Ohio Preps Rdp.: State Semis Recap, Finals Preview

We look back at last weekend's state semifinals and preview the state championship games set for this weekend in Massillon and Canton.

Here are the results of the Ohio high school football state semifinals:


Lakewood St. Edward 44, Tol. St. John's 7: St. Ed's, which features OSU verbal junior OL Alex Boone, built a 38-0 halftime lead when it rushed for 272 yards.

Cin. Elder 31, Dublin Scioto 7: Senior running back Bradley Glatthaar rushed for 214 yards and two TDs and senior quarterback Rob Florian passed for 188 yards and two scores


Trenton Edgewood 33, Columbus Brookhaven 13: The Cougars built a 26-0 halftime lead in running their Wing-T offense to perfection and holding Columbus Brookhaven to 23 first half yards

Avon Lake 48, Chardon 8: The Shoremen forced six Chardon turnovers and received 177 rushing yards from senior tailback Jon Schroeder.


Kenton 42, Newark Licking Valley 21: Senior D.J. Underwood, moved from receiver to quarterback Kenton's spread offense midway through the regular season, was 16-for-16 in the first half and ended with 327 passing yards and four TDs (two passing, two rushing) to lead the unranked Wildcats.

Cleveland Benedictine 47, Steubenville 7: Jon Huddleston took a punt 78 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown and RB Ray Williams had 163 yards and three TDs as the Bengals romped over top-ranked and previously unbeaten Steubenville.


Cle. VASJ 21, Bellaire 14: VASJ used a ball control offense, holding possession for more than 32 minutes, in beating Bellaire. Senior quarterback Mike Cvelbar passed for 252 yards and ran for 81 more to lead the way. Sophomore David Lighty had a key interception for VASJ.

Versailles 28, Delta 7: Senior running back Ben Shappie scored two touchdowns and senior quarterback Kyle Gehle passed for three to lead the Tigers past Delta.


Columbus Academy 41, Delphos St. John's 35, OT: Academy senior halfback Ray Jones rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Steve Butt threw for a touchdown and ran for two to lead the way.

Amanda-Clearcreek 10, Warren JFK 7, 2OT: This was a scoreless tie at the end of regulation. Junior running back Kent Phillips scored in the first overtime on a five-yard run, while junior Carlos Del Angel kicked a 29-yard field goal to win it in the second OT.


Columbus Grove 27, Monroeville 24: Columbus Grove held off Monroeville behind junior running back Blaine Maag's 207 rushing yards and three TDs.

Maria Stein Marion Local 21, Newark Cath. 14: Senior wide receiver Russell Moeller and senior quarterback Cory Luebke hooked up on a 42-yard scoring pass with 52 second left to give the Flyers the win.

State Championships

Here are the pairings for the state title games (all games will be televised by Ohio News Network):


At Canton Fawcett Stadium, Saturday, 8 p.m.

Lakewood St. Edward (11-3) vs. Cin. Elder (13-1): Defending champion Cincinnati Elder returns to the state title game, looking to become the first big-school repeat champion since Canton McKinley won back-to-back crowns in 1997 and ‘98. When they won last year, the No. 6-ranked Panthers became the first Cincinnati school to win the big-school state championship since 1987. Elder has won 12 straight games since losing its only game in week two of the regular season to Indianapolis Warren Central, 45-20. Elder's opponent will be 12th-ranked Lakewood St. Edward, which is making its third state championship game appearance and is looking for its first championship. The Eagles fell to Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller in the 1975 title game and to Fairfield in the 1986 finale. St. Edward's three losses this year have come against Warren G. Harding (whom it defeated in the regional semifinals), Cleveland St. Ignatius and Moeller (whom Elder defeated 21-20) by a combined 13 points.


At Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday, 8 p.m.

Avon Lake (14-0) vs. Trenton Edgewood (14-0): For the second straight year, two schools making their first state finals appearances meet in the Division II championship when top-ranked Avon Lake faces No. 4 Trenton Edgewood. Avon Lake has run into tough luck the last three years in the playoffs. In 1999 the Shoremen fell to Niles McKinley 21-20 in overtime in the regional semifinals, in 2001 the school lost to eventual state champ Toledo St. Francis in the regional finals and last year's squad lost to eventual state runner-up Macedonia Nordonia in the regional finals. This year's team has outscored its foes by 33 points per game and has given up just 24 points in the four tournament games. Edgewood reached the state semifinals in 1999 before falling to eventual state runner-up Sylvania Southview.


