Lakewood St. Edward
By Matt Goul, Cleveland.com
Back in the state finals after winning it in 2018, St. Edward comes with a returning starting quarterback in Christian Ramos. That’s a rarity for the Eagles, but it happened in 2018 with Garrett Dzuro leading them to the state crown against Huber Heights Wayne. Ramos is a dual threat with a powerful offensive line and 1,000-yard senior rusher Danny Enovitch. Football isn’t Ramos’ only sport, either. He is a Bowling Green commit for baseball.
Defensively, the Eagles are led by a multisport standout at middle linebacker in Zyion Freer-Brown. The senior also starts on the basketball team, but leads a defense that includes a Division I college prospect (Central Michigan, UT Martin offers) at cornerback in Joel Castleberry and two talented junior edge rushers in Michael Kilbane and Wyatt Gedeon. Their defensive interior is strong, as well, with senior linemen C.J. Harvey and Matthew Oudeman. Harvey’s play was vital in slowing Drew Allar and Medina for the Region 1 championship with six tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Castleberry’s older brother, Jordan, started at running back on the 2018 state title team. He walked on at Michigan and is now at UT Martin.
On the way to Week 16, St. Edward didn’t trail until overtime of a Week 9 loss to Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller. Division II state finalist Akron Hoban in Week 10, Medina in the regional championship and Upper Arlington last week also held brief leads on the Eagles.
Last week, St. Edward held Upper Arlington to 46 yards rushing and 97 yards passing. That included just 36 yards on 14 carries for Upper Arlington’s Carson Gresock, who entered with 2,330 yards.
While St. Edward seeks its fifth state championship since 2010, coach Tom Lombardo could win his third since taking over for Rick Finotti in 2015. Lombaro became the program’s all-time winningest coach after the win against Medina (passing father-in-law John Gibbons) and currently holds a 75-14 record at the school. His career record is 164-52, which includes stops at Lake Catholic and Medina Highland. He led Lake Catholic to a state title in 2001.
By David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News
This is Springfield's first appearance in the state championship game. It lost to Cincinnati Elder in the state semifinals in 2019 and to Cincinnati St. Xavier in the same round in 2020.
Springfield seeks to become the first Clark County team to win a state championship in the playoff era. Two other teams in Clark County history have advanced to the state championship game: Catholic Central in 1991; and Shawnee in 2011.
The new Springfield High School opened in 2008 when North and South high schools combined. The new school reached the playoffs for the first time in 2009. This is its seventh playoff appearance.
This is coach Maurice Douglass' eighth season at Springfield. He won a state championship at Trotwood-Madison in 2011 and led that program to the postseason eight times in 14 seasons.
The Wildcats have won six games in a row since their only loss, 22-21 to Miamisburg on Oct. 15. Miamisburg scored in the final minute and then added a two-point conversion to take the lead.
Springfield did not give up a point in three straight playoff victories against Dublin Jerome, Findlay and Marysville and has seven shutouts this season. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 426-97.
Senior quarterback Te'Sean Smoot, a three-year starter, leads the offense. He has rushed for 22 scores and thrown 20 touchdown passes. Smoot's top receiving targets are Anthony Brown (six touchdowns) and Shawn Thigpen and Daylen Bradley (five touchdowns each).
Springfield's defensive stars are linemen Tywan January and Jokell Brown, who have combined for 152 tackles; linebacker Javian Norman, who has 10 sacks; and safety Delian Bradley, who had five interceptions.
Akron Archbishop Hoban
By Michael Beaven, Akron Beacon Journal
Akron Archbishop Hoban is trying to win its sixth state championship in seven 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.
Tim Tyrrell is in his ninth season as Hoban’s coach and has an 102-17 record. The Knights enter Thursday with a 91-8 record during the past seven seasons.
This is Hoban’s 11th season with 10 or more wins: 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2005 under former head coach Ralph Orsini; 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 under Tyrrell. Hoban also went 9-3 in 1999, 2000 and 2004 under Orsini, who is in his second season as a Knights assistant coach.
Hoban’s offense features junior running back Lamar Sperling and junior quarterback Jayvian Crable. Sperling has 2,822 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns on 361 carries in 15 games this season. He also has one receiving TD and one passing TD.
