The 21-year loss drought to Colerain ended last Friday night as the Lakota East Football team edged out the Cardinals 7-6 in a tense defensive struggle. East had 15 consecutive losses to Colerain dating back to the 1999 season when the Hawks earned their last “W” over Colerain (28-25) during the Greg Bailie coaching era.

The win on Friday keeps East in a virtual tie with Lakota West in the GMC as both schools have identical 6-0 league records.

The Cardinals enjoyed unprecedented success for the greater part of two decades, winning at least a share of the Greater Miami Crown for much of the present century – until their vice grip hold on the conference crown relinquished to Lakota West just a year ago.

Current East Head Coach Rick Haynes was a member of the Cardinal coaching staff when the Hawks last won in 1999. Haynes was an assistant at Colerain for 27 seasons before becoming the East head coach in 2010. HIs 2014 Thunderhawks came close to defeating his former team (lost 49-48) but had come up empty ever since.

“Like I’ve said all year – our seniors have just done a great job leading our guys,” said Haynes after the win. “I think they wanted to come in here and get a win since we haven’t won here since 1999. I’m proud of them.”

Both teams remained scoreless following a physical first-half of play, mustering just more than 100 total yards of offense between the two schools. The tandem of East seniors Charlie Kenrich and T.J. Kathman orchestrated a Lakota East 86-yard drive, leading to the game’s first points just minutes into the 3rd quarter. Kenrich ran it in from five yards out, putting the Thunderhawks ahead 7-0.

The Cardinals threatened on their ensuing drive but the Thunderhawk defense rose to the occasion. East stuffed the Cardinals short of the goal-line on a handful of tries, eventually forcing a turnover on downs within their own 5-yard line.

In the final quarter of play, after a quick three-and-out by the East offense, Colerain inherited prime field position following a punt, within the Lakota East 40-yard-line, setting the stage for a potential game-tying drive.

This Cardinals wouldn’t waste and time concluding a 40-yard drive on a three-yard rushing score. But, in one of the biggest plays of the evening, the East defensive line burst thru the Colerain defense, blocking the PAT attempt, keeping them in the lead, and accomplishing arguably one of the most monumental wins in their football program’s 25-year history.

Lakota East ended with just 133 yards of total offense, with Kenrich accumulating 67 on the ground, along with the team’s lone touchdown. Kathman was held in check with just 18 yards on 10 rushing attempts.

The Hawks have won six consecutive games, and hope to continue rolling on the road next Friday against a winless Oak Hills team (50-7 loss to Hamilton) Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m

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