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2022 OHSAA Football State Championships Preview

November 30, 2022
2022 OHSAA Football State Championships Preview
Division I
By David Jablonski, Cox Media Group: Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun, The Journal-News.
The Springfield Wildcats (13-1), who have made four straight final four appearances, beat Moeller in the state semifinals for the second straight year and will play Lakewood St. Edward in the Division I state championship game for the second time in a row. They lost 23-13 last season in their first state final appearance. Springfield lost only to Kettering Fairmont, 24-21, in the regular season and avenged that defeat with a 21-0 victory in the second round of the playoffs. Quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer leads the offense with 47 touchdown passes and 316 passing yards per game. Anthony Brown has 20 touchdown catches and 1,543 yards receiving. Daylen Bradley has 90 receptions for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jaivian Norman leads the defense with 124 tackles, including 20 for a loss, while Aaron Scott has five interceptions.
Lakewood St. Edward
By Matt Goul, Cleveland.com
The defending state champions kept their sixth opponent in the seven weeks to one score or fewer, returning to Canton with a defense more unforgiving than the last one that reached Canton to face Springfield.
Northwestern recruit Michael Kilbane (16.5 sacks) leads the Eagles up front with fellow pass rusher and Coastal Carolina recruit Wyatt Gedeon (16 sacks). They combined for 28.5 sacks last year during a run to the state title, which culminated with a 23-13 win against Springfield.
What’s different is the personnel on offense. Junior right tackle Ben Roebuck holds scholarship offers from Penn State, Michigan State and several more Power Five schools and is a returning starter with center Ricky Wolverton, but two Power Five prospects have emerged at left tackle and left guard in Devontae and Deontae Armstrong. Junior quarterback Casey Bullock (1,770 yards passing with 18 TDs to six interceptions, 932 yards rushing and seven TDs) has command of the offense behind them with senior running back Marvin Bell Jr. (1,707 yards, 25 TDs) bringing a blend of power and speed.
The Eagles have won 10 straight since their only defeat, a mistake-plagued 31-28 loss at Massillon Washington in which they fumbled away the football in the final minute and gave up a three-point lead after missing four field goals. The only blemish on their record comes amid a regular season bookended by wins against the Division II state finalists with triumphs in between against three-time defending Colorado state champion Cherry Creek, Cincinnati Elder, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller for the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press state poll and, of course, rival St. Ignatius.
The only team to score more than once against them in the last seven weeks is Archbishop Hoban, which plays Thursday night for the Division II state title against Toledo Central Catholic, but suffered a 41-20 loss to the Eagles in Week 10. St. Edward played the Fighting Irish, too, opening with a 23-20 win in Lakewood.
Division II
Akron Archbishop Hoban
By Michael Beaven, Akron Beacon Journal 
Akron Archbishop Hoban is trying to win its sixth state championship in eight seasons after winning Division III titles in 2015 and 2016 and Division II titles in 2017, 2018 and 2020. Hoban’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 teams were each 14-1, the 2018 team went 15-0 and the 2020 team finished 11-0. The Knights finished as Division II state runner-up in 2021.
Tim Tyrrell is in his 10th season as Hoban’s coach and has a 116-19 record. The Knights enter Thursday with a 105-10 record during the past eight seasons. 

Hoban’s offense features senior running back Lamar Sperling. According to Hoban's statisticians, Sperling has run for 3,511 yards and scored 55 rushing touchdowns on 377 carries in 15 games this season. Sperling also has one receiving TD.
Sperling, a University at Buffalo recruit, has 1,425 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns on 152 carries in five playoff wins over Willoughby South (57-14), Barberton (41-13), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (47-7), Hudson (41-7) and Massillon Washington (41-20). Sperling ran for 308 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries against Willoughby South, 261 yards and four TDs on 28 carries versus Barberton, 285 yards and five TDs on 28 carries against Akron STVM, 293 yards and five TDs on 36 carries versus Hudson and 278 yards and four TDs on 38 carries against Massillon.
