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2023 OHSAA Football Playoffs Coverage

State Championships Schedule and Coverage

OHSAA Football State Championship Pairings
All games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton
Pairings shown with Associated Press state rank.
Designated home team listed first.
All games on Spectrum News 1 and OHSAA Radio Network.
Division II
No. 1 Massillon Washington (16-0) vs. No. 3 Akron Archbishop Hoban (13-2) | Massillon 7, Hoban 2 (Final Stats)
Division VI
No. 1 Kirtland (15-1) vs. Versailles (13-3) | Kirtland 32, Versailles 15 (Final Stats)
Division III
No. 1 Toledo Central Catholic (16-0) vs. No. 4 Columbus Bishop Watterson (14-2) | Toledo Central Catholic 27, Bishop Watterson 7 (Final Stats)
Division I
Springfield (10-6) vs. No. 1 Lakewood St. Edward (15-1) | St. Edward 31, Springfield 21 (Final Stats)
Division VII
No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local (16-0) vs. No. 5 Dalton (13-2) | Marion Local 38, Dalton 0 (Final Stats)
Division V
No. 1 Perry (16-0) vs. No. 2 Liberty Center (15-1) | Perry 21, Liberty Center 14 (Final Stats)
Division IV
No. 5 Cleveland Glenville (13-2) vs. Kettering Archbishop Alter (12-4) | Glenville 38, Alter 3 (Final Stats)

MaxPreps Ohio High School Football Scoreboard

2023 OHSAA Football Playoffs Coverage

State Championship Game Recaps

Division II
Massillon Rides Defense to First State Championship
CANTON, Ohio - Mylen Lenix scored on a 6-yard run midway through the second quarter and the defense did the rest as Massillon Washington defeated Akron Archbishop Hoban, 7-2, in the Division II state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Massillon finishes the season a perfect 16-0 and wins its first OHSAA state championship game. Hoban, playing in its eighth state final since 2015, finished 13-2 and runner-up for the third straight year.
The defenses were the story of the night. Massillon entered the game averaging 40.7 points per game on offense, while Hoban was averaging 33.7 points per game. In the state final, however, the defenses forced a combined 11 punts and held the offenses to a combined 3.2 yards per play in the lowest scoring state championship game since 1995 (Division III: Clyde 3, Chagrin Falls Kenston 0).
Hoban finished with 179 yards of total offense, while Massillon posted 120 yards. For Massillon, the state championship game capped a postseason in which all six of its opponents scored seven or fewer points.
The game was scoreless until Massillon blocked a Hoban punt and took possession at the Hoban 28 with 8:48 left in the first half. A facemasking penalty on fourth-and-10 extended the drive, and three plays later Lenix scored.
Later in the quarter, a Hoban punt was downed at the Massillon 1-yard line, and on first down Massillon quarterback DaOne Owens was tackled in his own end zone for a safety.
Both teams punted twice to open the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, a Massillon fake punt came up a yard short and Hoban took over at the Massillon 42, its best field position of the night, with 7:33 remaining. Hoban converted a fourth-and-1 and a third-and-3, advancing to the Massillon 10-yard line, before a fumbled snap on third down and an incompletion on fourth down ended the drive. Massillon kneeled twice to run out the clock.
Owens ran 16 times for 78 yards to lead the Massillon offense. Lenix, who scored the game’s lone touchdown, finished with 15 yards on seven carries.
Caleb Jones ran 15 times for 86 yards for Hoban.
The game drew 14,846 to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, the fourth largest crowd to watch a Division II state championship game and the largest crowd for any state title game since 2018, when 16,213 watched Hoban defeat Massillon in the Division II title game.
It marked just the third time in OHSAA state championship game history that one team was held to just a safety. The others: 2010 Division III (Columbus Bishop Patterson 13, Akron Buchtel 2) and 1977 AAA (Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller 14, Canton McKinley 2).

