COLUMBUS (AP) — Caleb Martin threw for 385 yards and five touchdowns to lead Fort Recovery to a 33-14 victory over Mogadore in the Division VII state championship game Friday at Ohio Stadium.
The Indians (13-2) never trailed in winning their first state title, becoming the seventh team from the powerful Midwest Athletic Conference in western Ohio to accomplish that feat.
“I guess we feel like we belong now,” Coach Brent Niekamp said.
They earned that feeling by dominating a traditionally strong program from the northeast part of the state.
After Will Homan intercepted a Mogadore pass on the first drive of the game, Martin hooked up with Darien Sheffer for a 15-yard score less than two minutes into the contest.
He threw three more touchdown passes before the end of the first half, a 75-yarder to Brandon Schoen and a pair to Tanner Koch (8 and 10 yards).
Mogadore Coach Matt Adorni said the big score by Schoen with 7:05 left in the second quarter was a backbreaker after his team had pulled within 14-7 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Zeddie Pollock to Jarad Dunn less than two minutes earlier.
“We just never seized the momentum back,” Adorni said.
Martin’s fifth touchdown pass was a 30-yarder to Wes Wenning that came one play after the Indians had stopped Mogadore on a fourth-and-4 early in the fourth quarter.
Dunn caught six passes for 120 yards as Mogadore (13-2) lost for the fifth time in eight state championship game appearances.
The last three have been against teams from the MAC with an aggregate score of 150-21.
Fort Recovery has known the feeling of being pounded by MAC teams, too, but made its first playoff appearance last year before taking the ultimate next step.
“We went through a lot of years of being sort of cellar dwellers in our conference, which you guys know is a really tough league and to make this jump, it seemed like it just happened overnight but it didn’t,” Niekamp said. “This was five, six, seven years in the making.”
Earlier Friday, MAC member Coldwater won the Division V state title 35-18 over Canton Central Catholic. A third team from the league, Maria Stein Marion Local, will play in the Division VI title game Saturday.