Hoban has an experienced offensive line with seniors Drew Holt, Zardakar Zaramo and Keon Johnson, junior William Satterwhite and sophomore Nate Cross. Junior Dominic Bush is a consistent blocker at fullback.
Knights junior quarterback JacQai Long has completed 130 of 193 passes for 1,916 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Long completed 10 of 16 passes in the win against Massillon last week for 217 yards and two touchdowns (one apiece to senior Jayvian Crable and junior Deon Rodgers).
Crable plays wide receiver on offense, linebacker, end and cornerback on defense and punts on special teams. Last week against Massillon, Crable totaled six receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown, made several tackles and punted twice for an average of 42.5-yards per boot.
Knights sophomore Tylan Boykin, junior Tysen Campbell and sophomore Micah Rice each grabbed an interception in the victory over Massillon last week. The Hoban defense also features junior linemen Jordan Pritchard-Sewell and Devin Bell, junior linebacker Rickey Williams, sophomore linebacker Eli Lee and junior backs Xavier Williams and Caleb Jones.
Toledo Central Catholic
By Steve Junga, Toledo Blade
Fifth-ranked Central Catholic (14-1) makes its fifth trip to a state championship game riding a 14-game winning streak after a season-opening 23-20 loss at top-ranked, defending Division I state champion Lakewood St. Edward. The three-time state-champion Fighting Irish of 23rd-year coach Greg Dempsey will face the only team that has beaten them in state final, having fallen 33-20 to Akron Hoban in the 2015 Division III title game at Ohio Stadium.
The Irish beat seventh-ranked Medina Highland 42-6 in the Region 6 semifinals, then topped sixth-ranked Avon 28-20 in the regional final. Last Friday, Central survived for a 52-49 win over eighth-ranked Kings Mills Kings, getting a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown carry from running back Chris Edmonds with 28 seconds remaining. The Irish then held on against the Knights, who drove 63 yards on three pass completions to the Central 17 with two seconds remaining. Kings was just short on a potential game-tying 34-yard field goal on the final play.
This year's Irish squad is led offensively by two seniors – Edmonds, who has carried 284 times for 2,038 yards and 34 touchdowns, and quarterback Ty'Waun Clark, who is 149 of 219 (68 percent) passing for 2,096 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions He has rushed 136 times for 858 yards and 11 scores. In the semis against Kings, Clark passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 128 yards. Edmonds carried for 112 yards and three scores.
Clark's top targets have been senior receivers Durye'a Hall (36 catches, 594 yards, 7 TD), Javon Murphy (41-525, 6 TD), Braden Awls (22-382, 4 TD), and Mekhi Warren (29-293, 2 TD).
The all-junior offensive line of center Kendric Bankston, guards Marc Nave and Elijah Williams, and tackles Tyrell Green and Davonte Wright-Ward averages 6-2 and 297 pounds. The Central defense is anchored up front by senior nose tackle Tyler Jackson and junior ends Michael Cannings and Ronald Collins. An all-senior linebacking corps includes Cody Schuberg, DeAndre Ellis, and Ramon Foster. Free safety Awls, a University of Toledo recruit, leads a secondary that also includes senior safeties Braiden Vargas and R.J. Maddox, and junior cornerbacks Marvon Greenlee and Jayden Barnes.
On the Northwest Ohio all-district team, Edmonds was named co-offensive player of the year, Schuberg was selected defensive player of the year, and Cannings was chosen lineman of the year. Other first team all-district honorees included Nave and Bankston as offensive linemen, and senior first-year kicker Brian “Bucky” Bishop, who is 77 of 80 on extra-point kicks, and 6 of 7 on field goals, including a 48-yarder in the semifinals versus Kings. Ellis, Awls, and Vargas were named to the all-district first team defense.
Dempsey (235-53 career record) has guided his alma mater to 21 postseason appearances in his 23 seasons, including the last 19 straight years. Central is 46-17 all-time in the playoffs under Dempsey, whose 2005 team edged Canfield 31-29 in the Division II championship game. The 2012 Irish topped Trotwood-Madison 16-12 in the D-II final.
