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2016 OHSAA Football State Championships - Recaps

Division II

Cincinnati La Salle Wins Third-Straight State Title, Defeats Massillon Perry 14-7 in Division II State Final Rematch
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cincinnati La Salle captured its third-consecutive OHSAA Division II football state championship by way of a 14-7 victory over Massillon Perry in the 2016 OHSAA Division II football state championship at Ohio Stadium on Thursday night.
With the victory, fifth-ranked La Salle (13-2) becomes the first team in OHSAA football history to win three-straight Division II state championships.
“This game typified our team,” La Salle head coach Jim Hilvert said. “We had the heart of a champion and didn't flinch. it was a game of two halves. We killed ourselves in the first half but turned it around in the second half. Our kids toughed it out and got it done. To win the GCL outright and go on this playoff run to win three straight championships puts us in history in Ohio high school football.”
No. 10 Perry (12-3) was making its second-consecutive state final appearance and held La Salle to 235 total yards, zero yards passing and two turnovers a year after falling 42-0 to La Salle in the 2015 OHSAA Division II football state championship.
But the La Salle defense was able to limit Perry to 168 total yards and zero offensive touchdowns. The Lancers forced four Perry turnovers and held the Panthers to just 21 yards passing.
La Salle was led by senior Tre’Sean Smith, who rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, all the in the second half. Senior Christian Turner finished with 76 yards rushing on 10 carries. Senior Jarell White carried the ball 12 times for 47 yards and recorded 10 tackles defensively for the Lancers.
For Perry, senior Nick Myers rushed for a team-high 59 yards on 16 carries. Junior quarterback Max Baker recorded 55 yards rushing on 12 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, senior Jarrett Mercier recorded a game-high 12 tackles.

Perry scored its lone touchdown of the contest at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter, when Perry junior Dominick Bowman intercepted a La Salle screen pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead, that they would carry into the locker room at halftime.
But La Salle struck back in the third quarter. Smith scored on a three-yard touchdown run to cap a 12 play, 84-yard drive in which he carried the ball seven times, tying the contest at 7-7 with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, La Salle began a drive at its own 45-yard line with 6:00 to go and the game tied at 7-7. La Salle’s White rushed for four yards to begin the drive, then Smith ran for gains of eight yards, six yards and nine yards on the next three plays to advance the ball to Perry’s 38-yard line. On the ensuing play, La Salle’s Turner broke free for a 26-yard gain to push the ball to the Panther 12-yard line. Smith scored from 12 yards out on a run to the right side on the next play, giving La Salle a 14-7 lead with 3:46 remaining.
On the ensuing Perry drive, La Salle senior defensive back Tyler Richardson intercepted a pass on second down and returned the ball 14 yards to the Perry 11-yard line with 2:37 remaining.
Perry’s defense held firm on the ensuing La Salle possession. On fourth down, Perry sophomore Robby Kirchner intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned the ball to the eight-yard line, giving the Panthers possession and new life with 1:47 to go.
But La Salle’s defense forced its fourth and most crucial turnover of the night with 1:03 to go, as sophomore Brody Ingle forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore Garrett Bledsoe, sealing the win and state championship for La Salle, 14-7.
Attendance for the game was 6,750.