At Canton Fawcett Stadium, Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Cle. Benedictine (13-1) vs. Kenton (11-3): One of the surprising entrants into this year's state finals is Kenton, even though the Wildcats are two-time defending state champions. Kenton is surprising since it moved up a division this year, graduated record-breaking quarterback and 2002 Mr. Football Ben Mauk and stood 2-3 after its first five games. But the unranked Wildcats have won nine straight games and are seeking to become the first Ohio school to win three straight championships since Delphos St. John's in Division VI between 1997 and ‘99. Kenton's opponent will be Cleveland Benedictine, last year's Division III state runner-up to Columbus Bishop Watterson and a four-time state titlist (1996, 1981, 1980, 1973). No. 3 Benedictine was top-ranked for most of the season before falling to Division I state finalist Lakewood St. Edward in its last regular season game, 18-13. The Bengals are led by senior running back Raymond Williams, who rushed for over 3,200 yards last season and has over 2,700 yards this year.


At Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Saturday, 3:30 p.m

Cle. VASJ (10-4) vs. Versailles (14-0): Top-ranked Versailles has reached the state title game for the first time since 1998 and the eighth time overall (all since 1988). Veteran Coach Al Hetrick's team, which has won five state championships to rank No. 4 in Ohio, has made it look easy this year, outscoring its opponents by 30 points per game and winning its four tournament games by an average score of 42 to 11. Two of Versailles' conference wins this year came over Division VI state finalist Maria Stein Marion Local (37-0) and Division V state semifinalist Delphos St. John's (34-12). The Tigers' opponent will be unranked Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph. VASJ made its only other state finals appearance in 1989, when it won the Division II crown as Cleveland St. Joseph and was led by junior quarterback Tony Miller. Miller went on to lead the school to the Division I state basketball title in 1991 and had a successful basketball career at Marquette. The Vikings, whose four losses this year all came to Division III schools (including state semifinalist Cleveland Benedictine), have won their four tournament games by an average score of 23 to 17.


At Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Friday, 11 a.m.

Amanda-Clearcreek (13-1) vs. Gahanna Cols. Academy (12-2): Two schools from the same league (although different divisions) match up in the Division V final. No. 5 Amanda-Clearcreek, in the Mid-State League Buckeye Division, is making its fourth trip to the state finals, all since 1997. The Aces won back-to-back crowns in 1999 and 2000 and were state runners-up in ‘97. The school has lost just once this season — at Lancaster Fairfield Union in week five —and won its last two tournament games by one point over Sarahsville Shenandoah (13-12) and three in double overtime over Warren John F. Kennedy (10-7). The Aces' opponent is unranked Gahanna Columbus Academy, which is in the Mid-State League Ohio Division. The Vikings, who won the Division IV state championship in 1987, are the highest scoring team in the finals, averaging 48 points per game and nearly 58 points a contest during its four tournament games. Academy, which scored 76 points to tie the all-time OHSAA tournament scoring mark in the regional semifinals, came back with 66 in the regional finals. The Vikings' losses this year were to Newark Licking Valley and Whitehall-Yearling. The only common opponent for Amanda-Clearcreek and Columbus Academy was Granville, and Amanda won 33-13 and Academy 49-13.


At Canton Fawcett Stadium, Saturday, 11 a.m.

Columbus Grove (14-0) vs. Maria Stein Marion Local (11-3): First-time state tournament finalist but top-ranked Columbus Grove meets No. 11 Maria Stein Marion Local in the small-school match-up. Columbus Grove overcame the state semifinal hurdle last week after it fell to eventual state champ Marion Local in the 2000 state semis, 13-7, and dropped a 20-0 decision to eventual state runner-up Dola Hardin Northern in last year's state semis. Columbus Grove is outscoring its opponents by over 29 points per game. Marion Local, which won back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001, has survived tough Midwest Athletic Conference and tournament schedules to reach the finals for the third time in four years. The Flyers, losers to conference foes Coldwater, Division IV state finalist Versailles and Division V state semifinalist Delphos St. John's in the regular season, knocked off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Covington in the regional quarterfinals, stopped defending state runner-up Dola Harding Northern in the regional finals (14-10) and halted seven-time state champion Newark Catholic, 21-14, in last week's state semifinals. Marion Local is attempting to become the first No. 8 seed to win an OHSAA state football championship.

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