SW OHIO: A DECADE OF TITLE GAMES 2013-2014

We continue our look at teams that made state championship game appearances as we get closer to the end of the decade.

We next look at 2013 and 2014 and teams filled with talent looking to secure a place in history with a state championship.

2013 SEASON

DIVISION ONE

CINCINNATI MOELLER (14-1)

MENTOR (13-2)

DATE: DEC 7, 2013
STADIUM: FAWCETT STADIUM – CANTON, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 7,126

John Rodenberg brought back some very talented players in 2013 and it showed as the Crusaders won their first eight games of the season before falling to Lakewood St. Edward, 45-42 in Week Nine in a game many felt was the two best teams in Division One and a early look at the state finals.  

In the playoffs Moeller was strong until they faced Hilliard Davidson but had a special weapon in sophomore kicker Matthew Coghlin who would prove to be the difference with a second quarter 23-yard field goal and a third quarter 27-yard field goal that gave the Crusaders a 13-11 win.

However, the finals found a high-powered offensive attack from Mentor and in a game that saw 1,145 yards of total offense and 107 points, Moeller found new stars with quarterback Gus Ragland and wide receiver Isaiah Gentry both having career changing games.

Ragland was not being recruited by Division I college programs until Miami RedHawks head coach Chuck Martin took over the program and saw what Ragland had done as a senior. His state championship performance was magical as Ragland went 12-13-0 for 273-yards and three touchdowns along with 189 yards rushing and five scores and Gentry pulling down seven balls for 182-yards and two scores opened doors for both. Like in a heavyweight title fight, both teams put points on the board in each quarter with Moller prevailing 55-52 for their second consecutive state championship.

DIVISION TWO

LOVELAND (15-0)

CLEVELAND GLENNVILLE (13-2)

DATE: DEC 6, 2013
STADIUM: FAWCETT STADIUM – CANTON, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 5,434

No one outside of Loveland gave the Tigers a chance to win a state title in 2013 against a talented Glennville team with several high-level recruits led by head coach Ten Ginn. Tigers new head coach Fred Cranford used a high-powered rushing attack early in the season with junior Nate Slagel but when he went down after a mid-October win over Walnut Hills, Cranford looked to freshman Luke Waddell and he responded in a big way.

The playoffs were no cake walk as the Tigers survived a close game against Mount Healthy. Then to advance to the final they held off Zanesville 38-35 in double overtime on an Evan Burig 29-yard field goal to advance and face Glenville.

Instead of thinking too much about press clippings, Cranford got his team ready to play hard and mother nature added the element of snow during the game that seemed to cause more issues for Glenville than Loveland.

Waddell would score the first points of the game on a 66-yard run and the Tigers were off and running as they continued to find the end zone taking a 34-0 lead at the half.

Glenville would turn the ball over several times and Gunner Gambill (108 yards, 2 TDs) joined Waddell who would rush for a game high 183 yards.

Glenville would find some life in the third quarter with two scores but in-between the Tigers added as well. In the end the Tigers shocked everyone covering the game with their seven turnovers and 41-23 championship win.

**Luke Waddell post game interview in video below.**

DIVISION THREE

TROTWOOD-MADISON (11-3)

AKRON ST. VINCENT-ST. MARY (15-0)

DATE: DEC 5, 2013
STADIUM: PAUL BROWN TIGER STADIUM – MASSILLON, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 4,940

Four straight trips to the state finals makes Trotwood-Madison one of the top programs no matter the division in Ohio. In 2013 the Rams knocked off Clyde 54-7 to reach the finals only to find a very talented Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary squad with future Ohio State Buckeyes Parris Campbell and Dante Booker along with future Akron Zip, Newman Williams playing great football.

In a game many felt could be a high scoring contest, cold and rain slowed the Rams offensive attack as they lost two fumbles and threw three interceptions.  

Late in the first quarter the Fighting Irish got a 36-yard field goal to go up 3-0 and would slowly chip away each quarter as Williams would score in the second and third quarters to go up 17-0.

Campbell led the Fighting Irish with 58 yards rushing but the Rams offense struggled only gaining 12 yards on the night. With 9:21 left in the game the Fighting Irish put their final touchdown on the board with the Rams being unable to answer and falling 24-0 giving Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary their sixth overall title.

DIVISION FOUR

CLINTON-MASSIE (14-1)

CARDINAL MOONEY (10-5)

DATE: DEC 6, 2013
STADIUM: PAUL BROWN TIGER STADIUM – MASSILLON, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 5,289

Snowy weather conditions continued in this game with the Falcons looking for their second title against a Cardinal program looking for their ninth state tile.

There was no mistaking this game was going to be a hard-fought match-up dominated by the run and Mooney wasted little time in the first quarter getting on the board with a 25-yard score to go up 7-0. The Falcons didn’t flinch fighting back on a Bayle Wolf eight-yard score. Just as fast as the Falcons felt they were back in the game Mooney took their next offensive play 68-yards to go up 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Chayse Wolf was next for the Falcons with a 20-yard score to tie the game.