In 2014, Central edged The Plains Athens 56-52 in the Division III final, the first championship game played at Ohio Stadium in 25 years. In that game, which saw 12 lead changes and was arguably one of the greatest Ohio finals ever played, the Irish toppled an Athens team led by quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio's 2014 Mr. Football. Since losing to Hoban in the 2015 final, the Irish have been unable to reach another state final until this year. They lost three times in state semifinals (2016, 2017, and 2019).
The Irish won their fifth straight outright Three Rivers Athletic Conference championship, closing out their membership in that league riding a 32-game winning streak. The TRAC will be disbanded following the 2023-24 school year, and Central and fellow conference members St. Francis de Sales and St. John's Jesuit from Toledo will join the Central Division of the highly-regarded Michigan-based Catholic High School League.
Division III
From Warren Tribune-Chronicle reports - Greg Macafee, Steve Ruman and Joel Whetzel
For the third time in the 51-year history of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football tournament, the state finals will include three teams from the Mahoning Valley. South Range, Canfield and Warren John F. Kennedy were all victorious in state semifinal games in their respective divisions. Now, the Raiders, Cardinals and Eagles will travel to Canton to play for a state championship.
The Mahoning Valley last sent three teams to title games in 1994. McDonald and Wellsville were defeated while West Branch won the Division III championship. In 1989, Campbell Memorial, McDonald and JFK all fell in their respective championship games.
Canfield is making its second state final appearance, and is seeking its first-ever state title. The 2005 Cardinals fell to Toledo Central Catholic 31-29 in the Division II championship game.
There’s the age-old adage that defense wins championships and so far through the 2022 season, that has rung true for the Canfield football team. While compiling a record of 13-1 this season, the Cardinals have only allowed 11.8 points per game and are coming off one of their best defensive performances of the season.
En route to their first regional title victory since 2005, the Cardinals limited the Chardon Hilltoppers — a team that had averaged 30 points per game this season — to just seven points in their 14-7 victory. West Branch and Ursuline, which averaged 45.3 and 37.3 points per game, respectively, were the only two teams this season to score more than 20 points on the Cardinals. The Warriors scored 31 points on Canfield in the opening week of the season and the Irish just recently scored 25 during their rain-soaked regional semifinal matchup at Niles’ Bo Rein Stadium.
During Canfield’s lone loss this season, the Chaney Cowboys tallied 16 points on the Cardinals but part of that scoring output came on a safety and a pick-6 touchdown.
In arguably the biggest game of his career last weekend, Canfield quarterback Broc Lowry showed what he was truly capable of. The Indiana University-bound quarterback rushed 18 times for 228 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Canfield Cardinals past Holy Name, 38-21, to secure a spot in the Division III state championship
By Tom Wilson, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette
This is Bloom-Carroll’s first appearance in the state championship game. The Bulldogs reached the Division IV state semifinals the last two seasons before moving up to Division III this year.
Led by fist-year coach Jeremy McKinney, who was the defensive coordinator, Bloom-Carroll got off to a rough start by losing the first game, but have sense reeled off 14 consecutive victories. Bloom-Carroll’s senior class have had a quite a run the last four seasons by compiling an outstanding 47-6 overall record, including a 14-3 mark in the playoffs during that span.
The Bulldogs found the winning formula by running the football behind a massive offensive line led by junior Jaden Ball (6-4, 280). Junior running back Dylan Armentrout has rushed for 2,115 yards and 18 touchdowns, including 230-yard, three touchdown performance in the state semifinal win. Andrew Marshall has 1,085 yards and 14 touchdowns, and senior Chase Plantz leads the team with 19 rushing touchdowns.
Through 15 games, the Bulldogs have rushed for 4,231 yards, including 1,351 in five playoff games. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 522-166.
Bloom-Carroll cruised to its fifth consecutive Mid-State League-Buckeye Division title, and in their playoff run, have knocked off four higher-seeded teams, including Tri-Valley, Sheridan, Watterson and Tippecanoe.
