COLUMBUS (AP) — A new coach and a new year brought the same result for Cincinnati La Salle: a Division II state championship.
Coach Jim Hilvert’s Lancers thrashed Massillon Perry 42-0 Friday night at Ohio Stadium.
“It’s not easy to win,” said Hilvert, who replaced Nate Moore after Moore left to become the coach at Massillon Washington. “It’s not easy to stay on top of the mountain. These guys were all about team, all about accomplishing a goal and that’s winning a state championship.”
The Lancers scored first when offensive lineman Luke Doerger recovered Jarell White’s fumble in the end zone on fourth-and-goal at the 8:24 mark of the first quarter.
All-state running back Jeremy Larkin scored the next two touchdowns for the Lancers, who tacked on a touchdown pass and run from quarterback Nick Watson and an interception return for a touchdown by TreSean Smith.
Larkin’s first touchdown was set up by a botched punt by Perry quarterback Max Baker, who lined up in a regular offensive formation and was trying a quick kick but got to close to teammate Keishaun Sims. The kick went off Sims’ backside and back to the ground, where it was scooped up by lineman John Wilcox and returned 32 yards to the Panthers’ 11-yard line.
Sims, who was named Ohio’s Mr. Football earlier in the week, ran for 117 yards for the Panthers (12-3).
“I thought we’d play a little bit different than we did,” Perry Coach Keith Wakefield said. “They’re such a good team. We gave them so many opportunities to be successful.”
La Salle, which beat Macedonia Nordonia 55-20 in the 2014 state title game, became the first team to repeat in D-II since St. Marys Memorial in 1992 and 2003.