Falcons RB Bayle Wolf

Just before halftime, Mooney would get a six-play drive that ended on a 13-yard score with 58-seconds on the scoreboard and a 21-14 advantage.

Just like they had done throughout his career, Falcons head coach Dan McSurley looked to senior Bayle Wolf and the future Army Black Knights linebacker answered the call with touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter giving the Falcons a 27-21 advantage. Wolf would rush for 172-yards in the game to go with his three touchdowns. But Mooney still had time with just over five minutes left in the game and the ball on their 21-yard line. Five plays into the drive Mooney quarterback Jon Saadey looked to pass as the play started with just 39-seconds left in the game. Falcons linebacker Kelson Gauden intercepted the pass and the Falcons ran out the clock for their second straight title.

2014 SEASON

DIVISION ONE

HUBER HEIGHTS WAYNE (13-2)

LAKEWOOD ST. EDWARD (13-2)

DATE: DEC 6, 2014
STADIUM: OHIO STADIUM – COLUMBUS, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 10,917

**Ahmad Wagner (18) with 90-yd TD return**

Don’t let the final score of this game deceive you as this was one of the most exciting big school games in the decade with several future college players on both sides.

St. Edward would get on the board first as Andrew Dowell (Michigan State) finished off a 10-play drive with a one-yard score to go up 7-0. It took Wayne awhile to get started but the Warriors would have a six-play drive capped off with a 11-yard touchdown pass from D’Mitrik Trice (Wisconsin – basketball) to Ahmad Wagner (Iowa (basketball)/Kentucky (football) to tie the game. St. Edward running back Cole Gest (Indiana) responded on the next play with a 78-yard score and not to be outdone Wagner would return the kickoff 90-yards to tie the score at 14 each.

The second quarter was uneventful as only St. Edward put points on the board with a 27-yard field goal and halftime score of 17-14. The third quarter followed suite going scoreless but early in the fourth St. Edward capped off an 11-play drive scoring on a six-yard pass to make it 24-14. With its offense not putting points on the board, Wayne defensive lineman Robert Landers (Ohio State) would score on a 13-yard fumble recovery making the score 24-21 with 8:50 left in the game.

St. Edward responded with a nine-play 46-yard drive ending with a five-yard touchdown pass to go up 31-21 with 5:44 left in the game. The Warriors looked to respond but saw their final drive end when David Dowell (Michigan State) forced Greg Schroeder to fumble and the Eagles offense ran out the clock on eight plays to claim the title.

DIVISON TWO

CINCINNATI LA SALLE (14-1)

MACEDONIA NORDONIA (14-1)

DATE: DEC 5, 2014
STADIUM: OHIO STADIUM – COLUMBUS, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: 9,570

Looking back this is when La Salle football really changed in the decade. Coming off a 3-7 season the year before, head coach Nate Moore knew he had some special talent and made believers in Week One with a 40-21 win over Colerain.

In four previous playoff appearances the Lancers had not one a playoff game but your would never had know if you watched this team in action.

The Lancers dominated their way to the title game and didn’t let up when they reached Columbus showing this was not just a team built around one player. On offense Jeremy Larkin (Northwestern) would rush for over 100-yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Nick Watson rushed for 43-yards and a score while also going 4-of-5 for 72-yards and a score and sophomore Jarell White added a score on 66-yards rushing.

But this team also flexed their muscle on defense and special teams with Avery Larkin posting a 44-yard interception return and John Junker with a 15-yard blocked punt returned for a score.

The Lancers had a secure 34-13 lead at the half and ended up winning 55-20 setting a couple of records in the process with eight touchdowns and their 55 points scored.

DIVISION FOUR

KETTERING ALTER (14-1)

CLEVELAND BENEDICTINE (14-1)

DATE: DEC 5, 2014
STADIUM: OHIO STADIUM – COLUMBUS, OHIO
ATTENDANCE: UNKNOWN

Both teams took the field with talent as Benedictine had Jerome Baker (Ohio State/Miami Dolphins) and Justin Layne (Michigan State/Pittsburgh Steelers) while Alter countered with Nick Coleman (Notre Dame), Chris Finke (Notre Dame), Kraig Howe (Wisconsin), Dean Lemon (Miami Ohio) and Chris Beech (Ball State).

Baker got Benedictine on the board first with a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Layne showed his abilities with a 48-yard interception return early in the second quarter and the Bengals were up 14-0. Alter responded with a five play; 62-yard drive capped off on a two-yard run by Alex Pack to make the score 14-7. Both teams went back and forth in the third quarter with the Knights taking advantage of a poor Benedictine punt and on their second play of the drive saw Dusty Hayes go 28-yards for the score and a 14-14 tie after Alex Craft hit the extra point.

The Knights would hold Baker to only 83 rushing yards but in the fourth quarter the future Buckeye scored his second touchdown of the game on a 14-yard run putting the Bengals up for good 21-14. The Knights did have one final drive that ended on the Benedictine 36-yard line when Hays was stopped on a fourth down giving the Bengals the ball back with one second left in the game.

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