the end of the season.
The Colerain Cardinals are a team on a mission in 2009 as they return a load of talent and the harsh memory of losing to Elder in double overtime in the Regional Final to end their season.
Tom Bolden knows how to get his team ready for big games and this one may be one of his biggest games since taking over the reigns of the Cardinals program.
The Cardinal will attack with their always explosive triple-option attack and this season they've got the horses to post some huge numbers.
Junior running backs Trayion Durham and Tyler Williams give Bolden a "Thunder & Lighting" attack. Not to be left out of the attack is quarterback Greg Tabar who returns for his senior season after being part of an offensive attack that saw he and his two backs rush for over 3,100 yards and 41 touchdowns last season. Durham is the power in the attack and just as you get use to him Williams will provide some lighting with his shifty explosive speed.
But don't think Colerain is a one-trick pony as they've proven over the years to be one of the toughest defensive units to go up against.
Last season Bolden joked that his team might be too young and just not smart enough to know they weren't to be in the hunt for a state title. Now his defense is older and much better as linebackers Tyon Dixon and Jarrett Grace are top-notch future college athletes.
The biggest question for the Cardinals will be there play up front on both sides of the ball. If Colerain can play like they did last season they'll be one of the top teams in the state of Ohio and a possible state champion.
But don't get caught up too fast in all the star power the Cardinals have at their disposal. The St. Xavier Bombers know what it's like to win Greater Catholic League, City Championships and State Championships.
Head coach Steve Specht is considered one of the top defensive minds in football today and his track record speaks for itself as his teams have always been considered at the top of the pecking order.
2008 started out promising as the Bombers went 3-1 to open up the season with victories over Don Bosco Prep (New Jersey), Indianapolis Cathedral (Indiana), and Prattville (Alabama). The only loss came against Colerain in week one.
But then things started to unravel as the Bombers dropped five of their final six games and missed the playoffs.
This season will be no different as the schedule is as tough as ever. But the Bombers have some talent and know a fast start against the Cardinals is a must to be a contender in Region 4.
Senior quarterback Luke Massa has fought injuries throughout his career but looks to be healthy and ready for a big season. Massa may not be the top name in Cincinnati at the quarterback position but he's earned a full ride with the hometown university to continue his football career.
On defense the name to watch is junior linebacker Steve Daniels who many consider one of the top players in the Class of 2011.
Put all the talking aside as Friday night will see two teams ready to battle until the final whistle blows leaving the best team standing on this night.