Division VI
Kirtland Wins Seventh Football State Title
CANTON, Ohio - Kirtland rushed for 311 yards and Will Beers returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score as the Hornets defeated Versailles, 32-15, in the 2023 Division VI state championship game.
Kirtland (15-1) becomes the ninth school with at least seven football state championships. All seven of Kirtland’s titles have come since 2011.
Versailles (13-3) finishes runner-up for the fourth time to go along with seven state titles of its own.
Kirtland scored the first three times it touched the football to build a 19-7 lead. Following a Versailles punt on the game’s opening possession, Kirtland drove 55 yards in nine plays for its first score. On second-and-goal from the Versailles 7, Jake LaVerde was stripped of the ball while running a quarterback draw; his fumble was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by teammate Gino Blasini.
Kirtland’s defense forced another punt, and Beers scored on a 6-yard run to cap a seven-play, 54-yard scoring drive for the Hornets. The point-after was blocked, and Kirtland led 13-0 with 3:07 left in the opening quarter.
AJ Griesdorn got Versailles on the scoreboard on the ensuing possession, hauling in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Michael Osborne just over a minute into the second quarter. Beers, however, returned the kickoff 90 yards—a Division VI championship game record—for another Kirtland touchdown to extend the Hornets’ lead to 19-7.
Kirtland nearly extended its lead just before halftime, recovering a muffed Versailles punt, converting two fourth-down conversions, and driving to the 3-yard line with seven seconds remaining in the half. The Versailles defense stopped Rocco Alfieri one yard short of the end zone on the final play of the half, and Kirtland took a 19-7 lead into the locker room.
Alfieri later scored on a 2-yard run midway through the third quarter to stretch Kirtland’s lead to 25-7. A 72-yard run by LaVerde in which he broke one tackle and spun out of another set up Alfieri’s score. 
After its defense forced a turnover on downs, Kirtland’s offense ground out a 16-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in Will Sayle’s recovery of a Beers fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on fourth and goal with 3:07 remaining.
Versailles closed out the scoring on its next possession, as Osborne scored on a 5-yard run with 55 seconds remaining.
 LaVerde ran for 124 yards on eight carries for Kirtland and tied a team-high with seven tackles on defense. Alfieri finished with 94 yards on 23 carries, while Beers rushed for 83 yards on 15 attempts.
Osborne led Versailles with 131 rushing yards on 25 carries. He also completed 10 of 23 passes for 124 yards and made a game-high 15 tackles on defense.

