Ohio Preps Rdp.: State Semis Recap

We look back at the state semifinal match-ups from last season and ahead to the six state championship games on tap this coming weekend. Massillon Washington junior Brian Gamble scored a pair of late touchdowns in his team's state semifinal win over Lakewood St. Edward. Massillon will meet Cincinnati St. Xavier in Saturday's Division I state championship game.

Here is a recap of the state semifinals from this past weekend, followed by a preview of this weekend's six state championship game match-ups (Ohio News Network plans live coverage of each game with pregame and postgame coverage as well):

State Semifinal Results


* Cincinnati St. Xavier 17, Hilliard Davidson 10 – Chris Cionni scored on a 2-yard run and St. X's Alex Albright returned a Davidson fumble 2 yards for a score. Sophomore Darius Ashley added 99 yards rushing for St. X. Donnie Curtis hit Joey Ciamacco with a 73-yard TD pass for Davidson's only touchdown. Davidson finished 13-1.

* Massillon Washington 21, Lakewood St. Edward 17 -- Massillon rallied from down 17-7 with five minutes left to snatch its third state semifinal win in school history. Brian Gamble, who finished with 62 yards on 14 carries and five catches for 98 yards, caught an 18-yard TD pass from Bobby Huth with 5:21 left. Gamble then scored the game-winning touchdown on a 5-yard run with 1:56 left. Huth was 14 of 20 for 230 yards for the Tigers.

St. Ed, which finished 12-1, saw Nate Oliver fill in at RB for Frank Edmonds. Oliver had a 7-yard TD run and Kyle Hubbard caught a 5-yard TD pass from Brandon Frohnapple.


* Canfield 17, Tallmadge 14 -- Angelo Babbaro's 76-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter helped Canfield to the win over Tallmadge (13-1). Babbaro's touchdown gave Canfield a 17-7 lead with 7:53 left in the third quarter. Tallmadge came back, getting a 60-yard TD pass from tailback Jamel Miller to Kyle Harrison with 10:10 remaining in the fourth, making it 17-14. But Tallmadge could not get a first down on its next series and punted to Canfield with 6:19 left. Tallmadge never got the ball back as Canfield's offense marched to Blue Devils' 11 and ran out the clock.

* Toledo Central Catholic 24, Dayton Carroll 21 -- TCC advanced to its first state title game as Brodie Wagener made a 26-yard field goal with 30 seconds left for the win. TCC's Dane Sanzenbacher grabbed five passes for 85 yards and two scores. Carroll was led by Ryan Kinnison, who had 151 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns.

TCC won its 12th straight game, while Carroll ended up 11-3.


* Columbus DeSales 16, Clyde 7 -- With DeSales clinging to a 10-7 lead, Chris Thomas intercepted a Clyde pass and returned it 55 yards to the Clyde 14 with 3:25 left. Matt Mangini then hit A.J. Kaltenbach for the game-clinching 17-yard TD for the Stallions, who advanced to their seventh state title game. Thomas also had a 22-yard TD run for DeSales. Clyde, which got a 16-yard TD run from Seth Caudill, finished 12-2.

* Steubenville 35, Akron Buchtel 24 -- Zach Collaros ran for a touchdown and threw for three others to lead Steubenville to its fourth state championship game berth. Collaros was 8 of 14 passing for 184 yards. The three TDs give him 21 on the year. Junior RB Ernest Pitts had 58 yards and three TDs on 18 carries for Buchtel, which finished 11-3.


* Coldwater 35, Lemon-Monroe 0 -- Led by OSU verbal Ross Homan, Coldwater advanced to its third state title game with a win over Lemon-Monroe. Coldwater, which has won 27 of its last 28 games, got past the state semi, where they fell to Versailles a year earlier. A crowd of 9,000 saw the game at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.

QB Steve Borger completed 11-of-18 passes for 188 yards and a TD as the Cavs racked up 342 yards in total offense. Homan added 141 yards and three TDs on 24 carries as his future coach – OSU's Jim Tressel – watched from the stands. Lemon-Monroe, a dismal 3-27 the last three years, ended up 12-2. This was L-M's first winning season since 1994.

* Youngstown Mooney 20, Bellaire 13 -- Nate Burney carried 37 times for 167 yards and a TD and teammate Tony Brunetti added a 1-yard TD run as defending state champion Mooney advanced to its seventh state title game. Mooney won despite losing quarterback Derrell Johnson in the first half to an apparent shin injury after a long run. When he left the game, Johnson had already gained 98 yards rushing on just seven carries.

Bellaire ended up 13-1. The Big Reds could never get on track offensively. QB Nate Davis was 7-of-18 passing for 71 yards with two interceptions. For the year, Davis threw for 2,749 yards and 35 TDs. Davis closes his prep career with better than 7,300 yards and better than 70 touchdown passes.


* Cincinnati Hills Christian 23, Centerburg 7 -- CHCA advanced to its first state title game as QB Doug Browne completed 21 of 33 passes for 211 yards. On the year, Browne has thrown for 3,039 yards and 38 TDs against five INTs. Ryan Collado had 234 yards total offense (99 rushing, 135 receiving) and two TDs. Centerburg ended up 11-3.

* Hamler Patrick Henry 48, N. Lima S. Range 28 -- Drew Kuesel finished with 106 yards and four TDs, while Zach Bonner added 83 yards and two scores as Patrick Henry advanced to its first state title game. South Range ended the year 13-1.


* Delphos St. John's 31, Bascom Hopewell-Loudon 7 -- Andrew DeWitt ran for 130 yards and two TDs in a win over previously unbeaten Bascom Hopewell Loudon. DSJ moved on to its fourth state title game appearance.

