The first of six games during the 2003 OHSAA Football Championships saw a close contest between Amanda-Clearcreek High School and Gahanna Columbus Academy.
Coach Ron Hinton and his Aces have experience in winning state titles, while the Vikings have seen a long dry spell since last getting a title shot.
Coming into the finals, Amanda-Clearcreek posted a 13 - 1 record. During the playoffs they have beaten West Lafayette Ridgewood 24-7, Woodsfield Monroe Central 28-7, Sarahsville Shenandoah 13-12 and Warren JFK 10-7 in double overtime.
Gahanna Columbus Academy came into the finals as a high powered offensive machine. In reaching the championship they beat Anna 48-6, Marion Pleasant 76-29, Bainbridge Paint Valley 66-28 and Delphos St. John's 41-35 in overtime. Coach Jim Collis saw hard times in his early days as head coach for the Vikings going 1-9 and 2-8 during his first two seasons. Today his players hoped to bring home a title.
On a cold, wet snow/rain mix The Vikings from Academy found Clearcreek a tough foe. With its high power offense shut down, the Vikings worked hard on defense and used turnovers from the Aces to get a lead and win the Division V title with a 13-8 victory.
The Aces hit the scoreboard first when running back Raymond Sowers scored. The Aces didn't convert the extra point and held a 6-0 lead. The Vikings first scored when quarterback Steve Butt hit wingback Jamie Neuhoff, the extra point was good and the Vikings never looked back. The Vikings weren't done, Butt hit running back Ray Jones with a pass and score, Academy 13 - 6 over Clearcreek.
The game was not without controversy if you're a Amanda-Clearcreek fan. Coach Hinton saw a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Sam Davis was called for helping his running back into the end zone with a push. This penalty is hardly called, but was the right call. OPS Football Director Craig Schwieterman saw first hand the play and reported, "the call was a good call by the officials. While I haven't seen this penalty called very often, it was plain to see that Davis pushed the running back into the end zone".
Right after that play, Clearcreek had another chance to score on fourth down when Davis hit Troy Busch in the flat at the goal line. Busch made the reception was with his back to the goal, the official ruled the ball never crossed the plain and the Aces turned the ball over on downs. Coach Hinton was up and down the sidelines after this call and showed his displeasure after the play and after the game.
Clearcreek still had a chance with the Vikings taking over the ball at the one. With its defense holding tough, Clearcreek forced the Vikings into taking a safety as Academy QB Steve Butt ran out of the end zone. On the free kick the Aces had enough time to try and score, but saw their title hopes come to an end with a fumble that Academy recovered.
The OHSAA Division V State Champion for 2003 is Gahanna Columbus Academy. Congrats to Coach Jim Collis, his staff and team from OhioPrepScene.com.
This game was a great battle by two great teams that showed class and great sportsmanship. Very few penalty flags were thrown during this battle. After the game Coach Hinton stressed that he felt the officials decided who the winner was. He stated " The officials are to call the game and let the players determine who wins or loses. They didn't do that today in my opinion, they picked who was going to win this game with the calls they made at the end. I'm sorry to say this but its what I feel".
OPS Football Director Craig Schwieterman was standing at the goal line on both plays, in talking with Craig he informed me that both calls were on the money. Craig said " The ball never crossed the goal line on the fourth down play and Davis made the push and got an advantage from it. While you never want to see a game determined by officials, they made the right calls on both plays.
2003 DIVISION V STATE CHAMPIONS
PHOTO FROM OHSAA
This is the first title for the current staff and the schools second all-time. The first title came sixteen years ago.
OhioPrepScene.com and Moe's Minis is honored to name Steve Butt, QB / FS from Gahanna Columbus Academy the game MVP. OPS Football Director Craig Schwieterman presented the Division V MVP Helmet to Steve on the field after the game. Early next week OPS will have pictures from the game and of Steve getting his MVP Helmet. These helmets were made as a special one-of-a-kind award. No other helmet is like the ones Moe's Minis and OhioPrepScene.com are presenting to MVP's of each Division Championship game.
You can get special made mini helmets or helmets of your favorite team from Moe's Minis, an OhioPrepScene.com partner. To visit Moe's Minis please click on the link provided.
Box Score (Final) PROVIDED BY THE OHSAA
COLUMBUS ACADEMY vs AMANDA-CLEARCREEK (NOV 28, 2003 at MASSILLON, OHIO)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
COLUMBUS ACADEMY.... 7 6 0 0 - 13 Record: (13-2)
AMANDA-CLEARCREEK... 6 0 0 2 - 8 Record: (13-2)
1st 05:37 AM-CLK - RAYMOND SOWERS 3 yd run (C DEL ANGEL kick failed), 10-83 4:08, COL-AC 0 - AM-CLK 6
00:55 COL-AC - JAMIE NEUHOFF 12 yd pass from STEVEN BUTT
(JEFF CAVANAGH kick), 3-17 1:28, COL-AC 7 - AM-CLK 6
2nd 01:11 COL-AC - RAY JONES 11 yd pass from STEVEN BUTT (JEFF CAVANAGH kick failed), 8-39 3:20, COL-AC 13 - AM-CLK 6
FIRST DOWNS................... 11 13
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 30-69 49-204
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 96 54
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 16-7-0 8-5-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 46-165 57-258
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-0 2-7
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-44 2-21
Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-46 0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 4-29.8 3-29.7
Fumbles-Lost.................. 4-3 3-1
Penalties-Yards............... 3-8 5-40
Possession Time............... 20:33 27:27
Third-Down Conversions........ 4 of 10 4 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 2 0 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-3 1-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 0-0
RUSHING: COLUMBUS ACADEMY-BRYAN MOROSKY 10-40; STEVEN BUTT 13-25; RAY
JONES 6-5; JAMIE NEUHOFF 1-minus 1. AMANDA-CLEARCREEK-RAYMOND SOWERS 26-128;
KENT PHILLIPS 19-79; MATT MCCAIN 1-6; NAT SAUM 1-3; SAM DAVIS 2-minus 12.
PASSING: COLUMBUS ACADEMY-STEVEN BUTT 7-16-0-96.
AMANDA-CLEARCREEK-SAM DAVIS 5-7-1-54; RAYMOND SOWERS 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: COLUMBUS ACADEMY-DANTE DISABATO 3-43; JAMIE NEUHOFF 3-42;
RAY JONES 1-11. AMANDA-CLEARCREEK-RAYMOND SOWERS 3-33; TROY BUSCH 2-21.
INTERCEPTIONS: COLUMBUS ACADEMY-JAMIE NEUHOFF 1-12; STEVEN BUTT 1-34.
FUMBLES: COLUMBUS ACADEMY-STEVEN BUTT 3-3; BRYAN MOROSKY 1-0.
AMANDA-CLEARCREEK-SAM DAVIS 2-0; RAYMOND SOWERS 1-1.
Stadium: PAUL BROWN TIGER Attendance: 0
Kickoff time: 11:07 End of Game: 1:31 Total elapsed time: 2:24
Officials: Referee: MIKE LEZAK; Umpire: JOHN KEENER; Linesman: RICHARD LAKES;
Line judge: TOM MORE; Back judge: DAN POTOPSKY; Scorer: JIM BARKAN;
Temperature: 38 F Wind: 10-20 NW Weather: WET