MASSILLON – Coldwater (Ohio)
senior Caleb Siefring
described the Cavaliers state championship game defeats the last three years with bluntness.
"Each loss was like a dagger," Siefring said.
Saturday, Coldwater found its own weapon — defense.
Playing in its 60th game in four years, Coldwater erased the bad taste of three straight state finals losses by capturing the third state title in school history and its first since 2007 with a 10-9 win over defending state champion Kirtland in the Division V state final at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The rematch was the first in an OHSAA state championship game since 2001 and featured two unbeatens ranked in the MaxPreps Small School National Rankings
(Coldwater at No. 4 and Kirtland at No. 14).
"Almost everyone loses their last high school game," Coldwater head coach Chip Otten said. "These guys have felt the pain."
It was Kirtland that felt the pain Saturday.
Held to single digits for just the second time in their last 78 games (dating back to the start of the 2007 season), the Hornets high-powered run offense was held in check. Kirtland managed 199 yards, with 174 coming on the ground, but senior RB Damon Washington, who entered the game with 32 rushing TDs, was limited to 39 yards on 11 carries. The Hornets lone offensive score, set up by a botched Coldwater punt, came on a 4-yard pass. Kirtland added a safety.
"Their defense is very good and we knew that," Kirtland head coach Tiger LaVerde said. "We had no consistency. We like to gain four yards, four yards, four yards and then hit the big play. We never made a big play."
Said Washington: "Besides (Youngstown Ursuline)…No (we haven't faced a defense that good). They flew to the ball. It's hard to swallow."
Coldwater has been engulfing opposing offenses all year.
The Cavs end the season having allowed 91 total points, including just 35 in the first half. Coldwater surrendered two rushing TDs in 15 games.
"We're so stout and athletic," Otten said. "Man-to-man these guys are right there with our 2005 unit (which was led by future Ohio State LB Ross Homan)."
Offensively, Coldwater made just enough plays.
Senior QB Austin Bruns
completed 20-of-28 passes for 233 yards and a TD. He also ran for 97 yards on 23 carries. Sophomore Brody Hoying, who Otten described as "sick," had a huge game. He threw a pass, ran three times, caught three passes and turned in the decisive defensive play with an interception on Kirtland's last possession.
The state championship marks the fourth time since 2005 that the Midwest Athletic Conference — of which Coldwater is a member — has won two state football titles in the same year. Marion Local (Maria Stein) won the D-VI title on Friday.
"To be involved in 60 high school games in four years is incredible," Otten said. "To win the last one is just as remarkable. These guys will have this (memory) forever."
And it's finally a happy one.DIVISION I
Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
celebrated "50 Years of Moeller Football" this season and capped it with the program's eighth state title. The Crusaders beat Whitmer (Toledo), ranked No. 6 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25
, in the D-I final 20-12 at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.
The state championship is Moeller's first since 1985. Only St. Ignatius (Cleveland) owns more state titles than Moeller, which is now in a three-way tie for second in Ohio with Cardinal Mooney (Youngstown) and Newark Catholic.
Senior QB Spencer Iacovone
completed 15-of-19 passes for 161 yards and a TD and ran for 63 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Northwestern-bound RB Keith Watkins
added 68 yards rushing and 76 yards receiving. Icavone's 7-yard second quarter TD pass to Watkins gave the Crusaders the lead for good.
Whitmer was led by senior QB Nick Holley
who completed 12-of-20 passes for 196 yards and two TDs and ran for 92 yards on 23 carries. Nate Holley
, Nick's brother, caught eight passes for 135 yards and a TD and had eight tackles.DIVISION IIISt. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron)
improved to 5-1 in state championship games and claimed its first title since 1988 with a 42-21 win over Bellevue in the D-III final at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.
Paris Campbell Jr.
tied a D-III finals record with three rushing TDs (and 165 yards on 14 carries) to lead an Irish attack that churned out 281 yards on the ground. Junior RB Newman Williams
, who had three TDs coming into the game, scored two, including one on a fake punt.
Akron SVSM had 435 total yards, while Bellevue had 247.
Williams, who entered the game with a team-high 111 tackles, had 5.5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Standout junior LB Dante Booker Jr.
led SVSM with nine tackles.
Bellevue was led by senior QB Jalen Santoro
, who tied a D-III finals record with three TD passes. Santoro finished with 184 yards passing and 53 yards rushing.