Division VI

Maria Stein Marion Local Wins Ninth State Title, Defeats Cuyahoga Heights 21-17 in Division VI State Championship
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maria Stein Marion Local defeated Cuyahoga Heights 21-17 in the 2016 OHSAA Division VI football state championship at Ohio Stadium on Friday. The win marks the school's ninth state football championship and makes it five titles in the past six years.
Marion Local's ninth OHSAA state championship puts the Flyers in a tie for second place in OHSAA football history for most state championships, trailing only Cleveland St. Ignatius' 11. With the victory, Midwest Athletic Conference teams have captured 31 OHSAA football state championships.
"We went into the locker room at half time happy with how we had been playing," Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin said. "We were controlling the line of scrimmage and doing what we wanted to on offense. In the second half, Cuyahoga Heights changed some things up and started giving us problems. Looking back now, that 99-yard drive in the first half was so huge for the end result. Our kids are so gritty and tough. It feels great to be back on top."
Marion Local was led by senior quarterback Duane Luegers, who rushed for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries, also throwing for 114 yards on 9-of-15 passing. Senior Ryan Thobe led the team in receiving with six catches for 95 yards.
Senior quarterback Brett Lowther carried the bulk of the offensive load for the Cuyahoga Heights Redskins, passing for 186 yards and added 32 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Senior linebacker Tyler Selig led the defense with ten tackles and two interceptions.
Fueled by long passing plays, both teams were able to score on their first possessions. Cuyahoga Heights received the opening kick and drove 55 yards on seven plays leading to a 31-yard field goal by senior kicker Mark Shafer. Marion Local answered with an eight play, 71-yard drive, capped by a Nate Moeller one-yard touchdown run to put the Flyers up 7-3.
After being stopped on a third down and six, Cuyahoga Heights quarterback Brett Lowther punted and pinned Marion Local back to its one yard line. But Marion Local senior quarterback Duane Luegers then led the Flyers on a 19 play, 99 yard drive, consuming 9:40 that concluded with a one-yard touchdown run by Luegers to increase Marion Local's advantage to 14-3.
After stopping the Redskins on a fourth down and one from their own 34 yard line, Marion Local put another touchdown on the board with a 22-yard run by Luegers, his second of the game, putting Marion Local up 21-3 with 1:52 remaining in the second quarter.
Cuyahoga Heights responded in the second half, starting strong by forcing a Marion Local three and out and scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession, a two-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Brett Lowther to bring the Redskins to within 11, 21-10, with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter.
With 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Cuyahoga Heights blocked a Marion Local punt and recovered at the one yard line before junior fullback Lucas D'Orazio scored to cut the deficit to just 21-17 with 11:41 remaining.
A Marion Local drive that brought the ball to the Redskins' one-yard line ended with an interception in the endzone by senior linebacker Tyler Selig, his second of the game. The following Cuyahoga Heights possession also ended with a turnover. Sophomore safety Matt Rethman made a one-handed interception on a deep pass attempt by Lowther, to give the Flyers possession.
But Marion Local's defense held firm, forcing two Cuyahoga Heights turnover-on-downs in the final four minutes to seal the win and the state championship, 21-17.
Attendance for the game was 6,270.

Division IV

Game-Winning Field Goal Lifts Columbus Bishop Hartley Past Steubenville in Division IV State Final, 24-21
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Bishop Hartley sophomore kicker Matteo Agriesti connected on a 31-yard field goal as time expired to give the Hawks a 24-21 victory over Steubenville in the 2016 OHSAA Division IV state championship on Friday at Ohio Stadium.
No. 8 Bishop Hartley (13-2) earned its fourth state championship with the win and their second-consecutive Division IV state title.
Late in the fourth quarter after forcing a Bishop Hartley punt, Steubenville took over at the Hawks’ 49-yard line with 3:48 to go. The Hawks held Steubenville to fourth-and-three from the 24-yard line, and the Big Red attempted a 41-yard field goal. The attempt went about 10 yards, and Bishop Hartley senior Cody Kirkbride caught the ball and returned it 59 yards to the Steubenville 23-yard line with 1:32 to go. After three plays, Agriesti came on for a 31-yard attempt with two seconds to go, and he connected on the try, earning a 24-21 victory and state title for the Hawks.
“I’m really proud to again be a part of a game of this magnitude,” Bishop Hartley Head Coach Brad Burchfield said. “It was everything a state championship game should be. Both teams played very hard. It was not perfect. We lament that a little bit, but that’s what happens when you play against somebody that is really, really good. We’re really proud of our school. Four state championships puts us as the one in Central Ohio and we’re really happy about that. Back-to-back state championships put us in pretty elite company in our school, but this was about the senior class and these kids and winning this season and winning this game.”
Bishop Hartley outgained Steubenville 322-245 in total yards, rushing for 285 yards. Hawks senior Marquette Dixon rushed for 178 yards on 31 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown. Senior running back Nick Onega recorded 107 yards rushing on just five carries, also adding a touchdown for the Hawks.
No. 5 Steubenville (13-2) was led by senior tailback Jalen McGhee, who rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries, scoring one touchdown. Senior tight end Charles Reeves added three catches for 60 yards for the Big Red.   
After a 51-yard punt by Steubenville junior quarterback Javon Davis pinned Bishop Hartley at its own two-yard line, the Hawks embarked on a 98-yard drive that covered nine plays, capped off by a 38-yard touchdown run by Onega to give Bishop Hartley a 7-0 lead at the 5:44 mark of the first quarter.
Following a Bishop Hartley fumble that was recovered at the Big Red 41-yard line by Steubenville’s Johnny Agresta, the Big Red answered with a 41-yard drive that was finished off with a nine-yard touchdown run by McGhee, tying the game at 7-7 at the 11:22 mark of the second quarter.
Bishop Hartley recovered a Steubenville fumble at the Big Red 35-yard line with 9:34 to go in the second quarter, then senior quarterback Jake Ruby did the rest, finding senior Jaden Manley for a 32-yard touchdown pass and catch, giving the Hawks a 14-7 lead at the 8:02 mark of the second quarter.
Bishop Hartley extended its lead with 5:32 to go until halftime when senior Marquette Dixon broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run, increasing the Hawks’ advantage over Steubenville to 21-7.
The Big Red countered before halftime on a fourth-and-goal touchdown run by Johnny Agresta from the two-yard line, getting a second push following initial contact to cut the deficit to 21-14 going into halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter and with 5:48 to go in the fourth quarter, Davis connected with Reeves for a 21-yard touchdown pass-and-catch for Steubenville, tying the game at 21-21.
Agriesti kicked the final score of the game, earning the win for the Hawks.
Attendance for the game was 8,636.