Sperling has over 1,000 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in five playoff wins over Eastlake North, Austintown Fitch, Nordonia, Walsh Jesuit and Avon. Sperling ran for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries in a 31-24 state semifinal win over Avon; and a career-high 357 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries in a 49-30 regional final victory over Walsh Jesuit.
Hoban’s offensive line includes four players with multiple years of starting experience in seniors Keshawn Haynes, Colton Burkhart and Michael Noe and junior Drew Holt, and one first-year starter in sophomore Will Satterwhite.
Hoban senior kicker-punter Charlie Durkin is enjoying a standout season. Through 15 games, Durkin has made 61-of-61 extra point kicks and 11-of-13 field goals with a long of 49-yards against Cleveland St. Ignatius. He is also averaging around 46 yards per punt and around 90 percent of his kickoffs result in a touchback.
Hoban junior Jason Martin III and sophomore Jordan Pritchard-Sewell each have over 20 tackles for loss and over 10 sacks as defensive linemen. Senior linebackers Caleb Kepler and De'Vonta Baskerville have over 100 tackles apiece this season, and sophomore defensive back Tysen Campbell has five interceptions. Kepler also has three interceptions (two returned for a touchdown), and Baskerville has scored touchdowns as a defender, rusher, receiver and kicker returner.
Baskerville, Durkin and Haynes are senior captains along with wide receiver-defensive backs Shawn Parnell and Tyson Grimm, defensive lineman Bryce Sisak and running back-defensive back Markim McKinnie.
Cincinnati Winton Woods
By Mike Dyer, Cincinnati WCPO-TV
Winton Woods is making its third state final appearance and the first since it was a state runner-up in 2017. Winton Woods won the 2009 Division II state title.
Winton Woods started the season with a 1-2 record but avenged both of those losses in the playoffs with victories over La Salle and Kings.
Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long Jr. (2015 Winton Woods graduate) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards (2014 Winton Woods graduate) are former Winton Woods football standouts. Edwards helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV in February 2021.
Chad Murphy was named the Winton Woods head coach in March 2021. Murphy, who was the Winton Woods quarterbacks coach in 2020, succeeded former head coach Andre Parker who accepted the Princeton High School coaching position this past winter. Murphy was the Hamilton head coach from 2013 to 2018 and the Moeller associate head coach in 2019 before arriving at Winton Woods. Prior to Hamilton, Murphy was the Northwest head coach from 2010 to 2013. He was named the Ohio Division II state coach of the year in 2012 as he led the Knights to their first playoff appearance in 22 years.
Defensive coordinator Carlton Gray is a former NFL player and was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. Gray was named the Winton Woods High School head girls basketball coach and the defensive coordinator for the varsity football team this past spring. Gray had been the Lakota West High School defensive coordinator prior to Winton Woods. Winton Woods girls basketball player Chance Gray, Gray's daughter, is one of the nation's top players in the 2022 class. Chance Gray is signed with the University of Oregon.
Senior running back Ty'Rek Spikes is listed at 5 feet 7 and 165 pounds on the Winton Woods roster. In reality, he is 5-4 and 150 pounds as he admitted in a recent WCPO interview. Spikes said it's not uncommon to watch opposing defenders ridicule his 5-foot-4 height on the field. "All the time," Spikes said. "I don't respond back. I'm just like, 'All right, let's play. Let's see who gets the best of whoever.'" https://www.wcpo.com/sports/high-school-sports/winton-woods-senior-running-back-tyrek-spikes-is-carrying-the-football-with-a-mission
In the playoffs, Ty’Rek Spikes has amassed 123 carries for 1,020 yards (8.3 yards per carry), 10 touchdowns and a 75-yard kickoff return for a score.
Senior offensive lineman Will Edwards has played this football season with his late father's legacy always near him. Monti Edwards, Will's father, died on May 8 more than a year after he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Edwards, a three-year starter for Winton Woods who plays on the offensive and defensive lines, is inspired by his late father's courage. https://www.wcpo.com/sports/high-school-sports/winton-woods-football-player-will-edwards-is-inspired-by-the-legacy-of-his-late-father
Forest Park and Greenhills high schools merged in the early 1990s to form Winton Woods.
