Let's start our recap of the big games from Saturday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Lakewood St. Edwards took on Toledo St. John's for the chance to play next Saturday night for the Division I state title. St. Ed's took the opening kickoff and 66 yards later put the first score on the board with quarterback Anthony Gardner taking the ball over the right side with a QB keep and Joe Kleinsmith added the extra point for the 7-0 lead. The Eagles never looked back as they scored on their next drive to make it 10-0 with a 52 yard field goal by Kleinsmith. On the night the Eagles posted 407 yard of total offense compared to 160 yards for the Titans.
In the other DI match-up the teams headed to Columbus and Crew Stadium. The states defending DI champion looked for a return trip to the finals over a surprise team Dublin Scioto. In front of 13,629 fans Cincinnati Elder wasted little time in showing the crowd they were ready for a return trip. With senior quarterback Rob Florian and running back Bradley Glatthaar leading the way. Florian would hit on 7 of 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Craig Carey caught both TD throws from Florian and also hauled in two other passes for 125 yards on the night. Glatthaar showed why he's one of Ohio' top backs with another great performance rushing for 210 yards on 27 carries. Elder is the first Region 4 team to make a repeat trip to the championship since 1987-88 when Cincinnati Princeton did so.
OPS NOTES**This is not the championship most people felt they would see. St. Ed's has knocked off the Region 1 favorites Mentor and Warren Harding while Elder took down Cincinnati favorite Colerain. Elder should be the favorite having been in the title game last season, but St. Ed's has shown no fear during these playoffs and will be ready to battle for the crown. Will the crown stay in Cincinnati for another year? That is a question you can talk about on the OhioPrepScene.com Football message board.** Message board link: FOOTBALL BOARD
One of the best athletes in Ohio is sophomore David Lighty. Last night when his team needed him most he responded with a clutch performance and helped Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph to a trip for a state title next week. Playing in front of over 6,300 fans the Vikings used ball control and the play of Anthony Ramos and Mike Cvelbar to advance to the next round.
Versailles keeps its march alive with a 28-7 victory over Delta. Delta took an early 7-0 lead over the Tigers, but found the going rough for the rest of the game. Ben Shappie rushed for 103 yards and scored twice for the Tigers. The Tigers defense again showed how tough it could be when they only allowed Delta across midfield once in the second half. The Tigers keep a rolling and are looking like the team to beat in the finals.
OPS NOTES**Versailles keeps playing like the teams from years gone by. While no one felt Villa-Angela would be in the championship game they have found a way. My pick for along time has been Versailles and I'm sticking with it. But Lighty could prove to be a problem for the Tigers defensive backs before all is said and done.**
Columbus Grove won its 14th game of the 2003 season and earned a trip to the championship with a hard fought 27-24 victory against Monroeville. In what could be the key play of the game, Columbus Grove stopped Monroeville on the 1 yard line as time ran out to end the first half. Monroeville had no timeouts left to use. The big play man for Grove was Blaine Maag who rushed for 220 yards on 35 carries and scored 3 touchdowns on the night. Monroeville use the arm of quarterback Kurt Leber who threw for two touchdowns and completed 15 of 20 for 186 yards.
This is starting to feel like an old hat. When you talk about Marion Local you things of championships. The sports programs in this small town know how to win and took another step in that direction with its 21-14 victory over Newark Catholic to reach the championship game next week. Both teams fought to the final seconds of the game only to see Flyers quarterback Cory Luebke hit Russell Moeller with a 42 yard touchdown pass with under 1 minute left in the game. The final nail on the night happened a few seconds later when Newark Catholic fumbled to seal the victory and another championship trip. The Flyers now have a chance to win their third title in the last four years against the states #1 team Columbus Grove.
OPS NOTES**Columbus Grove may be the #1 team in the state, but Marion Local knows how to win the big game no matter what the sport. This will be a battle and a toss up as to who will win. If you have a chance to see this game do it. Small school football deserves more respect and these two teams are reason for that.**