COLUMBUS (AP) — Huber Heights Wayne coach Jay Minton was on the verge of an epic victory, but instead the Warriors suffered another heartbreaking defeat in the Division I title game, losing 45-35 to Lakewood St. Edward.
Wayne was down 17 points when they rallied in the fourth quarter, but St. Edward’s Cole Gest ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:19 to play, putting the Eagles ahead, and added a 51-yard rushing score 12 seconds later for a 45-35 win and a second straight division title.
“It could have been one of the neatest comebacks in the history of this tournament, but we didn’t finish it,” Minton said.
St. Edward (14-1) won their third championship since 2010, beating Wayne each time. They won 31-21 last year and 35-28 five years ago.
After the first Gest TD, St. Edward recovered a squib kick, and Gest broke free on the first play to ensure the win. He had 128 yards on 23 carries.
“I couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” Gest said. “It’s really emotional. Not many kids can say they’ve won back-to-back.”
St. Edward quarterback Jimmy Keefe passed for 419 yards to tie the Division I title game record.
“I’m not known as a passing coach,” first-year St. Edward coach Tom Lombardo said. “I’ve got to start rethinking that.”
Lombardo is the first coach to win titles at two schools, following a championship at Mentor Lake Catholic in 2001.
Wayne trailed 31-14 with 10:43 to play but scored three touchdowns in a 3:28 span, capped by a 1-yard run by Matt Wilcox to go ahead 35-31 with 3:47 left.
A 70-yard TD pass from Messiah DeWeaver to L’Christian Smith started the rally that brought Wayne within 10 points, 31-21.
DeWeaver, a Michigan State commit, had 168 yards through the air and Daryl McCleskey had 156 rushing yards and a touchdown.