Charlie Fredrick Stadium, the home of the Winton Woods football team, is named after the late former high school teacher, athletic director and coach who died in March 2019. Fredrick, a former Notre Dame football player, is in the Ohio Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and the first inductee into the Winton Woods Hall of Fame.
Winton Woods senior outside linebacker Seven Blue is often asked about how he received his first name. Here is what he said in a recent WCPO interview: "Seven means perfection and completion and God finished the world on the seventh day so my dad named me Seven. It means a lot because it's a unique name."
By John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald
Head coach Mitch Hewitt is a 1998 graduate of Chardon and was runner-up for Oho's Mr. Football in 1997 with 1,944 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns, as well as more than 100 tackles on defense.
Hewitt and the Hilltoppers lost the 1998 state championship game to Lebanon on a hook-and-ladder play to Kelton Lindsey with less than a minute left to play.
Hewitt played at Bowling Green under Coach Urban Meyer. He and the Meyer family remain close to this day.
TE-DE Alex McDonald and WR-S Nathanael Sulka have committed to Youngstown State for football. LB Christian Hall has committed to Alcorn State for baseball
Chardon assistant coach Frank Hall is the teacher who chased shooter T.J. Lane out of the school in the tragic shooting in 2012 that killed three students. He is considered a local hero. Christian Hall is his son.
This is the 41st anniversary of Chardon coach Bob Doyle bringing the Wing T offense to Chardon. It's the same basic offense today, though it's been modified over the years.
Chardon is the defending state champion, but has nearly an entire new lineup this year. Only two starters returned on offense and three on defense. The entire offensive line is new. Line coach Bill Overton has been with the program since the early 1980s.
Chardon does not have open enrollment, something the coaching staff and community takes pride in as all their players have grown up in the Chardon school district.
Chardon began the season with its field under construction, so their first two "home" games this season were played at West Geauga and Riverside high schools.
Sean Carr last week became the program's all-time leader in postseason scoring with 104 points in his career. The former leader was last year's tailback James Pettyjohn. Second on the list is current Chardon kicker Nathan Tager, who also surpassed Pettyjohn last week.
By Rick Cassano, Southwest Ohio Sports Daily
This is Badin’s fourth trip to the state finals, all against Northeast Ohio opponents. The Rams lost to Brookfield 28-0 in Class AA in 1978 and Cleveland Benedictine 9-3 in Division III in 1980, beating Richfield Revere 16-6 in Division III in 1990.
Nick Yordy is in his fifth season as Badin’s head coach and has a 43-14 record. His winning percentage of .754 ranks third in Hamilton Catholic/Badin history (all-boys Hamilton Catholic merged with all-girls Notre Dame High School to become Badin in the fall of 1966). Yordy’s winning percentage is just above Terry Malone (.751), who spent 46 years at the Hamilton Catholic/Badin helm and was Ohio’s winningest coach (360-117-8) when he retired after the 2003 season.
Not only did Nick Yordy play for Terry Malone, the 1997 Badin graduate is still in the program’s record book. Yordy, a running back, scored five touchdowns against Cincinnati McNicholas in 1996 and shares the single-game TD record with five other players, including current senior Jack Walsh.
Senior running back Jack Walsh has already shattered Badin’s single-season rushing record with 1,803 yards this year. He’s carried the ball 272 times and scored 18 touchdowns.
Badin’s defense has pitched six shutouts this year, three in the postseason. The Rams have been especially strong against the run, holding nine opponents under 100 yards on the ground. Senior defensive end Logan Neu has registered a school-record 30.5 tackles for loss this year, notching at least one TFL in every game but one.
Senior place-kicker Jackson Niesen pulled double duty this fall, also earning a first-team selection in Greater Catholic League Coed Division boys soccer. He has a school-record 74 kicking points this season with 53 extra points and seven field goals.
Senior wide receiver Cooper Fiehrer has only caught 18 passes this season for Badin, but six of those receptions have been for touchdowns. He’s gained 393 yards through the air. Junior Braedyn Moore is the Rams’ leading receiver with 58 catches for 636 yards and four TDs.