Bloom-Carroll has forced 15 turnovers in five playoff games, and are led by Marshall, a linebacker who is committed to Kent State. Heading into the state semifinal, he had totaled 183 tackles, including 112 solos, 33 tackles for loss, five sacks and two interceptions.
Division IV
By Matt Goul, Cleveland.com
Glenville’s return to form began to take shape in the spring of 2021, when the OHSAA allowed schools that sat out the previous fall during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic a chance to catch up with two weeks of spring football. For Glenville, those sessions culminated with a scrimmage at Lorain. Many freshmen suited up for the first time, though they hardly looked like ninth graders. D’Shawntae Jones, just as imposing now as a 240-pound junior, rotated between quarterback and running back. He’s done that ever since, opening this season with three big games in wins at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Olentangy Liberty and Avon. Jones rushed for 481 yards and six touchdowns on 54 carries.
Following six Senate League blowouts, in which Glenville didn’t give up a point, and two convincing blowouts to start the Division IV playoffs, Jones put up more gaudy performances. Chief among them: a career-high 287 yards and five TDs in the regional finals against Van Wert. Jones has rushed for 527 yards and nine TDs on 49 carries in the last three weeks, leading Glenville to the state finals for the first time since 2013.
Of course, Glenville last made it this deep in the playoffs as a Division II program. The school’s enrollment has gradually decreased, and the football program moved to Division III in 2017 before falling to D-IV in time for the 2020 season, when the Cleveland Metropolitan School District didn’t allow athletics to take place. For much of the last decade, some of Glenville’s top talents transferred out of the district to help nearby programs at Euclid, St. Edward and elsewhere.
Many of the juniors and seniors who saw their first varsity football action at a spring scrimmage in 2021 played together on three Glenville youth teams that won national titles during their Pop Warner years. They have now become Division I college recruits, including Ohio State-bound senior linebacker Arvell Reese, junior cornerback Bryce West (21 offers, including Ohio State and Georgia), junior tight end Damarion Witten (Ohio State offer), junior tackle Fred Johnson Jr. (Michigan and Michigan State offers) and Jones (Kentucky, Marshall and Syracuse).
Jones also is the nephew of former Glenville standout and Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones. Both the elder Jones and Ted Ginn Jr. have been constant presences on the sidelines this season for Glenville, as Ted Ginn Sr. looks to bring the first OHSAA state football title to a Cleveland city school in his third trip to the finals.
The Tarblooders came close before, losing by a point to Hilliard Davidson in 2009 and to Loveland in 2013.
Cincinnati Wyoming
By Mike Dyer, WCPO-TV
Wyoming High School football coach Aaron Hancock likes to tweet '1-0' after the Cowboys are victorious this season. That mentality is a recipe for success as the Cowboys are in the state final for the first time since 2018. Wyoming has 10 shutouts this season which is on the OHSAA state record list for most shutouts in a season.
Wyoming is making its fourth state final appearance with its most recent state title in 2018 as the Division IV state champion. Wyoming also won a Class AA state title in 1977 and was Class AA state runner-up in 1975.
Senior running back CJ Hester, an Ohio Mr. Football finalist and Western Michigan University verbal commitment, has 48 rushing touchdowns this season which is tied for fifth in a single season in state history.
Hester is part of a senior class that is 50-3 in their careers. The Cowboys are on a 67-game regular season win streak, the top streak in Ohio in all divisions.
The Cowboys qualified for the OHSAA playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. Wyoming was a back-to-back No. 1 seed in Division IV, Region 16.
Wyoming is No. 1 in all-time winning percentage in Ohio high school football history, according to the program.
Division V
By Paul Boggs, Portsmouth Daily Times
Another opening weekend in December, and once again Ironton’s tradition-rich Fighting Tigers are spending it in Stark County —playing for a third all-time state football championship. For the 11th time in its illustrious program history, Ironton is involved in the state championship game —including now a third time in four years in Division V.
