Colerain offense dominates Mason, Cardinals win 49-21

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The Mason Comets’ defense had four straight shutouts —  then they faced Colerain Friday night.

The Cardinal offense could not be stopped in the OHSAA Division I Regional Semifinal matchup, dropping 49 points on what had been thought of as a stellar Mason defense, en route to a 49-21 win.

“We made some great adjustments off of what they do, we got after it up front and obviously scored a lot of touchdowns,” said Colerain head coach Tom Bolden.

Despite the cold temperatures, Colerain came out of the gates hot, quickly jumping out to a 14-0 lead 5:22 into the game.

The Cardinals did not find the end zone again until 1:33 remained in the second quarter, but their defense refrained Mason from clawing back. The Comets were stopped on fourth down within the 20-yard line twice in the first half. In the second quarter, Mason was on the one-yard line for three straight plays, but could not get past the Cardinal defense.

“They’re huge, they’re huge momentum-getters,” Bolden said. “They’re almost like turnovers down there. We lost so many kids last year from last year’s defense and a lot of people thought that might be a weak point with us, but we fly around and we get after it.”

Colerain’s defense shutout Mason in the first half, assisting the team to a 21-0 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

Running back and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. highlighted the first half for the Cardinals, scoring two touchdowns on 111 rushing yards.

He did not finish there, though.

Pace Jr. finished the night with 232 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns. Additionally, he had seven total tackles on defense.

“He’s heck of a football player,” Bolden said. “He runs hard, he’s got some wiggle, he’s 222 pounds, he’s got some power, he’s got some wiggle, great athlete and you got to understand too he plays both ways, he plays an outside linebacker position … I bet you if we had a tracking device on him tonight, I can only imagine the miles that he covered.”

Pace Jr.’s performance kept the Comets from being able to make a comeback. Colerain’s defense was not as stout in the second half as they were in the first, allowing Mason to score 21 points, but Pace Jr. and the rest of the Cardinal offense made sure their team reached the regional finals without any problems, scoring 28 more points before the game’s end.

The Cardinals will face the defending state champion St. Xavier Bombers next week. This will be a rematch of the 2016 regional semifinals where St. Xavier upset Colerain 29-23.

“What a great matchup,” Bolden said. “It will be another instant classic like they always are. They’re going to do what they do; we’re going to do what we do and it will be great. I’ve always said it and I’ll always keep saying it that our matchup, it’s such a healthy respect the kids have for one another, as different as we may be in terms of some backgrounds and things like that, but it’s such a healthy relationship and … it’s what’s best about football in Cincinnati.”

Colerain’s has two losses on the year and their last one came on Sept. 1 against St. Xavier where they lost 20-17 in overtime.

Colerain: 14-7-14-14-49
Mason; 0-0-14-7-21

C: Leyendecker 40 run (Mangold kick)
C: Pace Jr. 4 run (Mangold kick)
C: Pace Jr. 37 run (Mangold kick)
C: Pace Jr. 25 run (Mangold kick)
M: Croy pass from Adams (Curran kick)
C: Pace Jr. 17 run (Mangold kick)
M: Sora 1 run (Curran kick)
C: Davis 26 pass from Leyendecker (Mangold kick)
M: Knue 2 pass from Adams (Curran kick)
C: Smith-Moore 2 run (Mangold kick)

RECORDS: Colerain (10-2); Mason (9-3)
UP NEXT: Colerain vs. St. Xavier (11-1)

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