Senior Landyn Vidourek was poised to become the first quarterback in Badin history to throw and rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season, but suffered a season-ending broken hand in Week 14 against Bellbrook. Vidourek, who will play baseball at the University of Cincinnati, completed 108-of-168 passes for 1,279 yards and 13 touchdowns while running 116 times for 904 yards and 15 TDs.
Badin is 31-24 in 26 playoff appearances. This is the Rams’ ninth trip to the Final Four, but first since 1998.
By Mark Huber, Wilmington News-Journal
In the first 22 seasons of Clinton-Massie football, the Falcons had 62 wins in 219 games. Then came Dan McSurley. Massie went 30-31 in his first six seasons but has been 219-32 since.
Dan McSurley has been head football coach at Clinton-Massie for 26 seasons. He has a 249-63 record with 21 league championships and 22 playoff appearances.
Clinton-Massie won state championships in 2012 (46-36 win over St. Clairsville) and 2013 (27-21 win over Youngstown Cardinal Mooney) and were runnerup in 2017 (50-36 loss to Steubenville).
In Clinton-Massie’s win over St. Clairsville in 2012, running back Bayle Wolf, who went on to play football at Army West Point, put together one of the best individual performances in state finals history. He accounted for 256 yards and 5 touchdowns on offense, led the team with 6 solos tackles and came up with an interception to seal the win.
Clinton-Massie is on a 13-game winning streak. The Falcons lost to Div. II Cincinnati Anderson in the season opener 29-22.
In a day and age when passing is the name of the game, Clinton-Massie is still old school on offense. The Falcons passed the ball 46 times this season while running it 616 times, a better than 13:1 ratio. The most passes attempted by starting quarterback Kody Zantene in a game this season is 8 in the playoff opener against Northridge.
Carson Vanhoose leads the Massie ground attack with 1,843 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. But Colton Trampler has 1,085 yards and 13 TDs, Carter Frank has 965 yards and 16 TDs and Zantene has 547 yards and 11 TDs.
In addition to his offensive prowess, Trampler was the Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference defensive player of the year.
Clinton-Massie had four turnovers in last week’s state semifinal win over Carroll Bloom-Carroll. It was the first time a Falcons football team had more than two turnovers in a game since Nov. 9, 2019 against Valley View.
By Ron Firth, Lisbon Morning Journal
Ursuline got off to a 4-3 start — including a 36-27 loss at Division III state finalist Chardon in the third week. The Irish have won seven straight games, averaging 47.6 points a game during their winning streak.
Ursuline senior running back Demarcus McElroy has nine touchdown runs over the last seven quarters — four against West Branch in the regional final and five against Port Clinton in the state semifinal — giving him a school-record 41 on the season. He has 2,194 yards on 315 carries (7.0) this season.
Ursuline senior quarterback Brady Shannon has accepted a baseball scholarship from the University of Central Florida. He has thrown for 2,639 yards and 27 touchdowns this season and is the second-leading rusher. Shannon broke the school's career passing record set by Darryl Clark, who went on to be the starting quarterback at Penn State.
Ursuline is 8-3 against teams with winning records this season.
Ursuline is in the state title game for the sixth time — winning in 2000, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and finishing as state runner-up in 2007.
MIDWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
For Versailles, Coldwater and Marion Local
By Gary Rasberry, Celina Daily Standard
It’s no secret that the Midwest Athletic Conference has been the best small-school conference — if not THE best conference — in Ohio since 1973, and the 2021 season has not done anything to diminish that fact. Since 1989, when Minster won the conference’s first-ever state football title, the MAC has brought home 37 state football titles and a slew of runner-up trophies.
For the fourth time since 2014, the MAC has three teams playing for state titles, a reminder of the line uttered by the late Coldwater coach John Reed that it’s easier to win a state title than a MAC title.
