After the 2002 State Championships Cleveland Benedictine came away with a sour taste in their mouths. Falling short of the goal, a state championship they dedicated themselves to getting back to the finals at all cost. On Friday night they went to work.
Playing the toughest teams in the state prepared them for the task at hand. During the playoffs they knocked off Ravenna Southeast 35-7, Hunting Valley University 44-0, Mentor Lake Catholic 33-20 and Steubenville 47-7 to advance to play two time Division IV State Champion Kenton.
Kenton advanced after seeing the 2003 season start slow, coming into the playoffs with a 7-3 record not many considered the Wildcats a threat to advance to the finals. But the coaching staff righted the ship and when they hit the first round they were ready. By knocking off Bellevue 46-27, Columbus Beechcroft 36-24, Columbus Bishop Watterson 31-19 and Neward Licking Valley 42-21 the Wildcats were back were they have spent the past two seasons, looking for a championship for the small town of Kenton.
The match-up of these two teams brought different styles in play. Benedictine with Ohio's Mr. Football Raymond Williams and Kenton with its spread offense and knack of throwing the ball every down brought problems to each other. That held true through the first half of play as both teams couldn't find the end zone.
When the third quarter started, Kenton was looking for a spark. With 4th and 1 on the 23 yard line, the Wildcats gambled and went for it. The play was a mess from the start and with 10:30 left in the 3rd Benedictine took over on downs. If not for a Billy Cozad interception, Benedictine would have posted an early score and put the Wildcats on the run.
Kenton couldn't come up with any points and would never find a way to score. When Benedictine got the ball back, Williams wasted little time in getting them into scoring position. With 6:39 in the 3rd, Williams would score the first of two touchdowns and give Benedictine the points needed for the title.
The Benedictine defense proved too much for Kenton's spread and held them to only 166 total yards for the game while posting 6 sacks. When all was said and done, Benedictine would post 330 total yards on offense. Benedictine would have 69 offensive plays and Williams would handle the ball on 43 of them. Williams would then score his second TD and Kenton would see its dream season come to an end with the score 12-0.
On the night Williams rushed 43 times for 237 yards and two scores, he would average 5.5 yards per play and also helped the defense shut down the passing game of Kenton.
The victory would give Benedictine its 5th title in school history and make them the only school to win a title in each decade of the championships. They also were champions in 1996,1981,1980,1973 and runner up in 2002.
2002 DIVISION III STATE CHAMPIONS
PHOTO FROM THE OHSAA
In only his 4th year as head coach, Art Bortnick has put them into position as one of Ohio's best teams no matter the division.
Kenton saw its dream come to an end, but need to hold their heads high. No one felt they could return to a championship in 2003. They did and lost to a great team.
The OhioPrepScene.com / Moe's Mini Division III Game MVP is Raymond Williams. OPS Football Director Craig Schwieterman presented Ray his MVP Helmet after the game. OPS will have photos from the game and of the presentation of this MVP award.
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) Kenton vs Benedictine (Nov 28, 2003 at Canton, Ohio) Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score ----------------- -- -- -- -- ----- Kenton.............. 0 0 0 0 - 0 Record: (11-4) Benedictine......... 0 0 6 6 - 12 Record: (14-1) Scoring Summary: 3rd 06:36 BNEDITNE - Raymond Williams 5 yd run (Sam Koyl kick blockd), 6-46 2:14, KENTON 0 - BNEDITNE 6 4th 11:53 BNEDITNE - Raymond Williams 6 yd run (Raymond Williams rush failed), 2-19 0:12, KENTON 0 - BNEDITNE 12
KENTON BNEDITNE FIRST DOWNS................... 10 21 RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 18--30 65-301 PASSING YDS (NET)............. 196 29 Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 37-16-0 4-2-1 TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 55-166 69-330 Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0 Punt Returns-Yards............ 1--1 0-0 Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-18 1-2 Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-36 0-0 Punts (Number-Avg)............ 5-40.2 3-40.3 Fumbles-Lost.................. 4-1 3-2 Penalties-Yards............... 8-50 8-60 Possession Time............... 18:11 29:49 Third-Down Conversions........ 4 of 14 4 of 13 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 4 1 of 2 Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 0-1 2-4 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-7 6-54 RUSHING: Kenton-Zach Jackson 5-12; TEAM 1-minus 7; D.J. Underwood 12-minus 35. Benedictine-Raymond Williams 43-237; Maurice White 9-37; Jahmal Brown 8-28; Andrew Cole 3-10; TEAM 1-minus 1; Joe Laffey 1-minus 10. PASSING: Kenton-D.J. Underwood 16-37-0-196. Benedictine-Andrew Cole 2-3-0-29; Joe Laffey 0-1-1-0. RECEIVING: Kenton-Tommy Pettit 7-75; Nick Auger 2-40; Derek Deardorff 2-25; Billy Cozad 2-20; P.J. Lange 2-18; Jordy Johnson 1-18. Benedictine-Lorenzo Hunter 1-17; Joe Schaefer 1-12. INTERCEPTIONS: Kenton-Billy Cozad 1-36. Benedictine-None. FUMBLES: Kenton-TEAM 2-0; Tommy Pettit 1-0; D.J. Underwood 1-1. Benedictine-Joe Laffey 1-0; Ed Robinson 1-1; Raymond Williams 1-1. Stadium: Fawcett Stadium Attendance: 9767 Kickoff time: 3:37pm End of Game: 6:07PM Total elapsed time: 2:30 Officials: Referee: Ken Myers; Umpire: Les Heckman; Linesman: Ron Desseker; Line judge: Eric Shroyer; Back judge: Phil Coleflesh; Scorer: BP-BM-SA-SB; Temperature: 34 wc 25 Wind: SW 10mph Weather: Snow/Rain Mix