The state football finals are now done for another year, and what a set a finals the state of Ohio and fans of high school football got to see. There were powerhouse teams, four repeat winners, record settings performances, and weather. Oh boy, was there weather.
Each game had a story, a moment that defined each team
1. Cincinnati Moeller could beat some Division III college teams.... The Division I final pitted Cincinnati Moeller against Mentor. It ended up being an absolute shootout with Moeller coming away with a 55-52 victory. What stood out about Moeller? They are a college team at the high school level. Each starter on their offensive line weighed at least 280 pounds, with two of them tipping the scales at over 300. They have Division I college players all over the field, yet they had to hang on for the win because of the effort of Mentor. Mentor reached their third state final behind the play of quarterback Connor Krizancic. They had quite the playoff run. They defeated St. Ignatius for the second year in a row in the playoffs 26-3, then the next week pulled off the same thing in beating St. Edward 41-38. In the end, too much Moeller talent, and too much Gus Ragland, who threw for 273 yards, and ran for 189. Mentor will be back, and they solidified themselves as maybe the best public school program in the state.
2. Turnovers ruin Glenville's chance at first ever state title.... Glenville will eventually win a state title, but when they do, it won't be turning the ball over seven times, like they did in losing to Loveland 41-23 in the Division II final. When Glenville takes care of the ball, they are as good as anyone in the state, including Division I teams. When they turn it over, anyone can beat them. Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith, and Marcelys Jones will all play big time Division I college football, but they want this game back. Let's take nothing away from Loveland. They are really good. They ignored the snow and slippery conditions, and ran their wing-t offense like a machine. One name to remember in the future is Loveland freshman running back Luke Waddell, who ran for 171 yards.
3. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary has a great defense.... SVSM repeated as state champions because they flat out stopped people. While the offense was sometimes inconsistent, the defense was excellent all the through the playoffs. Their best performance may have been their last one, a 24-0 shutout of Trotwood-Madison in the Division III final. Led by the Mr. Football award winner Dante Booker, the Irish harassed Trotwood-Madison quarterback and sophomore sensation Messiah DeWeaver into three interceptions. The Irish will need to replace both Booker and Parris Campbell, who will both be heading to Ohio State in the fall. For this season however, the Irish showed that they were the class of Division III.
4. Clinton-Massie "out Mooneys" Mooney.... The Division IV final figured to be an old fashioned "slobberknocker", and it lived up to its billing. Playing in blizzard like conditions, both teams strapped the chinstraps tight and did what they both love to do. RUN THE FOOTBALL. While Youngstown Mooney was the bigger name, and had state championship experience, it was the Falcons of Clinton-Massie that proved to be the tougher team. Both teams treat the pass at times like a disease, so the team that was going to run the football the best was going to win. Clinton-Massie rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit to win 28-21, to repeat as state champions. Bayle Wolf, maybe the best player in the state you have never heard of, ran for 180 yards and all four Falcon touchdowns.
5. Coldwater continues its amazing run.... What else can be said about the Coldwater Cavaliers? They were playing in their 5th straight state championship game. That is pretty obscene right there. They were looking to repeat as state champions, and bring home yet another state title for the best conference in Ohio, the Midwest Athletic Conference. They took on Columbus Bishop Hartley in the championship game on Saturday morning in a rematch of a regular season game in which Coldwater won. In a truly back and forth game, where Bishop Hartley held a huge edge in time of possession, Coldwater's defense never broke. Quarterback Brody Hoying made enough plays on offense, and Coldwater came away with a 24-7 victory.
6. Kirtland proves they are the class of Division VI.... After winning the state title in 2011, and reaching the final last season, Tiger LaVerde's Kirtland Hornets found themselves looking for the school's second state title when they took on Haviland Wayne Trace and its high flying offense. Kirtland's bread and butter is running the football, and they do it better that anyone in Division VI. Sam Kukura ran for 196 yards, and Adam Hess added 177 on the ground as Kirtland used a big second quarter and great defense to defeat Wayne Trace 44-16 to win the Division VI crown. It finished off a three year run where Kirtland has won 44 of their last 45 games.
7. The machine that is Marion Local.... The biggest odds-on favorite to win a state title this weekend were the Flyers of Marion Local, and they didn't disappoint. The small school located in Maria Stein continued its incredible run of success, winning its third consecutive state championship by shutting out Glouster Trimble 33-0 in the first ever Division VII final. Quarterback Adam Bertke and running back Jacy Goettemoeller keyed the offense, and the Flyer defense used two Trimble interceptions deep in their own territory to go on a 20-0 spurt in the first six minutes of the third quarter to put the game out of reach. It was the Flyers seventh state championship, and they became the second team from the MAC conference this season to win a state title, joining Coldwater, who won the Division V crown.