If Versailles (Division V), Coldwater (Division VI) and Marion Local (Division VII) all win on Saturday, it will be the second time the MAC has brought home three state titles (2014: Coldwater, Minster, Marion Local) and if Versailles (which among its seven state football titles only one has come as a member of the MAC) wins, it will make the seventh different MAC team to win a state title in the past seven seasons (Minster, New Bremen, Anna, Coldwater, Marion Local, Fort Recovery). Of the current 10 football-playing MAC teams (New Knoxville does not have football), nine have won a state title (Parkway the only one without a state title).
And it’s just not football. The MAC has already won state titles this school year in volleyball (New Knoxville in Division IV, defeating fellow MAC member St. Henry in the final) and cross country (Minster girls in Division III).
By Scott Langston, Versailles Policy
Tigerball is back! Versailles returns to the state final for the first time since 2004. Coach Ryan Jones, in his third year at Versailles, has brought back a brand of football that dubbed the Tigers the “Team of the 90's.” Under legendary coach Al Hetrick the Tigers appeared in nine state champions games from 1988 to 2004, winning six state titles.
From 1993 to 1996, Versailles won three straight state titles and had a then state record 54-game winning streak. The winning streak ended in the 1996 state final. That record was later broken by Delphos St. Johns who won 57 straight games. The Tigers will face a Kirtland team that has won 56 straight games, one game short of Versailles’ MAC rival’s record.
The Tigers use a power running game and a stingy defense that is reminiscent of those Hetrick-led teams. Versailles comes into the game with a 14-1 record. After opening the season with dominating non-conference wins over Celina and Ft. Loramie, the Tigers dropped their MAC opener to Marion Local in a hard-fought 19-17 game. Versailles finished the rest of their tough MAC schedule undefeated to end the regular season at 9-1.
In their first four playoff games, the Tiger first team defense gave up just one touchdown, against Summit Country Day, with the backups giving up late touchdowns against Summit Country Day and Carlisle. The Tigers followed with shutout victories over Taft (14-0) and Preble Shawnee (28-0) to win the regional title. They then held off a late comeback attempt by Harvest Prep to win the state semifinal game 28-22
The Tigers are led by 18 seniors. Senior quarterback Carson Bey is a dual-threat player who can hurt teams with both is arm and his legs. Senior running backs Jack Osborne, Landon Henry and Gabe Thompson bring speed and power to the Tigers’ running game. They run behind a senior-dominated offensive line that includes seniors: Caleb Rush, Brayden Keihl, Taran Tyo, Carter Luthman, Jacob Treon and Ryan Knapke, along with senior tight ends Caleb Kaiser and Trey Mills. Senior receivers Noah McEldowney, Eli McEldowney and Jacob Carman provide Bey with athletic targets that can make plays down the field. Senior Chase McEldowney has been almost automatic in the kicking game, making 55 of 59 PAT’s. Those same seniors are the heart of the Tiger defense, as well.
The Tigers average 34.6 points per game, while giving up just 9.1.
By John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald
Kirtland Coach Tiger LaVerde is now 198-17 (.921) at Kirtland. Combined with his 20-10 record he had in Pennsylvania, he is now 218-27 (.890( in his career. He was working as an actuary in Pennsylvania before deciding to return to school and get his degree in education to get into teaching and coaching.
Kirtland moved from the small-school Valley Division of the Chagrin Valley Conference to the larger school Chagrin Division this year. In doing so, they Hornets played 10 straight games against schools larger than them. They did not play a Division VI team until the playoffs.
Kirtland does not have open enrollment, a fact LaVerde, the school and the community takes pride in since all their players are from their own district. The OHSAA male enrollment is 166, with a Competitive Balance number of 0.
RB Mason Rus last week set a new program record for rushing yards in the season with 1,959 yards this season eclipsing the former record of 1,937 yards set in 2015 by Joey Bates. Rus was recently named the winner of The News-Herald's Tony Fisher Award, which goes to the area's player of the year.
Kirtland is in its 10th state championship game. They are 6-3 in title games with championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2019, They were state runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2017. Along those same lines, the Hornets have never lost a state semifinal game. They are 10-0 in semifinals after last week's win over Ottawa-Glandorf.
The Hornets come into the game with a nation's best 55-game winning streak. They have not lost since falling to Marion Local, 34-11, in the 2017 Division VI state championship game. Additionally, the Hornets have trailed in a game since the third quarter of a first-round playoff game in 2019 against Sandy Valley. The current streak is ,1,408-minutes and 1-second without trailing in a game.
