Coldwater's Homan Glad To Reach Title Game

A year after a tough loss in the Division IV state semifinals, Coldwater and OSU verbal Ross Homan rolled to a 35-0 win over Lemon-Monroe in a state semifinal last Saturday. They will meet defending champion Youngstown Mooney on Saturday in the title game. Homan talks about clearing that last hurdle, the game this weekend and his future at OSU.

A year ago, Coldwater was the state's top-ranked team in Division IV. The Cavaliers advanced to a state semifinal match-up with Midwest Athletic Conference rival Versailles, whom Coldwater had defeated 10-7 earlier in the year.

Most assumed that Coldwater would duplicate that victory and advance to the state championship game. But it did not work that way. Versailles stunned Coldwater 14-0, dealing the Cavaliers a bitter defeat and knocking them from the playoffs.

Fast forward one year and there was Coldwater on Saturday night – again No. 1 in the Division IV rankings and 13-0 on the year – facing upstart Lemon-Monroe for a spot in the D-IV state championship game.

The Cavaliers did not miss their opportunity this time around. Led by Ohio State verbal commitment Ross Homan, Coldwater smothered Lemon-Monroe 35-0. The Cavaliers advanced to meet defending state champion Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (12-2) in Saturday's D-IV state championship game at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

The 6-1, 225-pound Homan, who verbaled to Ohio State last February, rushed for 141 yards and three TDs on 24 carries and added a sack on defense in the win over Lemon-Monroe. For Homan, it was an important hurdle for he and his teammates to finally clear.

"The past four years, we made the playoffs but we always came up short," Homan said. "The closest we ever got was the state semis. This year, we had to win to go to the state championship game. To finally get that win, that is a big relief."

OSU head coach Jim Tressel and linebackers coach Luke Fickell were on hand to watch Coldwater's big victory.

"When you're there, you are just so into the game," Homan said. "But afterwards, I think when we got home it hit you that we're going to be playing for the state championship this Saturday. I think that's going to be a great experience."

Of course, Mooney will be no pushover. Mooney comes in off a 20-13 win over previously undefeated Bellaire.

"They have a big offensive line," Homan said. "That's a big thing for them. Then, they have the quarterback, (Derrell) Johnson, and the running back, (Nate) Burney, in the backfield. We know they are capable of making some plays and scoring some points."

On Tuesday, Homan was named as the Division IV state defensive player of the year by The Associated Press. He is also a finalist for Ohio High's player of the year award. (Other finalists include Bellaire's Nate Davis, Akron Garfield's Chris Wells and Copley's Delone Carter. That award will be announced during ONN's All-Ohio team show at 6 p.m. Saturday.)

During the regular season, he had 1,042 yards rushing, 312 yards receiving, 20 touchdowns, over 140 tackles and four sacks as Coldwater went undefeated in the always tough MAC for the second year in a row.

During his team's four-game playoff run, Homan has accumulated 319 yards rushing and nine more touchdowns, giving him 1,361 yards and 29 TDs on the year. His tackle total is now over 200.

"I am very pleased with the year I have had," Homan said. "I don't have any regrets and I am very thankful for everything I have been able to do."

Homan is ranked as the No. 5 prospect overall in Ohio by Ohio High magazine. He is also rated as the nation's No. 12 linebacker prospect and No. 83 prospect overall by

He plans to graduate early from Coldwater and enroll at OSU in January.

"I will be enrolling in January," he said. "I'll be starting winter quarter. So I'll go from playing here, to taking a few weeks off and going right into the winter workouts. I am excited about that."

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