The 15-0 Fighting Tigers, which won state titles in 1979 and again in 1989, tangle with fellow undefeated South Range for the Division V state championship —on Friday, Dec. 2 at 10:30 a.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. With their 35-21 come-from-behind triumph over Valley View in the state semifinals, the Fighting Tigers accomplished something no other Ironton team has done —win 15 games in a single football season.
Their 34-0 shutout of Harvest Prep, for the Fighting Tigers’ 14th all-time regional championship, marked victory 14 —then tying the 1989 team for the most in one year. Ironton is coached by fifth-year mentor Trevon Pendleton —a three-time Southeast District Division V Co-Coach of the Year.
Ten total Fighting Tigers players earned all-Southeast District Division V in 2022 —including the Offensive Player of the Year Ty Perkins and Defensive Player of the Year Lincoln Barnes. The state championship game will be the second starting for the linebacker Barnes, and second as the starting quarterback for senior Tayden Carpenter. In the Fighting Tigers’ triumph over Harvest Prep, Carpenter completed three touchdown passes to Perkins —who also made two defensive interceptions. Perkins and senior linebacker Trevor Carter are verbally committed to the University of Cincinnati, while senior running back Jaquez Keyes —who rushed for three touchdowns and 150 yards on 13 carries in the Fighting Tigers’ state semifinal win —is verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin.
Canfield South Range
From Warren Tribune-Chronicle reports - Nathanael Hawthorne
After a dominating 35-0 win over Liberty Central in the Division V state semifinal game, the South Range Raiders are headed to Canton for a shot at the state title for the first time in program history. The Raiders’ high-powered offense started in the first quarter and didn’t look back. Senior quarterback Billy Skripac connected with Ayden Leon on a 52-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring for South Range (15-0).
Skripac led the offensive charge, going 14-of-18 for 263 yards with four touchdowns in the air. He also got it done on the ground with 31 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
South Range coach Dan Yeagley has been here before. Over the last 28 years at the helm of the Raiders’ program, this season marks the third time South Range has been to the state semifinals.
Yeagley has been at the helm at South Range since 1994. Being head coach for over 25 years, Yeagley has seen his fair share of teams who looked as if they could go the distance, but ultimately fell short. This group, however, is different, and he credits the 20 seniors who lead the pack.
Division VI
Marion Local
By GARY R. RASBERRY, The (Celina) Daily Standard
The 2022 Marion Local football season can be described in one word: dominating. The Flyers have set a state record with 11 shutouts this season and have allowed just 33 points, 16 of which came against Division VII state finalist New Bremen. In the postseason, the Flyers have outscored opponents 218-3, with the only points scored by Versailles in the regional final.
As potent as Marion Local has been been on defense, the offense has also prospered. Marion Local has only scored fewer than 30 points twice this season and has played with a running clock in 12 of 15 games. The depth of Marion’s offense has been crucial, as teams cannot key in on one player.
For coach Tim Goodwin, Saturday will be his 16th state championship game since coming to Maria Stein in 1999. With 12 state title trophies already in the case, the Flyers will be up for the challenge to bring home a 13th title against a Kirtland team they have already faced in finals three other times.
By John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald
In his 17th year at the helm at Kirtland, head coach Tiger LaVerde has a 214-18 (.922) record with the Hornets. Combined with a 20-10 record in three years coaching in Pennsylvania, LaVerde's career record is 234-28 (.893). He has the highest winning percentage in OHSAA history, was the fastest coach in OHSAA history to 200 wins, the third-fastest coach in US history to reach 200 wins at one school, and has the eighth-highest winning percentage in US history.

Under LaVerde, the Hornets have won six state championships and they were state runner-up four times. Kirtland has never lost a state semifinal game, going 11-0 in such games. Kirtland takes great pride in not having open enrollment, once again sporting a competitive balance number of 0 - meaning none of their players are from outside the school district.
