What a weekend of championship football. Columbus was host to 14 teams duking it out in the seven Ohio State Championship games. The weekend saw some of the most exciting games ever in championship history, including a last second game-winning field goal and a double-overtime thriller. It also saw a few rematches from last year’s championship games, giving the game an even bigger energy level.
In the end, we saw St. Xavier win the Division I state championship, Cincinnati La Salle win the Division II state championship, Archbishop Hoban win the Division III state championship, Columbus Bishop Hartley win the Division IV state championship, Canton Central Catholic win the Division V state championship, Marion Stein Marion Local win the Division VI state championship and Warren JFK win the Division VII state championship.
NEO HS Football Recap: Season Preview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Playoff Preview, Playoff Wk 1, Playoff Wk 2, Playoff Wk 3, Playoff Wk 4/Championship Preview, Championship Recap
State Championship Games Recaps
Division I: St. Xavier beats St. Ignatius, 27-20, in 2OT
This was the game of the weekend. The game began with a huge play by the St. Ignatius special teams, blocking the first St. Xavier punt of the game and recovering it in the endzone for the first touchdown of the game. Beyond that, the first half scoring was sparse with the Wildcats leading 10-0 at half.
The third quarter was all St. Xavier with the Bombers tying the game back up at 10. St. Xavier seemed to make the biggest play of the game late in the fourth quarter, forcing a Wildcat fumble that was run back for a go-ahead touchdown. St. Ignatius put together a clutch final drive of regulation, capping it off with a fourth-down touchdown pass with just over a minute to go to force overtime. Both teams traded field goals in the first overtime. The Bombers scored a touchdown in their possession of the second overtime. St. Ignatius was unable to get a touchdown after St. Xavier clamped down to clinch the state championship.
In the loss, the St. Ignatius defense recorded a state final record nine sacks. St. Xavier quarterback Sean Clifford withstood the punishment, playing an incredible tough game by throwing for 142 yards and two touchdowns to lead his team to the championship victory.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Colerain
My Game Pick: St. Ignatius
Division II: Cincinnati La Salle beats Massillon Perry, 14-7
This game was a defensive slugfest by Massillon Perry and Cincinnati La Salle. The first half was completely controlled by the Perry defense. They held the La Salle offense to no points. But even more impressive from the Perry defense, the unit was able to score the only points of the half when Perry’s Dominick Bowman intercepted La Salle quarterback Griffin Merritt and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.
Perry led 7-0 at the half. But in the second half, the La Salle offense awoke, while the La Salle continued to dominate the Perry defense. The Lancers were led in the second half by running back Tre’Sean Smith, who scored both of the team’s touchdowns in the second half. He finished the game with 127 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. On defense, the La Salle defense was just suffocating. In the game, they held Perry scoreless, allowing just 168 yards of total offense. La Salle cemented the game by forcing a Perry fumble late in the fourth, notching the Perry offense with its fourth turnover of the game. La Salle wins, 14-7.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Cincinnati La Salle
My Game Pick: Cincinnati La Salle
Division III: Archbishop Hoban shuts out Trotwood-Madison, 30-0
The Division III championship game was all Archbishop Hoban. The first quarter was a close fight between Hoban and Trotwood-Madison with Hoban scoring the just six points in the quarter. But, Hoban scored 20 points in the second quarter and 10 points in the third to increase their lead and put the game away. Hoban’s defense was impressive in the shutout, holding Trotwood-Madison to just 200 yards of total offense and just 69 yards passing.
On offense, Hoban was led by the backfield duo of quarterback Danny Clark and running back Todd Sibley. Clark completed 7 of 10 for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 19 yards and a touchdown. Sibley rushed 17 times for 151 yards and a touchdown. Hoban was able to complete the victory and earn their second straight state championship victory in Division III behind their two star players, Sibley and Clark.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Archbishop Hoban
My Game Pick: Archbishop Hoban
Division IV: Columbus Bishop Hartley beats Steubenville, 24-21
This was the second-best game of the weekend. The rematch between Columbus Bishop Hartley and Steubenville was close throughout the entire game.
Columbus Bishop Hartley took the initial lead in the first quarter, 7-0. Both Bishop Hartley and Steubenville notched 14 points in the second quarter, giving Bishop Hartley the 21-14 halftime lead. The third quarter was a scoreless fight, leaving a one score game going into the fourth quarter.