WR Gage Sulivan is the younger brother of three-time, first-team All-Ohioan Mason Sullivan, who graduated last year and now plays at John Carroll. Their father, Ray Sullivan, is the strength and conditioning coach at Kirtland.
The Hornets came into the season with pretty much an entire new lineup from last year. Only three starters return on offense and three on defense.
By Gary Rasberry, Celina Daily Standard
The Cavaliers are in familiar territory. Since 2010, Coldwater has missed the state final four only three times (2017, 2018 and 2019) and has reached the state title game eight times in that time span. Coldwater has made 25 straight postseasons (the current state record) and are 84-19 lifetime in the postseason. Coldwater athletic director Eric Goodwin noted that out of 328 possible weeks of football since 2000, Coldwater has played in 308 of those weeks. Coldwater coach Chip Otten is 144-25 in his 12 seasons as head coach of his alma mater.
Coldwater senior quarterback Reece Dellinger has passed for 2,938 yards this season, needing just 62 yards to become just the fifth Cavalier QB to reach 3,000 yards in a season and needs just one touchdown pass to become the seventh to throw 30 in a season. Despite the numbers, Dellinger did not even earn first or second team All-Midwest Athletic Conference honors.
The depth of the Cavaliers is a key to the success. Four receivers have at least 450 yards this season and four running backs have at least 320 yards this season. Five players have at least 10 touchdowns scored this season led by senior running back Issac Fullenkamp, who has 19 total scores).
Also see earlier Midwest Athletic Conference note.
By Lonnie McMillan, Upper Sandusky Daily Chief Union
Carey has given up just 34 points in its five playoff games and has allowed only 48 points (with six shutouts) in its last 10 games.
Senior cornerback Bryce Conti intercepted his eighth pass of the season last Saturday, pushing his school-record career total to 20 interceptions.
Junior linebacker Landen Kemerley leads the team with 153 tackles, including 36 for loss.
Carey's 6-foot-1, 265-pound senior running back Jordan Vallejo scored three touchdowns against Springfield to bring his school-record season total up to 34. He never had a carry before this season and now has 1,544 yards on the season.
Senior quarterback Derek Lonsway is the first player in school history to rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. He has 1,278 rushing and 1,158 passing.
Senior Anthony Bell has over 1,000 all-purpose yards (304 rushing, 158 receiving, 558 returning) and has made 62 of 67 extra points this year. He has five career field goals with a long of 45 yards.
By Dave Hanneman, Findlay Courier
Carey will be going for its second state championship when the Blue Devils face Coldwater in the Division VI final. Carey won the Class A title in 1975, beating Burton Berkshire 26-24 in the semifinals and Newark Catholic 14-7 in overtime in the championship game.
In its season opener, Carey got thumped 30-15 by Hopewell-Loudon, a state semifinalist in Division VII. That might have been a wake up call for the Blue Devils, who have rattled off a school record 14 straight wins since that loss. Carey went 7-0 in winning the Northern 10 Conference.
A potent team offensively, Carey has scored 592 points in 15 games. A big reason for their success, though, is an outstanding defense that has posted six shutouts (two in the playoffs) and given up 136 total points (9.1 ppg).
After 11 seasons as an assistant at Carey, Jonathon Mershman was named head coach in 2017. He’s taken the Blue Devils to the playoffs five straight years while posting records of 8-4, 7-4, 7-6 (regional finals), 8-2 and now 14-1 this season. He is Division V co-Coach of the Year.
Traditionally, Carey has fielded big, physical teams that prefer the run over rthe pass and this year’s squad epitomizes that concept. Carey’s offensive line is huge by high school standards. Easton Korody, second-team all-Ohio in 2020 and co-Division V Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Northwest District in 2021, is 6-5, 275 and is receiving some D-I interest. Also up front are Trennen Stoll (6-2, 260), Collin Ferguson (6-2, 260) and Drew Steen (6-4, 300). Then you have Jordan Vallejo at running back. He goes 6-1, 265. Heading into the state semifinal against Springfield, Vallejo had rushed for 1,388 yards and 31 touchdowns. Isaac Carman (5-8, 245, sr.) sees time at fullback.
