COLUMBUS (AP) —Coldwater won its fourth consecutive state championship Friday with a 35-18 win over Canton Central Catholic in Division V.
For the 24 seniors — including 23 together since kindergarten or first grade, according to coach Chip Otten — that meant a clean sweep.
“At the first captains meeting I told the guys we’re gonna go 15-0 because there’s nobody that can stop us, and it held true this year,” senior end Mitch Clune said. “We took on every game as it came, and we got our goal. We got 15-0, and I’m so proud of all the seniors this year to get that accomplished, and I’m really happy to go out on top.”
The Cavaliers never trailed, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions of each half and beating the Crusaders (11-4) in the title game for the second year in a row.
Coldwater quarterback Jack Hemmelgarn completed 18-of-27 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns, both to fellow senior Aaron Harlamert, who had seven catches for 142 yards.
Kyle McKibben — another senior — had two interceptions for the Cavaliers defense, which allowed 44 points in five postseason games, and senior Kraig Schoenherr scored two touchdowns on the ground for Coldwater.
The Cavaliers were 5-of-5 on fourth downs, including a backbreaking 33-yard touchdown pass from Hemmelgarn to Harlamert on a fourth-and-3.
McKibben’s PAT kick made it 27-3 with 2:24 to go in the third quarter.
Two plays later, John Colangelo took a screen pass 74 yards for a touchdown for Canton Central Catholic, but Coldwater answered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Schoenherr and two-point conversion on the ensuing drive to get back to a three-score advantage.
Luke Stuffel had eight tackles and a sack for Canton Central Catholic but lamented missed opportunities for the defense on those fourth downs.
“We needed those stops, but I guess we just couldn’t come up with them this morning,” Stuffel said.
Coldwater won its sixth state championship — all since 2005 — and Otten acknowledged playing sports is pretty much a way of life for kids in the area of western Ohio the Cavaliers call home.
“We have great participation in our area,” Otten said. “I guess like you said there’s not a whole lot else to do. If you want to go shopping or to a play or, I don’t know, whatever else other people do, you’ve gotta travel an hour. You’ve got to go to Muncie, got to go to Dayton — they’re all about an hour away. Fort Wayne. So we just play. We play games.”