Division III
Toledo Central Catholic’s Defense and Run Game Lead Fighting Irish to Second-Straight State Title
CANTON, Ohio – No. 1 Toledo Central Catholic’s (16-0) defense forced three turnovers and the offense ran for 247 yards in a 27-7 win over No. 4 Columbus Bishop Watterson (14-2) in the 2023 OHSAA Division III State Championship at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Fighting Irish defense limited the Eagles to -6 rushing yards (139 total yards), scored seven points off the three Bishop Watterson turnovers, totaled eight tackles for a loss and four sacks. Central Catholic senior running back Marquan Braswell led the Fighting Irish rushing attack with 22 carries, 169 yards and two touchdowns. 2023 marks the fifth state championship in Central Catholic’s school history and the first back-to-back state title win for the Fighting Irish (beat Akron Archbishop Hoban 28-21 in Division II).
The first quarter started off with the Watterson Eagles’ freshman running back Ben Uhlenhake scoring a six-yard rushing touchdown, giving his team an early 7-0 lead at the 5:46 mark. The Fighting Irish responded with 27 unanswered points. Early in the second quarter, Fighting Irish junior defensive back Kevin Arnold intercepted a Bishop Watterson pass that led to Braswell’s first touchdown of the game at the 8:44 mark, tying the game 7-7. Both teams traded possessions after Central Catholic’s first score, but at the 1:19 mark the Eagles muffed a punt and the Fighting Irish recovered the ball on Watterson’s 19-yard line. Central Catholic scored 52 seconds later when senior quarterback Terry Collins tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Sharard Vaugh. The Fighting Irish went into the locker rooms with a 14-7 lead.
Bishop Watterson received the second half opening kickoff but generated -3 yards and turned the ball over on downs deep in their own territory (22-yard line) to the Fighting Irish with 9:24 in the third quarter. Central Catholic made quick work a minute later when Braswell scored his second rushing touchdown of the day on a seven-yard run. The Fighting Irish led 21-7 with 8:22 left in the third quarter.
Central Catholic started the fourth quarter with the ball but fumbled and the Eagles recovered with 9:46 left in the game. Watterson drove down the field, but a 16-yard pass from senior quarterback AJ McAninch to junior receiver Jake Uhlenhake that was ruled a touchdown on the field was overturned on review and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs with six minutes left in the game. The Fighting Irish only needed five plays to go 77 yards to score when senior receiver Jaylen Watson took a direct snap on a two-yard touchdown run with 3:12 left in the game. The Eagles got the ball on the ensuing possession, but threw an interception to put the game out of reach.
Central Catholic outgained Watterson by 179 total yards (318-139) and won the time of possession battle (25:56-22:04). Collins went 7-for-11 with 71 passing yards, one touchdown and four rushing yards while Watson finished with on 12 carries, 41 rushing yards and a touchdown. Fighting Irish junior receiver Lavelle Stokes led the team in receiving with 16 yards.
McAninch went 20-for-39 passing with 145 yards and two interceptions while Ben Uhlenhake led the Eagles in carries with seven, rushed for 13 yards and scored a touchdown. Watterson senior linebacker Dominic Purcell recorded 21 tackles, the most tackles in OHSAA state championship game history. Final attendance for the Division III state championship game was 4,342.

Division I
St. Edward Wins Third Straight State Title, 31-21 Over Springfield
CANTON, Ohio - Sophomore Brandon White ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns to lead Lakewood St. Edward to a 31-21 win over Springfield in the 2023 Division I state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
St. Edward (15-1) wins its third straight state title and seventh overall, becoming the eighth school with at least seven football state titles and the 12th school to win at least three consecutive state titles. Springfield (10-6) finished runner-up for the third consecutive season.
The teams combined for 42 first-half points before St. Edward’s defense and dominant rushing attack took over the second half.
Springfield went three-and-out on both of its first two drives to open the game, and both times St. Edward responded with touchdowns. Senior quarterback Casey Bullock scored on a 13-yard run to cap a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive that lasted 2:26, and White scored on a 20-yard run to finish off a seven-play, 76-yard drive that lasted 2:27. 
But after falling behind 14-0, Springfield scored touchdowns on its next two drives to even the score. Bay Bay Norman and Aaron Scott combined to run the ball on all nine plays, covering 76 yards, before Da’Shawn Martin recovered a Scott fumble in the end zone for the Wildcats’ first touchdown. 
St. Edward went three-and-out, and Springfield drove 53 yards in nine plays to tie the score. A 38-yard completion from Brent Upshaw to Martin on third-and-15 was the lone passing play on the drive, and Norman scored from 1 yard out on fourth-and-goal to tie the game. 
The teams then traded touchdowns just 15 seconds apart. St. Edward needed only five plays and 2:03 to regain the lead, with White scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:39 left in the half. Springfield’s Norman, however, returned the kickoff a Division I championship game record 93 yards for a touchdown and the game was tied again at 21-21 with 1:24 left in the half.
Springfield recovered its own onside-kick and drove to the St. Edward 4-yard line, but Upshaw was tackled at the 1 on the final play of the half and the teams went into halftime tied at 21-21.
After halftime, Springfield’s offense was limited to 70 total yards on five possessions that ended in three punts and two turnovers. St. Edward, meanwhile, mounted two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to salt the game away. Kellen Moyer converted a 36-yard field goal with 6:54 remaining to give St. Edward a 24-21 lead, and White closed the scoring with a 3-yard run with 1:27 left. St. Edward’s two fourth-quarter scoring drives combined took 18 plays, covered 118 yards, and drained 7:53 off the clock.
White carried the St. Edward offense, but Bullock added 63 yards on seven carries and completed 4 of 8 passes for 31 yards. All four of his completions went to Kyan Mason.
Springfield’s Norman ran for 76 yards on 15 carries to go along with his 93-yard kickoff return. Upshaw completed 12 of 18 passes for 97 yards.
Nate Gregory had 13 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, and forced two fumbles for the St. Edward defense. Kyron Dolby led the Springfield defense with 13 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
The Springfield-St. Edward matchup marked just the second time in OHSAA playoff history that two teams met in three consecutive state championship games. Coldwater and Canton Central Catholic played in three consecutive Division V title games from 2014-16.