Conti was all-Ohio as a defensive back in 2020. He had 55 tackles and 7 interceptions this season, and set the school record for career interceptions (20, I think). He’s also Carey’s top receiver (24 recps., 568 yards, 4 TDs) and return man.
Kemerly has been Carey’s top tackler as a sophomore and junior. This season he had 144 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. As for linemen, Korody plays mostly offense, but Stoll (79 tackles, 30 tfl) was first-team all-district, 6-0, 200-pound senior Ashton Clauss was second-team, and Steen (40 tackles) and 6-3, 190-pound sophomore Nathan Brodman (64 tackles, 19.5 tfl) are big parts of the defensive front as well. Carey’s linebacking corps includes 6-0, 170-pound junior Gage Summitt (94 tackles, 14 tlf) and 5-9, 160 senior Cooper Brodman (31 tackles), with 5-11, 180-pound senior Lance Woods (85 tackles, 19 tfl) like a rover.
Bell does a lot of everything: he converted 60 of 65 PAT kicks, booted a field goal, returned kicks, rushed for 290 yards and 6 TDs, had 151 receiving yards, and had 41 tackles and 5 interceptions.
Maria Stein Marion Local
By Gary Rasberry, Celina Daily Standard
Flyers coach Tim Goodwin has said that every one of his teams since he came to Maria Stein in 1999 has been different from year to year. But one thing has been identical. They all win. A win Saturday would give the Flyers their 12th state championship — all since the year 2000 — to break the current tie with Cleveland St. Ignatius for most in the history of the state football championships. The Flyers are 89-12 in the postseason.
Goodwin has had the Flyers in the playoffs every year except one (2004) since he took over the program in 1999.
The Marion defense has been potent all season, only allowing 21 or more points twice — coming against New Bremen and Coldwater, but in the postseason — thanks to several players coming back from injury, the Flyers have been nearly perfect, allowing just 21 points in five playoff games with two shutouts.
Defensive end Robby Buschur, who missed six games with injury, had three sacks in the Flyers’ state semifinal win over Hopewell-Loudon, a team that had only scored fewer than 30 points three times during the season before having to score a touchdown with under a minute to play to avoid being shut out by the Flyers. Darren Meier, the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Northwest District co-Defensive Player of the Year, has been key to the team’s success on defense.
Offensively, quarterback Peyton Otte was simply described as “special” by his head coach. An All-Ohio receiver last season, Otte was moved to the quarterback spot to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. Much like Coldwater’s Reece Dellinger, Otte was not the first or second team quarterback on the All-MAC list (he was a first team safety), but has put up amazing numbers. Otte has rushed for 1,380 yards and 20 touchdowns after putting up 161 yards and four touchdowns in the state semifinal against Hopewell-Loudon while passing for 1,247 yards and nine touchdowns.
Also see earlier Midwest Athletic Conference note.
By Kurt Snyder, Newark Advocate
It is not easy to break into the record books with Newark Catholic’s storied history, but nobody has been better than senior quarterback Cole Canter at getting the Green Wave into the end zone. Canter’s touchdown passes to Mason Hackett and Brandon Buchanan during a 14-7 victory against Warren JFK in the Division VII state semifinals gave him 31 for the season. Canter broke NC’s single-season record for TD passes of 24, which had stood since 1968, earlier in the postseason, and he has kept right on going, including a four-score performance against Shadyside in the regional finals.
NC’s victory against Warren JFK gave the Green Wave revenge for the Eagles’ 20-13 triumph at the same point in 2020. It was not the first familiar foe NC has faced during the postseason as the Green Wave beat Danville and Shadyside in back-to-back runs to the regional championship.
The Green Wave now are in their first state final since 2012 and have more revenge on their minds. NC lost 28-21 to Marion Local in that Division VI final, and the Green Wave are 0-2 all-time against the Flyers.
Thanks to the expanded postseason, NC will attempt to become the first team in program history to win 15 games. The Green Wave’s 14th victory matched the 1985 and ‘87 teams, which each finished an unbeaten 14-0.