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Two programs from different sides of the track collide on Friday night to bring us everything that is great about Cincinnati high school football. It is the best of the public schools in Colerain versus St. Xavier, the best from the private schools.
If you were to build a time capsule to for people to open 100 years from now this is the series to include to describe what the level of competition and sportsmanship that is being played amongst our teenagers in the 21st century here in the Queen City. It’s a little piece of sports “Americana” that makes this town so special.
We take a closer look at the feature game of our 2012 US Marines Backyard Battle Series:
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Listen: FOXSports 1360 AM
Follow on Twitter @TSFootball, #9gamenight
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alfred “LA” Ramsby became the first Colerain QB since at least 2003 to throw for over 200 yards in a game last week vs. Ryle. Ramsby ran for 107 yards in Week 3 against the Bombers a year ago. DeTuan Smith and Trevon Hudson were matchup problems at times for the St. X defense in 2011. A healthy, Jackson Sorn gives the Cardinals and added dimension in the backfield.
Receiver Kevin Milligan was a thorn in the Cardinals’ side last season. In the two meetings versus the Cards he caught 10 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and added 45 more yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Nick Tensing will need to get past early jitters and settle into his role under center quickly. Running backs CJ Hilliard and Ben Glines will be Tensing’s security blankets in the ground attack. Glines, only a sophomore, is on the verge of becoming a household name in high school football.
TEAM TRENDS: The two programs have met nine times since 2005 and the Bombers own a 7-2 edge in the win column. St. Xavier has a four-game winning streak in the series and 4-1 record against the Cardinals in the postseason during that span. Colerain head coach Tom Bolden is 54-8 in his career. Six of those losses are to Steve Specht and St. Xavier. Colerain is in a position to notch their second win over one of the four Division I Regional champions from 2011. The Cardinals beat state runner-up, Pickerington Central in Week 1. The 66 points that St. Xavier has allowed are the most they have given up during any two week stretch in Specht’s tenure.
COLERAIN’S KEYS TO VICTORY: It will be all about spreading the wealth for the Cardinals. Keeping the St. Xavier defense on their heels by using all their weapons will benefit the Cardinals cause on Friday night. The defense hasn’t seen this many skill players going up against them this season. The Cardinals must keep the game in front of them. Letting receivers get by the secondary will only open up things more for the St. X offense and that could spell big trouble for the red and white.
ST. XAVIER’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Bombers have shown that if they can keep it close down the stretch their mental toughness to pull out wins is second to none. The Bombers are giving up 443 yards and 33 PPG yet they are still undefeated. The defense better be zoned or it will be a long night. Despite not having star athlete Trey Kilgore, this offense has plenty of balance and talent to keep Colerain at home on defense. Having one of those skills players step up and answer the call as the go-to guy couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
PREDICTION: COLERAIN 28, ST. XAVIER 21
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.