HOW MUCH WILL COLERAIN MISS JAYLEN THOMAS?
DI REGION 4 #4 ELDER VS #3 COLERAIN SNAPSHOT at Mason HS
ELDER – WIN 31-28 / WIN 28-24**
COLERAIN – LOSS 21-14
This is a marque match-up for a good reason as both teams have enjoyed solid seasons. On paper many would pick Elder to be the team to beat but many also know you never count out a Cardinals team as they play with a chip on their shoulder every season no matter the success they’ve had.
The Cardinals enter the game with a major loss in leading rusher Jaylen Thomas following the seniors recent auto accident last weekend. Quarterback Freddie Johnson will be just one of a handful of players expected to pick up the load running the ball.
Johnson can throw a pass or two when needed and the Cardinals always seem capable of pulling out the pass when it’s least expected. However, this is not their strength and if they fall behind the Panthers could prove to be a challenge in coming back. Again, this is where Thomas will be missed as he was the teams leading receiver as well.
Look for the Cardinals to give senior Deshawn Pace more touches in this game as the future Cincinnati Bearcats signee has the skill set to add some solid carries when needed.
The Cardinals will have to control offensive tempo and the clock keeping their defense fresh to stop the big play abilities shown by the Panthers this season. Along with Pace, juniors Sean Williams and Xander Kendall will have to be at their best. Defensive lineman Dontay Corleone will be tested against one of the better offensive lines in Ohio with two future Division One signees anchoring the line in Luke Kandra (Louisville) and Jakob James (Ohio State). If Corleone can take up space and force the Panthers offensive line to double team him the Cardinals defense will be able to pressure Panthers quarterback Matthew Luebbe. If not, Luebbe will have a chance to set his feet and look to tight end Joe Royer (Ohio State) and receivers Drew Ramsey and Evan Vollmer while also finding running lanes when needed.
The Panthers escaped last week against St. Xavier with a big fourth down run from Luebbe to advance. While the loss of Thomas is huge in our opinion for the Cardinals if they can keep the game close they may have an advantage in the kicking game with junior Cameron Ott who has hit from as far out as 43 yards this season along with multiple 32-yards or longer field goals. Elder can answer with Sam Harmeyer but the seniors longest field goal on the season is from 33 yards.