Division I

St. Xavier Tops St. Ignatius in Division I State Championship Double Overtime Thriller, 27-20
Bombers Claim Their Third State Championship In School History, First Since 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio—St. Xavier (10-5) won a double overtime thriller over St. Ignatius (13-2) in the 2016 Division I state championship game at Ohio Stadium Friday night. It was the Bombers’ third overtime victory of the 2016 playoffs and the third in the last four weeks. It marks St. Xavier’s third football state championship and first since 2007.
It was only the second double overtime game in OHSAA Division I state championship history. The Bombers are the first team in Ohio high school football history to win a state championship with five losses.
“It's kind of a little surreal right now,” said Steve Specht, St. Xavier head football coach. “When you finish a season 5-5 and everybody is looking at you sideways and wondering how you're sneaking into the playoffs, now we're sitting here champions at 10-5. It's been an unbelievable year. I'm just kind of stumped right now.”
On the first offensive drive of the game, St. Ignatius’ Michael Chime blocked Joshua Glazer’s punt and fell on the ball in the endzone to put the Wildcats up 7-0 only 57 seconds into the game.
Wildcat special teams aided in the building of their first quarter lead. A Mark Bobinski punt return of 26 yards set up a 45-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett that put the Wildcats up 10-0 with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter.
An interception by St. Xavier’s Carl Grimm gave the Bombers the ball at their own 30-yard line with 3:28 remaining in the first quarter, but a three-and-out forced the Bombers to punt the ball back to the Wildcats.
The Bombers and Wildcats traded six punts in the second quarter and punted a total of 10 times for a combined 416 yards in the first half.
Just a minute into the second half, Grimm forced a fumble and recovered it for St. Xavier at the St. Ignatius 34-yard line. Kevin Rockwood cashed in on a 31-yard field goal five plays later to put the Bombers on the board, 10-3 with 9:21 left in third quarter.
The first offensive touchdown of the game came on a 21-yard pass from St. Xavier’s Sean Clifford to Andrew Wittrock to tie the score at 10-10 with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter.
St. Xavier attempted a field goal with 9:28 left in the game, but Kevin Rockwood’s 38-yard try fell short.
After a punt pinned St. Ignatius deep in its own territory, St. Xavier’s Blake Bacevich recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown to give the Bombers their first lead of the game at 17-10 with 6:49 remaining.
St. Ignatius would mount a game-tying 14-play, 80-yard drive minutes later, capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Ryan to Michael Drobnick on fourth-and-11 with 1:11 remaining in the game.
St. Xavier would drive into Wildcat territory in the last minute, but a penalty negated a chance at a game-winning field goal in regulation.
After both teams traded field goals in the first overtime, St. Xavier took the lead for good on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Clifford to Wittrock in the second overtime to put the Bombers ahead 27-20. The Bomber defense held on St. Ignatius’ double overtime possession, and the Bombers were crowned Division I state champions for 2016.
“Boy what a great football game,” Specht said. “I'm so proud of my kids, so proud of my coaching staff. I think back in week two—we lost our second game and are 0-2 and looking at a pretty brutal schedule in front of us, but these kids stayed the course. I couldn't be more proud of a group of kids.”
Clifford finished the game 10-of-25 for 142 yards and two touchdowns for St. Xavier. Wittrock had three receptions, two of which were for touchdowns. St. Xavier senior punter Josh Glaser punted the ball seven times for 302 yards (average of 43.1), dropping three punts inside the Ignatius 20-yard line.
Mark Bobinski rushed for 140 yards on 34 carries for St. Ignatius, while Patrick finished 7-of-21 for 64 yards and one touchdown. The Wildcats broke a state championship game record for all divisions with nine sacks. It is the second state runner-up finish in school history.
A state final record for most combined field goals in all divisions (four) was set in the game. Also, Trickett (St. Ignatius) and Rockwood (St. Xavier) both tied the state final record for all divisions with two field goals made.
The attendance for the game was 13,690 – the highest single-game attendance number since the OHSAA football state championship games returned to Ohio Stadium in 2014.