Kirtland is a run-heavy team. The Hornets have carried 615 times for 4,786 yards this year (an average of 7.8 yards per carry) and completed 62 of 121 passes for 1,050 yards. senior Tommy Gogolin (134 carries, 1,543 yards, 16 TDs) and junior Rocco Alfieri (157 carries, 1,264 yards, 24 TDs) lead the rushing attack, sophomore Gino Blasini (24 catches, 512 yards, 7 TDs) is the leading receiver, Jake LaVerde (54-106 passing, 980 yards) is the quarterback.

Defensively, Kirtland is undersized compared to most of the teams they face but relies on speed and strength. Philip LaVerde has more than 160 tackles this season. Both Tommy Gogolin and Will Sayle were first team All-Ohio defensive backs last year. The lines are anchored by two-time first team all-Ohioan George Prusock III.
LaVerde's sons are both on the team, freshman Jake is the starting quarterback and senior Phillip starts at linebacker and also plays running back. It's the first time Jake and Phillip have been on the same team together, and hence the first time - and only time - Tiger LaVerde will get to coach both of his sons on the same team.

As members of the big-school Chagrin Division of the Chagrin Valley Conference, Kirtland did not face a Division VI team until postseason play. The Hornets' regular season included 10 opponents from larger divisions, including one Division II team and four Division III teams.

Senior running back Tommy Gogolin was a first team Division V All-Ohioan in 2021 as a defensive back. This year, along with starting at cornerback, he has run for a team-leading 1,543 yards and 16 touchdowns. He did not play football until eighth grade, previously participating in soccer instead.

Senior offensive lineman Joe Pekar (6-1, 205) shed 50 pounds in the offseason as he, his father and brother changed their eating habits in a family diet. But the Hornet coaching staff said Pekar is just as strong as last year, when he played at 255 pounds, but is quicker off the snap. Linebacker Macguire Boyd and tight end Adam Knaack are both having stellar seasons after having their 2021 seasons ended early - Boyd with a broken and dislocated hip and Knaack with torn knee ligaments.
The Hornets take great pride in their weight-lifting program. The morning after last year's state championship loss to Versailles, 39 players came in for a non-mandatory lift. A dozen members of this year's team are in the program's "900 Club," which combines bench-press, squat and dead-lift numbers. Strength coach Ray Sullivan, whose sons Mason and Gage were All-Ohioans at Kirtland, runs the Kirtland weight program.
Division VII
New Bremen
By GARY R. RASBERRY, The (Celina) Daily Standard
Less than 10 years after there was serious talk to disband the program due to lack of numbers and struggles to be competitive, New Bremen is playing for its second state championship in three seasons when the Cardinals face Warren John F. Kennedy for the second time in the Division VII state final.
Coach Chris Schmidt patiently moved a team that went 0-10 the season he arrived into a playoff team and then the Division VII state champion in 2020. Facing tough competition in the Midwest Athletic Conference, the Cardinals kept improving to become a conference contender.
The Cardinals’ Wing-T set is potent with quarterback David Homan and running back Hunter Schaefer each gaining over 1,000 yards rushing. On defense, New Bremen has allowed 15.6 points per game and recorded 21 takeaways.
Warren JFK
From Warren Tribune-Chronicle reports - From Brian Yauger and Neel Madhaven
The quintessential Kennedy football game is simple. Power through in the running game and play lockdown defense. The Eagles haven’t changed much, either. JFK is still a team that prides itself on its physicality, its ability to run the ball and its stout defense.
In 2020, the Eagles relied on the heroics of former standout Cam Hollobaugh. Last year, JFK’s explosive run game, led by former star Antwan Brown, was limited by the Green Wave’s defense.
This year, JFK is a little more multidimensional on offense with a plethora of weapons, including Caleb Hadley, Aidan Rossi, Antonio Smith, Thomas Easton and a handful of others.
The New Bremen Cardinals dispatched the Eagles 31-0 in 2020’s state title game and Kennedy is ready for the rematch.
In the state semifinals, the Eagles were pushed and pushed by Newark Catholic on both sides of the ball Saturday night, but Kennedy stuck to their gameplan and powered to a 21-7 victory in the Division VII state semifinals to punch their ticket to the state championship for the second time in three years.


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