After falling to
Winton Woods (Cincinnati) 42-12 in the Division II state championship
game last season, Maple Heights
is back in the final.
take a 14-0 record into their matchup at 7 p.m. Friday in Massillon Paul
Brown Tiger Stadium against
Maple Heights beat Lake Catholic (Mentor) 27-17. With an offense led by
quarterback Shaquille Washington
(22 touchdown passes, 1,000 yards rushing)
and running back Devonte Ransom (1,929 yards, 23 touchdowns), the
Mustangs will face one of the state's more athletic teams for the title. The Rams are led by running back Antwan Gilbert (2,117 yards, 25 touchdowns).
very happy to be in this spot for the second straight year," Maple
Heights coach Todd Filtz said. "Hopefully the outcome this year will be a
little bit different than it was last year. Trotwood is a great
football team. Yes they have a lot of speed, and overall they're just
very similar to us."Click here to view MaxPreps' Ohio football playoff brackets.ST. EDWARD TO BATTLE WAYNE IN D-I FINAL
One of the more dramatic Ohio high school football turnarounds in recent memory is one step away from being complete.St. Edward (Lakewood)
, the No. 4 team in the Xcellent 25 Football Rankings presented by the Army National Guard, is 14-0 after beating Whitmer (Toledo) 23-13 in a Division I state semifinal last Saturday.
For the Eagles to complete an undefeated season after finishing just 4-6 a year ago, they'll have to beat one of the state's hottest teams — and quarterbacks — at 7 p.m. Saturday in Canton Fawcett Stadium.Wayne (Huber Heights)
features senior Ohio State recruit Braxton Miller
at quarterback and is coming off a 28-14 victory over 2009 state champion Hilliard Davidson last Saturday in Dayton Welcome Stadium. The Warriors are 11-3.
Miller has thrown for 1,972 yards and rushed for more than 600 yards. Senior fullback Anthone Taylor
has 1,529 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
"Braxton is a great leader," St. Edward (Lakewood) coach Rick Finotti said. "He's able to make something out of nothing at times. He's an effective passer, and with he and Taylor in the backfield, there's a definite concern there."
The Eagles have gotten strong quarterback play of late as well. Senior Kevin Burke ran for a touchdown and passed for another as St. Edward emerged from a 7-7 halftime tie last Saturday.
Seniors Terrell Bates and Ryan Giachetti also have been standouts in an offense which features a line that averages 284 pounds.
"To get out of Region 1, you have to have a sound running game," Finotti said. "We've been able to sustain drives, and that's one of the keys to the things we've been able to do. Last year we couldn't run the ball with these same (offensive linemen), but now they're leaner and stronger as a unit."
Neither St. Edward (Lakewood) nor Wayne (Huber Heights) have won a state title.WATTERSON, BUCHTEL TO FACE-OFF
The Bishop Watterson (Columbus)
football team will go for its first state title since 2002 when it faces Buchtel (Akron)
for the Division III championship at 3 p.m. Saturday in Massillon.
During a 20-7 victory last Saturday over McNicholas (Cincinnati), Watterson took the pressure off quarterback Patrick Rhomberg
by rushing for 273 yards and getting a special teams touchdown as it improved to 12-1. Rhomberg has been hobbled with a right foot injury.
Buchtel is 11-3 after dominating the state's No. 1-ranked team, Marlington (Alliance), 52-8 last Saturday.
"It's just been a trying season," said Griffins coach Ricky Powers, who played for Buchtel when it won its only state titles in 1987 and '88. "It's just an amazing story that our kids are resilient enough and have had to go through a lot of adversity to get here."DIVISION IV TO HAVE NEW CHAMP
After defeating two-time defending state-champion Archbishop Alter (Kettering) 29-28 last Friday, Bishop Hartley (Columbus)
will meet Chagrin Falls
at 11 a.m. Friday in Massillon.
The Tigers lost to Archbishop Alter (Kettering) 37-7 in the state final last year but are 13-1 after beating Orrville 21-3 in a state semifinal last Friday.
Chagrin Falls will face a Hawks offense which is led by Noah Key
, who has rushed for 2,755 yards and 39 touchdowns. The Tigers average 352.9 yards, with 186.8 coming on the ground and 166.1 through the air.URSULINE, COLDWATER SET FOR REMATCHUrsuline (Youngstown)
will go for its third consecutive Division V championship when it faces Coldwater
at 11 a.m. Saturday in Canton. The Fighting Irish beat the Cavaliers 55-25 to win the title last year.
The matchup will be a contrast in styles. Ursuline is 14-0 after rushing for 356 yards per game, led by Akise Teague (2,223 yards, 32 touchdowns).
Coldwater (11-3) features quarterback Austin Bruns
, who has thrown for 2,477 yards and 24 touchdowns.ST. JOHN'S BACK IN FINAL
After winning the 2008 Division VI state title and losing in last year's final, St. John's (Delphos)
will try to win its sixth championship at 3 p.m. Friday in Canton. The Blue Jays improved to 14-0 with a 49-7 win over Lehman Catholic (Sidney) last Friday and will face Shadyside
(12-1) for the title.
St. John's option quarterback Jordan Leininger has thrown for 1,261 yards with 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,135 yards and 10 scores. Running back Evan Burgei has 1,551 yards and 24 touchdowns rushing.
Shadyside, which is looking for its first title, is led by quarterback Ellis Brown (17 touchdown passes) and running back Brendan Sedinger (1,636 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns).
"(St. John's) can freeze you so much with their option," Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said. "They will throw passes off the option, and their quarterback likes to pitch it back. Their running game is a powerful game and somewhat deceptive because they like to freeze you with the option."TOP PERFORMERS
* Shaq Washington, Maple Heights football:
The senior quarterback finished with 151 yards and two touchdowns rushing and completed 15 of 25 passes for 154 yards and two scores during a 27-17 victory over Lake Catholic (Mentor) last Friday.* Mario Dean, Watterson football:
During the Eagles' 20-7 victory over McNicholas (Cincinnati) last Saturday, the junior running back scored on a 17-yard reception on a botched field-goal attempt. He also had a 65-yard run deep inside Rockets territory to set up another score.* Jessica Garcia, Lakewood girls basketball:
During a 58-44 victory over West Geauga last Saturday, the 5-foot-11 junior post player finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and six steals for Lakewood.RECRUITING NEWS
Buchtel (Akron) junior wide receiver Corey Smith, who had 170 yards in receptions last Saturday, is now on Ohio State's radar according to the Akron Beacon Journal. He already has offers from Michigan State and North Carolina. … Westerville Central
senior Anna Lind recently signed a letter of intent to compete in women's crew at Iowa. She joins Westerville rowing club teammate Ashley Bauer (Ohio State) as a recent Division I signee. … Pickerington North
senior tight end and defensive lineman Darien Bryant recently received offers from Michigan and Wake Forest according to ScoutingOhio.com. A 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, Bryant has 18 Division I offers.BRIEFLY
Nate Hillerich, who guided Hamilton Township (Columbus)
to an 8-2 record, was named Division II Co-Coach of the Year along with Andre Parker of Winton Woods (Cincinnati)
, Mike Franklin of Sandusky
and Doug Frye of Wapakoneta
. In Division I, St. Edward's Finotti was named Co-Coach of the Year along with Hamilton's Bob Jacoby. … Chase Hounshell
of Lake Catholic (Mentor) was one of three state Co-Defensive Players of the Year in Division II.Jarrod Ulrey covers Central and Northern Ohio for MaxPreps.com. He covers prep sports for ThisWeekSPORTS.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.