Homan Helps Coldwater Win State Title

Coldwater's Ross Homan, an OSU verbal, ended his high school career in style. Homan had 70 yards rushing and a touchdown on offense and 16 tackles on defense as the Cavaliers stunned defending state champion Youngstown Mooney 33-9 in Saturday's Division IV state championship game. Click here for more.

Ross Homan made his final high school game a memorable one.

Homan helped lead Coldwater to the Division IV state championship and a perfect 15-0 record with a 33-9 win over defending state champion Youngstown Mooney before 8,499 at Canton's Fawcett Stadium on Saturday.

Homan, an Ohio State verbal commitment who plans to enroll in January, capped off his prep career in fine style. He had 70 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries on offense and had 16 tackles (eight solos) to go with a tackle-for-loss and a forced fumble as the Cavaliers downed injury depleted Mooney, which played without star quarterback Derrell Johnson.

"What a way to go out," Homan said. "We won 15 games and we got the state championship.

"This is huge. This town loves football and they have been waiting so long for a state championship. We finally got it. It's awesome."

Coldwater held Mooney to just 126 net yards total offense, including just 29 passing yards. It was apparent that Mooney missed Johnson. The weight of the offense fell to tailback Nate Burney, who ended up with 33 carries for 136 yards rushing.

"That made it easier," Homan said. "With Johnson in there, you knew they had two backs back there. That makes it harder to focus on one guy. They could give it to Burney or they could give it to Johnson. With Johnson out of there, we just keyed on Burney. That made it a lot easier for us."

The 6-1, 235-pound Homan also credited his defensive line for giving him pathways to the ball carrier most of the day.

"Our defensive line keeps blockers off of me and Cody (Muhlenkamp)," he said. "They get a good push on the defensive line and that just lets me and Cody run free and make tackles. Our secondary is second to none. They are great at shutting the pass down. You put it all together and you have a great defense.

"Our defense relies on speed and making big plays. Our game plan is to shut down the run and make them pass."

Coldwater never trailed in the game. The Cavaliers scored on their first possession with a quick six-play, 60-yard drive capped by Steve Borger's 35-yard touchdown pass to Justin Kahlig. Mooney then trimmed the lead to 6-3 and was driving but Coldwater's Ryan Geier forced a fumble by Mooney quarterback Tony Brunnetti. Gaston Pleiman recovered it and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown that made it 13-3.

Borger ended up completing 12 of 17 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. Brady Geier had four catches for 106 yards and two TDs. Homan's 15-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter extended the rout to 27-9.

"We were playing one of the best teams in the state, so we prepared hard and just came in and let it fly," Homan said. "There is no better feeling than this. From the coaches calling great plays, to the players around us making great plays, it was a total team effort."

After a loss to Midwest Athletic Conference rival Versailles in the state semifinals spoiled a perfect season a year ago, Homan said he and his teammates came back with even more resolve this time around.

"We came so close last year," Homan said. "It was the state semis. That next Monday when we came into the weight room, we knew that next year would be our time. We worked so hard. We deserved it.

"Being in two-a-days, we had our team meeting as seniors. We knew we had all of the pieces of the puzzle. Just putting them together was the big thing."

Homan and his teammates headed to the buses for their four-hour ride home to Coldwater, where a major victory celebration awaits.

"It's going to be great," he said. "We know we will get a big welcome home. That town lives and dies football. The stands are packed every game home and away. Our fans will be proud."

Coldwater was unbeaten in MAC play the last two seasons – games against the likes of Versailles, St. Henry, Maria Stein Marion Local and Delphos St. John's that prepare the Cavaliers for the playoffs. Now, Coldwater joins that group of conference rivals with a state championship.

"In our league, you have to bring your A-game every week," Homan said. "If you don't do that, you might lose. They challenge us and prepare us well for the playoffs."

Coldwater coach John Reed, in his 11th year at the school, was glad to get that state title win.

"For the program, it is great to finally get this ultimate win," he said. "But these guys have been winners. I think they've only lost two games in their high school career. We told them in our captain's meeting last night that regardless of what turns out today, they're champions because they conduct themselves as champions. From a coaching standpoint, that's what it's got to be all about because there is no assurance about the wins and losses.

"You couldn't ask for better young men. They make you look like better coaches."

Homan is among four finalists for the ONN/Ohio High state player of the year award. That award will be presented as part of the All-Ohio team show on ONN at 6 p.m.

The other finalists are Copley's Delone Carter, Akron Garfield's Chris Wells and Bellaire's Nate Davis.

What's Next?

Homan will now graduate early from Coldwater and enroll for the start of winter quarter at Ohio State in January.

"I will take a couple weeks off and let all the bumps and bruises heal," Homan said. "I am going to enroll early in January and start classes and winter workouts right away. I'm looking forward to meeting those guys. They are all great people and I want to get in there and know them."

Homan hopes he can grow and become a linebacker at Ohio State in the same mold as outgoing starters A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel.

"After watching A.J. and those guys, they are unbelievable players," he said. "I want to pick up what I can. Any time you get to play major D-I college football, it's a great opportunity."

Homan was asked how playing in, say, an Ohio State-Michigan game one day would compare to the state championship game.

"I know there will be a lot more people than this," Homan said. "This was great, but I know that will be great, too."

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