Division VII

Warren John F. Kennedy Captures Second State Championship, Defeats Minster 24-6 in Division VII State Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Warren John F. Kennedy defeated Minster 24-6 to win the 2016 OHSAA Division VII state championship at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, earning its second OHSAA football state title and its first since 1991.
The Eagles (14-1), who held their opponents to 5.8 points per game during their playoff run, forced three Minster turnovers. John F. Kennedy’s squad was made up of 19 returning starters, and 14 seniors earned their first state title on Saturday.
“This is my first time here,” Warren John F. Kennedy Head Coach Jeff Bayuk said, who was making his first state final appearance in his 27 years as a head coach. “I was a little nervous, but we got our feet underneath us and I’m really proud of the way they performed. I’ve been proud of the way they’ve performed all year. The state championship at Warren JFK is something that has been our goal for the last three years.”
Minster (10-5) was making its second state championship appearance in the last three years. The Wildcats defeated Kirtland 46-42 in the 2014 Division VI state final.
Warren John F. Kennedy senior Evan Boyd rushed 36 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, setting records for carries and rushing yards in a Div. VII state final, which was first implemented in 2013. Junior quarterback Gregory Valent rushed for 44 yards on 12 carries and scored one touchdown.
Minster struck first, as junior quarterback Jared Huelsman finished off a five-play, 59-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, giving the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with 1:51 to go in the first quarter. The extra point was no good.
But John F. Kennedy seized the lead in the second quarter. Following an interception by senior Ryan Lee that gave the Eagles the ball at the Minster eight-yard line, John F. Kennedy used three plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Valent to take a 7-6 lead at the 6:02 mark of the second quarter.
Then with 1:40 remaining until halftime, Bofenkamp connected on the first made field goal in a Division VII football state championship, a 29-yard kick, increasing the Eagles’ advantage to 10-6 going into halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Boyd capped off a nine-play, 43-yard John F. Kennedy drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 1:22 to go in the quarter, giving the Eagles a 17-6 lead heading into the final period. 
Following the John F. Kennedy touchdown, Minster embarked on a 14-play, 46-yard drive that gave the Wildcats first-and-goal, but the Eagle defense held firm, forcing Minster into a turnover-on-downs and giving the ball back to the JFK offense with 8:26 to go.
Then with 3:10 to go, Boyd iced the game for John F. Kennedy, breaking free on fourth-and-two for a 39-yard touchdown run to set the Division VII state championship record for rushing yards, giving the Eagles the final margin of victory.
Attendance for the game was 6,725.

Division III

Akron Archbishop Hoban Shuts Out Trotwood-Madison to Win Second Straight State Championship
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On a chilly Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium, the Archbishop Hoban Knights (14-1) defeated Trotwood-Madison 30-0 to win the school's second OHSAA Division III state football championship in as many years.
No. 3 Archbishop Hoban's 30-0 win over 10th-ranked Trotwood-Madison (12-3) is just the fifth shutout in OHSAA Division III state final history.
Following the game, Hoban coach Tim Tyrell explained how much this game meant. "It’s been a great season. It’s been an amazing run with a bunch of great guys and 23 seniors. Whatever the adversity might have been — because we had a bunch of it this year — they never gave up. They never lost sight of the ultimate goal, which the ultimate goal was tonight. My hat goes off to our seniors, our juniors and the whole community that became a family over a 15-game period."
Senior quarterback Danny Clark led the Hoban attack by going 7-for-10 passing for 165 yards, two touchdowns, and adding a touchdown on the ground. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive back Matt Salopek finished with two of the team's three interceptions.
Trotwood's first team all-state running back Raveion Hargrove was effective rushing, carrying the ball 24 times for 137 yards.
After both teams traded punts in the first five minutes of the game, first team all-state running back Todd Sibley got Hoban on the board with a 49-yard touchdown run. Sibley finished the game with 151 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. Hoban went for two following the Sibley touchdown by way of a fake field goal, but was unsuccessful.
Scoring stalled as two Trotwood-Madison drives were cut short by turnovers. On the edge of the Hoban red zone,  junior quarterback Markell Stephens-Peppers floated a pass over his receiver's head and was picked off by Matt Salopek, who returned the ball 57 yards to the Trotwood 38-yard line.
Again, the Trotwood offense was able to move the ball into Hoban territory, but a pass tipped at the line ended up in the hands of senior defensive back Danny Swain for Hoban's second interception. Starting at its own 45-yard line,  the Knights capitalized on the turnover and scored on a 10-yard play action pass from Danny Clark to freshman tight end Caden Clark, putting Hoban up 13-0 with 4:37 left in the half.
Quickly, the Hoban offense was able to strike again off the arm of the second team all-state quarterback. With just over a minute remaining in the half, Clark connected with junior wide receiver Garrett Houser for a 60-yard touchdown pass to give Hoban a 20-0 lead at the half.
The 20-0 lead was more than enough for a Hoban starting defense that had yet to give up a second-half touchdown this season.
Senior kicker Grant Kersh started the second half scoring with a 32-yard field goal, putting Hoban up 23-0 early in the third quarter. A 56-yard Sibley run down to the Trotwood six-yard line led to the Kersh field goal.
Clark put the finishing touch on the game late in the third quarter with a 34-yard scamper into the end zone, putting Hoban up 30-0 with his third touchdown of the game.
This is Trotwood-Madison's fifth state runner-up finish, and eighth straight year that the Rams have made it to the state semifinals.
Attendance for the game was 7,396.