With just under six minutes to go in the fourth, Steubenville was able to tie the game up with a touchdown pass. Bishop Hartley punted on the following drive, giving Steubenville the ball with 3:48 left. The Big Red drove down to the 24-yard line and lined up for the go-ahead field goal with under two minutes to go in the game, but the field goal went short, allowing Bishop Hartley’s Cody Kirkbride to catch the kick and return the ball 59 yards. With the great field position, the Hawks drove to the 14-yard line and lined up for the game-winning field goal. Kicker Matteo Agriesti connected on the 31-yard field goal as time expired, giving Bishop Hartley the 24-21 championship victory. In the victory, Bishop Hartley was led by running back Marquette Dixon, who rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown. Though in the loss, running back Jalen McGhee led Steubenville with 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Clarksville Clinton-Massie
My Game Pick: Columbus Bishop Hartley
Division V: Canton Central Catholic beats Coldwater, 16-13
The final game of the weekend provided another classic championship game. The game between Canton Central Catholic and Coldwater was a rematch of the 2014 and 2015 Division V championship games, both won by Coldwater.
In the first half, the only points were a field goal by Central Catholic in the second quarter. In the third quarter, both teams traded touchdowns, though the Crusaders missed their extra point kick, making the score 9-7 in favor of Central Catholic going into the fourth. On the first possession of the fourth quarter, Coldwater took the lead, 13-9, after they drove 60 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. After both teams traded punts, the Crusaders started their drive at the eight-yard line with just 2 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock, looking for the go-ahead touchdown. The Crusaders put together a drive to remember, going 92 yards in one minute and 51 seconds, capped off by a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Murphy to receiver Tee Rupp. Central Catholic cemented the revenge victory, picking off the Coldwater Hail Mary pass in the endzone as time expired.
In the victory, the Crusaders were led by quarterback Jack Murphy, who threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense, which picked off three passes in the game. In the loss, quarterback Dylan Thobe threw for 157 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions, while also rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Wheelersburg
My Game Pick: Coldwater
Division VI: Maria Stein Marion Local outlasts Cuyahoga Heights, 21-17
Maria Stein Marion Local and Cuyahoga Heights played a game of two halves with one team controlling one half. In the first half, it was all Maria Stein Marion Local. After one quarter, Marion Local led, 7-3.
The Flyers extended the lead in the second quarter with two touchdowns, making their halftime lead, 21-3. But, Cuyahoga Heights was not done, continuing to whittle the deficit down in the second half. In the third quarter, the Redskins scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-10. Early on in the fourth quarter, Cuyahoga Heights cut their deficit to just 21-17, giving them almost a quarter to take the lead. The Redskins offense, however, was unable to capitalize on their defense’s shutout of Marion Local in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over by an interception and twice on downs in the their final three possessions of the game, giving Marion Local the 21-17 victory and the school’s ninth state championship, which is the second most in the Ohio history.
In the victory, running back Duane Leugers rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns. For Cuyahoga Heights, quarterback Brett Lowther threw for 186 yards and an interception, while also rushing for a touchdown.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Cuyahoga Heights
My Game Pick: Cuyahoga Heights
Division VII: Warren JFK takes down Minster, 24-6
The Warren JFK defense was once again the star of the show in their matchup versus Minster. The first score of the game actually came from Minster in the first quarter and Minster led after one 6-0. But after the first quarter, it was all Warren JFK. Warren JFK took the lead in the second quarter and led at halftime 10-6. The second half was more of the same from the second quarter. Warren JFK pitched a shutout in the second half, while also scoring a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarter. Warren JFK ended the game on a 24-0 run, giving them 24-6 championship victory over Minster.
The Eagles defense was able to hold Minster to just six points and just 159 yards of total offense. The defense also forced three turnovers from Minster. On offense for Warren JFK, the team relied on its rushing attack, totaling 219 yards on the ground in the game. Their leading rusher was running back Evan Boyd, who rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns. In the loss, Minster quarterback Jared Huelsman threw for 79 yards and an interception, while also adding 53 yards and a touchdown on the ground. This is Warren JFK’s first championship since 1991.
My Pre-Playoff Pick: Mogadore
My Game Pick: Warren JFK
Overall Playoff Game Picks Record: 19-8
Pre-Playoff Picks: 2 of 7 correct
All stats come from ohsaa.org and ohsaalivestats.com