Division VII
Marion Local Wins 14th Football State Title
CANTON, Ohio - Maria Stein Marion Local’s 48th consecutive win delivered its 14th football state title as the Flyers defeated Dalton, 38-0, in the Division VII state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Marion Local (16-0) won its third straight state title and 14th in 17 championship game appearances, all of which have come since 2000. The Flyers’ 14 championships are the most of any school in the state of Ohio.
Marion Local’s 48-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the state and already ranks as the fourth longest in state history (including postseason games). The Flyers’ last loss was in the 2020 regional finals to New Bremen.
Dalton (13-2) was making its first appearance in a football state championship game.
Marion Local scored four touchdowns three different ways and tacked on a field goal to build a 31-0 halftime lead. 
Kyle Otte (8 yards) and Ethan Heitkamp (1 yard) scored rushing touchdowns to cap first-quarter scoring drives for the Flyers. Dalton drove to the Marion Local 22 early in the second quarter before the Flyers’ Griffin Bruns stepped in front of an out route and returned the interception 80 yards for a touchdown, the first interception return for a score in Division VII championship game history.
The Marion Local defense then forced a three-and-out, and Victor Hoelscher returned the Dalton punt a Division VII championship game record 64 yards for another score. The Flyers led 28-0 with 5:55 left in the half.
Dalton’s fourth punt of the first half was returned 31 yards by Otte to set up the Flyers offense at the Dalton 28-yard line. Marion Local moved the ball to the 2, and Carson Bills kicked a 19-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half.
The only scoring of the second half came on the opening possession. Justin Knouff tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Otte to finish off a six-play, 65-yard drive.
Knouff completed 14 of 17 passes for 119 yards and ran five times for 64 yards for the Flyers. Otte ran eight times for 66 yards and a score and caught six passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. Heikamp finished with 57 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries and led the Marion Local defense with eight tackles.
Marion Local’s defense limited Dalton to 177 total yards and posted its fifth shutout in six postseason games. The Flyers allowed only seven total points in the six-game postseason.
Attendance at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was 6,331, the fifth-largest crowd in Division VII championship game history.

