The Plains Athens and Toledo Central Catholic traded scores for four quarters, with both teams combining for eight touchdowns. In a game that featured 1,217 total yards and 108 points between the two teams, the difference was a blocked PAT and three failed two-point conversions.
The first state title game held in Ohio Stadium since 1989, Toledo Central Catholic defeated Athens 56-52 to claim the OHSAA Division III football crown despite six touchdown passes from Ohio State commit Joe Burrow.
“It was like a great, old-fashioned heavyweight fight,” Athens head coach Ryan Adams said. “Both teams just kept throwing right hooks at each other offensively back and forth. Defensively, we were really struggling at times to contain the perimeter and they were having trouble containing our passing game. It was just a matter of who had the ball last with enough time on the clock.”
That team happened to be Toledo Central Catholic.
With just under three minutes to go, Athens' Trae Williams completed a 12-play, 70-yard drive by breaking into the end zone on a 2-yard run to give Athens a 52-49 advantage. However, the Irish managed to convert two fourth downs on their game-winning drive. The second of those came from the 8-yard line in the final seconds. Eschewing a 25-yard game-tying field goal attempt, TCC handed the ball to Marcus Winters, who got to the perimeter and charged into the end zone.
That game-winning play came one play after Athens dropped what would have been a game-clinching interception. Even though a Toledo Central Catholic player appeared to commit a false start on Winters' touchdown, no flag was thrown.
Burrow finished 26 of 45 for 446 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Even though he absorbed two sacks, he still finished with 54 rushing yards. Toledo Central Catholic used a ground attack to churn out major gains against Athens, rushing 59 times for 504 yards and six touchdowns.
It was Toledo Central Catholic's fourth state title, joining championship efforts in 2012, 2005 and 1977. Athens' first title slipped through its grasp. The Bulldogs have made just five playoff appearances in program history.
Toledo Central Catholic 56, The Plains Athens 52
1Q 10:50 ATHENS – Williams 1 yd run (Gribble kick), 4-65 1:10
1Q 8:00 TCC – Warren 1 yd run (Quinlan kick), 8-42 2:37
1Q 4:20 TCC – Winters 79 yd run (Quinlan kick), 2-81 0:47
1Q 0:30 ATHENS – R. Luehrman 54 yd pass from Burrow (kick blocked), 2-56 0:34
2Q 4:18 TCC – Baswell 19 yd pass from Winters (Quinlan kick), 12-84 5:31
2Q 0:50 ATHENS – A. Luehrman 8 yd pass from Burrow (rush failed), 11-76, 3:21
3Q 8:19 ATHENS – Saltzman 29 yd pass from Burrow (pass failed), 7-62, 2:04
3Q 7:10 TCC – Warren 18 yd run (Quinlan kick), 4-62 0:59
3Q 5:19 ATHENS – A. Leuhrman 8 yd pass from Burrow (pass failed), 7-72 1:44
3Q 0:49 TCC – Wade 40 yd run (Quinlan kick), 6-69 2:28
4Q 10:15 ATHENS – Wiseman 10 yd pass from Burrow (Thomas kick), 10-77 2:30
4Q 7:38 TCC – Winters 12 yd run (Quinlan kick), 6-69 2:28
4Q 6:47 ATHENS – R. Luehrman 40 yd pass from Burrow (Thomas kick), 3-60, 0:46
4Q 5:11 TCC – Warren 67 yd pass from Winters (Quinlan kick), 3-70 1:28
4Q 2:52 ATHENS – Williams 2 yd run (Thomas kick), 12-70 2:10
4Q 0:15 TCC – Winters 8 yd run (Quinlan kick), 12-71 2:37