Division V

Canton Central Catholic Knocks Off Four-Time Defending State Champion Coldwater, 16-13
Crusaders Score Late Touchdown to Claim Third State Championship in School History, First Since 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Canton Central Catholic (11-3) scored a touchdown in the last minute of the game to knock off four-time defending state champion Coldwater (13-2) in dramatic fashion in the Division V state championship game at Ohio Stadium Saturday night. The Crusaders avenged their state championship game losses to the Cavaliers the previous two seasons.
Central Catholic’s Tee Rupp raced 55 yards down the sideline to the end zone off a pass from Jack Murphy to give the Crusaders a 16-13 lead with just 58 seconds remaining in the game. Coldwater was able to drive to the Central Catholic 39-yard line, but the Cavs’ Hail Mary pass was intercepted in the end zone on fourth-and-15 by Central Catholic's Brady Thompson to seal the win for the Crusaders. It is their third football state championship in school history and the first since 2000.
“Tee makes big plays for us,” said Jeff Lindesmith, Central Catholic head football coach. “He is a kid that has only played football for a couple of years, but he made some big plays throughout the course of the year.”
Both teams drove into opponent territory throughout the first half, only to have their drives stalled on multiple fourth down attempts. Central Catholic’s Harris Stuffel ended a Coldwater drive in the red-zone with 3:13 remaining in the half.
The first points of the game came as time expired in the first half. First-team All-Ohio kicker Dan Mills nailed a 48-yard field goal to give the Crusaders a 3-0 halftime lead over Coldwater. It is a Division V record for longest field goal made in a state championship game, breaking the record (Bluffton's Chad Koontz, 42) set in the 1991 state championship game against Newark Catholic.
On the first drive of the second half, Central Catholic’s Tee Rupp intercepted a Thobe pass deep in Coldwater territory. That set up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to Cameron Ruffin six plays later. The point-after was no good, and Central Catholic took a 9-0 lead with 7:09 left in the third quarter.
Coldwater got on the board when Thobe found a wide open Neal Muhlenkamp down the right side for a 22-yard touchdown to close the Crusader lead to 9-7 with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Both teams exchanged three-and-outs before Thobe capped off a nine-play, 60-yard drive on a four-yard touchdown run for Coldwater with 8:31 remaining in the game, which gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the game at 13-9.
With 2:49 remaining in the game, Central Catholic had the ball on its own eight-yard line trailing 13-9 needing a touchdown to take the lead. With under a minute remaining in the game, first-team All-Ohioan Tee Rupp went 55 yards down the sideline on a pass from Murphy to score the go-ahead touchdown to put the Crusaders up 16-13 with 58 seconds remaining. The drive totaled 92 yards on 11 plays.
The win snaps Coldwater’s consecutive playoff win streak at 24 games, tied for the most all-time.
“That’s a monster streak, and that is one heck of a program,” Lindesmith said. “I have studied them, and they do a heck of a job coaching them. To be honest, if we were going to win one, I wanted to beat them. It is not a revenge factor; it was just more out of respect.”
Murphy finished 18-of-29 for 214 yards and two touchdowns for the Crusaders. Cameron Ruffin had eight receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Rupp finished with three catches for 73 yards and the game-winning touchdown. First-team All-Ohio linebacker and Division V Defensive Player of the Year, Griffin Baumoel, led the Crusader defense with a game-high 10 tackles.
Coldwater’s Thobe finished 15-of-29 with over 100 yards passing (157) and rushing (101) for two total touchdowns. Zach Klosterman had eight receptions for a game-high 117 yards receiving. Senior defensive end Andrew Siefring finished with three sacks.
The attendance for the game was 5,954. The 2016 seven-game total attendance number for all state championships was 55,421.