Division V
Top-ranked Perry Outlasts Liberty Center to Clinch the Pirates’ First State Title in School History
CANTON, Ohio- No. 1 Perry (16-0) fended off No. 2 Liberty Center’s (15-1) late comeback attempt to win the Division V state championship game, 21-14, on Saturday afternoon at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Liberty Center controlled the time of possession (29:40) in the game and had the same number of possessions as the Pirates (10). However, Perry outgained the Tigers, 437-275. The game saw three lead changes and two ties.
The Pirates struck first when junior quarterback Walter Moses tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Luke Sivon, giving Perry a 7-0 lead at the 4:51 mark in the first quarter. In response, Liberty Center’s senior fullback Trenton Kruse scored a 33-yard touchdown run capping off a drive that went 13 plays and 80 yards in eight minutes and 17 seconds to tie the game at seven with just over two minutes left in the first half. The teams went into the halftime break still tied at seven.
Liberty Center took their first lead of the game on their first possession of the second half when senior quarterback Landon Amstutz threw a four-yard touchdown pass to senior halfback Colton Kruse at the 7:54 mark in the third quarter. The Tigers only held onto their 14-7 lead for one minute and 51 seconds when Perry responded with senior Brayden Richards’ 37-yard touchdown pass to Sivon to tie the game at 14 with 6:03 left in the third quarter. The Perry defense forced a quick three-and-out on the ensuing Liberty Center possession. The Pirates only needed 16 seconds to score again when Richards rushed for a 60-yard touchdown to regain the lead for Perry, 21-14, with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams traded four possessions throughout the rest of the third quarter and midway through the fourth quarter. With 5:49 left in the game, Liberty Center sophomore punter Max Walker booted a 59-yard punt that was downed at the Perry one-yard line. The Pirates moved the ball inside the Liberty Center 30-yard line but stalled, turning the ball over on downs with 3:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.  The Tigers took over and orchestrated a 14-play drive on the ensuing possession. However, the Tigers’ comeback effort fell short, when Liberty Center turned the ball over on the Perry 17-yard line with 17 seconds left in the game. Perry took a knee to run out the rest of the clock to end the game.
Richards totaled 231 yards of offense for Perry (124 rushing, 61 passing and 46 receiving) and accounted for two of the Pirates’ touchdowns (one rushing and passing). Moses went 9-for-14 with 219 yards passing and threw a touchdown while Sivon finished with seven catches 139 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Amstutz went 5-for-17 with 37 yards passing and threw one touchdown. Colton Kruse caught the only receiving touchdown while his brother, Trenton Kruse, led the Tigers in rushing with 25 carries, 164 yards and a touchdown.
2023 marks Perry’s first state championship in school history. Total attendance for the Division V state championship game was 5,439.

Division IV
Glenville Wins Second Straight State Title
CANTON, Ohio - Cleveland Glenville used a dynamic offense and smothering defense to defeat Kettering Archbishop Alter, 38-3, in the Division IV state championship game.
Glenville (13-2) wins its second straight state title in its fourth appearance in a state final. Alter (12-4) finishes runner-up for the fourth time to go along with state titles in 2008 and 2009.
Glenville scored touchdowns on each of its four first-half possessions, piling up 287 yards of offense, while limiting Alter to 51 yards on 13 plays in the first half. The Tarblooders led 26-3 after two quarters.
Ruel Tomlinson had a hand in all four of Glenville’s first-half touchdowns. He opened the scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run, closed the half with a 2-yard run, and in between tossed 17-yard and 38-yard touchdown passes to Damarion Witten.
In the first half alone, Tomlinson completed 8 of 12 passes for 107 yards and ran eight times for 62 yards. D’Shawntae Jones ran for 107 yards on 21 carries in the first half.
Tony Arcuri kicked a 25-yard field goal late in the first half for the Knights’ only points.
Glenville opened the second half with touchdowns on its first two possessions. Jones scored on an 18-yard run midway through the third quarter that capped a 12-play, 73-yard scoring drive. An Alter punt then pinned the Tarblooders at their own 1-yard line, but five plays later Tomlinson found Quincy Rogers down the left sideline for a 78-yard touchdown pass.
Glenville finished the game with 461 total yards (254 rushing, 207 passing) on 63 offensive plays while surrendering just 130 yards (69 rushing, 61 passing) on 35 plays for Alter.
Tomlinson finished 10 of 17 through the air for 207 yards and three scores. He also rushed for 83 yards on 10 carries and scored twice. Jones ran 30 times for 161 yards and a score, while Witten’s five receptions went for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Noah Jones ran 10 times for 79 yards for Alter. Gavin Connor completed 5 of 14 passes for 61 yards.