* Steubenville Catholic Central 36, Newark Catholic 35 -- SCC used some trickery to advance to its second state title game. After QB J.J. Kucynski scored on a 4-yard run with 1:14 left to trim Newark Catholic's lead to 35-34, SCC lined up to kick an extra point. But holder Greg Ashmead took the snap and ran for the game-winning two-point conversion.

Kucynski had two TD runs, while Zach Hawrot added 203 yards and two TDs on 22 carries for SCC. Newark Catholic, which ended up 10-4, got 123 yards and a TD on 23 carries from Zach McPherson.

State Championship Games

Here is the schedule (all games televised live on ONN and will also be broadcast on the radio at ESPN 990-AM in Massillon and WQKT-FM 104.5 in Wooster):


* 11 a.m.: Division III, Steubenville (14-0) vs. Columbus DeSales (10-4) at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium -- Steubenville was ranked No. 1 in the final ONN/Ohio High Power Poll, while DeSales was unranked. Steubenville is playing for its fourth title and first since 1988. DeSales is making its seventh state finals appearance and is looking for its fourth title and first since 1998. The Stallions have given up 21 points combined in their four playoff wins. One of DeSales' losses was to Division I finalist Cincinnati St. Xavier (24-0).

My Pick: Before the playoffs, I had Mentor Lake Catholic over Cincinnati Indian Hill as my pick. Now, looking at this game, I will take Steubenville in what should be a classic match-up.

* 3 p.m.: Division V, Hamler Patrick Henry (14-0) vs. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (14-0) at Canton's Fawcett Stadium -- Patrick Henry was No. 1 in the final poll, while CHCA was No. 4. These two teams will be making their first state finals appearance. Patrick Henry is the highest scoring team still alive in the playoffs with an average of 46.6 points per game. But CHCA also is a high scoring team, averaging 39.1 points per game this season.

My Pick: Before the playoffs, I picked Versailles over Hamler Patrick Henry. Now, I'll go with Patrick Henry in a game that should be in the 45-35 range.

* 7 p.m.: Division II, Canfield (14-0) vs. Toledo Central Catholic (13-1) at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium -- Canfield was No. 6 in the final poll, while TCC was No. 10. These two teams are also making their first state championship game appearance. Canfield allows just 8.3 points per game and has allowed just 17 points in four playoff wins. TCC upset top-ranked Avon Lake 35-14 in the regional finals. TCC's only loss was at home to Fremont Ross (20-14) in Week 2.

My Pick: Before the playoffs, I picked Avon Lake over Springboro. Looking at this match-up, I'll take Canfield's great defensive team in a low scoring game.


* 11 a.m.: Division IV, Youngstown Mooney (12-2) vs. Coldwater (14-0) at Canton's Fawcett Stadium -- Coldwater was No. 1 in the final poll, while defending state champion Mooney was No. 5. The Cardinals are 5-1 all-time in state championship games. The Cavaliers are looking for their first title after a pair of runner-up finishes (1998 and 2000). Coldwater has posted three straight shutouts in the playoffs and has allowed just 5.6 points per game this year.

My Pick: I had Mooney over Coldwater before the playoffs. But if Mooney's Derrell Johnson can't go, clearly, the advantage would shift to Coldwater.

* 3 p.m.: Division VI, Steubenville Central Catholic (11-3) vs. Delphos St. John's (12-2) at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium -- DSJ was ranked No. 5 in the final poll, while SCC was unranked. DSJ is making its fourth title game appearance after winning three straight titles from 1997-99. The Blue Jays defeated defending state champion Dola Hardin Northern 19-7 in a regional final. SCC's only previous state championship game appearance was in 1993, when the Crusaders stopped Liberty Center for the Division V title.

My Pick: Before the playoffs, I picked Dola Hardin Northern over Bascom Hopewell-Loudon. Looking at this game, I'll go with Delphos St. John's.

* 7 p.m.: Division I, Massillon Washington (13-1) vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier (14-0) at Canton's Fawcett Stadium -- St. X was No. 2 in the final poll, while Massillon was No. 10. No program anywhere can boast the lineage of Massillon, although the Tigers are still in search of their first state playoff title. The Tigers have accumulated 22 state poll champioships and nine national prep championships. In the years since the playoffs were instituted, the Tigers have been in the playoffs 14 times, the final four four times and the final game twice. Massillon's lone loss was a 38-8 shiner at the hands of Canton McKinley in Week 10. But they avenged that defeat with a 21-3 win over McKinley in the regional finals.

Meanwhile, St. X is looking to keep the big-school state title in the Queen City for the fourth straight year after Elder won in 2002-03 and Colerain won last year. St. X has made three state championship game appearances (last one was 2001), but the Bombers have also never won a state playoff title. St. X has allowed its opponents just 5.6 points per game this year. St. X has posted six shutout wins.

My Pick: Before the playoffs, my pick was Cleveland Glenville over St. X. I will take St. X over Massillon by the slightest of margins in what should be a great game.

OSU Verbals Outside Ohio

* Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County with QB Antonio Henton moved to 11-3 with a 35-17 win over two-time defending state champion LaGrange in a Class 3A state semifinal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Henton threw for 108 yards and two touchdowns, a 23-yarder to Duranzo Brown and a 10-yarder to Auburn verbal Chris Slaughter. Slaughter set a school record with 22 receiving catches on the year with that grab. Henton also rushed for 85 yards and a pair of touchdowns, an 8-yarder and a 6-yarder. This year, Henton has now thrown for 1,934 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Peach County, which has won 11 straight after an 0-3 start, now meets Dougherty in the Class 3A state title game at Hugh Mills in Albany.

* Dana Point (Calif.) Dana Hills QB-DB Grant Schwartz's season is complete.

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