CANTON - Ninth-ranked Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary used its athleticism and three highlight reel plays by junior Newman Williams to run away with a 42-21 win over seventh-ranked Bellevue in the 2012 OHSAA Division III football state championship game at Canton Fawcett Stadium in front of 9,109 fans Saturday afternoon.
With 1:05 remaining in the third quarterm and the Fighting Irish facing a 4th and seven, SVSM faked a punt and direct snapped to Williams, who fought through multiple defenders and scored on a 41-yard march to the end zone to give the Fighting Irish a 28-14 lead. On the ensuing Redmen possession, Williams recorded an interception and eventually scored on a five-yard touchdown charge into the end zone. His impressive three-play display took just under three and a half minutes and all but clinched the game for the Fighting Irish.
The title is the fifth overall for SVSM (13-2) but first since 1988 (2012, 1988, 1982, 1981, 1972). The Fighting Irish are now 5-1 all-time in state final games. Bellevue, which defeated top-ranked Napoleon and fourth-ranked Thurgood Marshall during its playoff run, was making its first state title game appearance and finished the season 13-2.
Both teams used a steady dosage of passing throughout the game, but it was SVSM's rushing game, which totaled 281 yards compared to Bellevue's 63, that gave the Fighting Irish their 435-247 edge in total yardage. SVSM junior Parris Campbell led the ground attack with 165 yards, including an impressive 47-yard dash down the sideline to give the Fighting Irish their first points of the contest. He would finish the game with three touchdowns. SVSM Williams' also finished with an impressive performance, tallying 51 rushing yards on his three carries (17 yard average).
Bellevue relied heavily on its senior quarterback Jalen Santoro, the Division III All-Ohio Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Santoro finished the game with 53 yards rushing, 184 yards passing on 25 attempts and three touchdown tosses. Part of the Redmen running game was suppressed by the Division III All-Ohio Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Dante Booker, who took the Redmen runners down for nine tackles.
Coldwater wins Division V title, 10-9 over Kirtland
MASSILLON - Austin Bruns and 22 other Coldwater High School seniors saved the best for last.
Bruns passed for 233 yards and one touchdown as the Cavaliers took the Division V state football championship away from Kirtland 10-9 Saturday in a rematch of the 2011 title game on the same field at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
"It's awesome to win our final game, something we will always remember," said Bruns, who also ran for 97 yards.
The Cavaliers (15-0), ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll, earned their third title, and first since 2007. They had lost in the title game each of the three previous years and the graduating class became the first in Ohio to play 60 games. They finally won it all in No. 60.
"These 23 seniors won 18 playoff games," coach Chip Otten said. "Almost every high school team in every sport loses its final game somewhere along the line. These guys got their biggest win in their last chance."
They did it with defense, holding Damon Washington, the AP's co-offensive player of the year in the division to 39 yards on 11 carries. Though Adam Hess ran for 86 yards for Kirtland (14-1), the Hornets totaled only 25 yards passing.
"It's so very frustrating," Hornets coach Tiger LaVerde said. "Our defense came to play, did an outstanding job. But our offense never got into rhythm. I called a bad game. It is on me. I take the blame."
Coldwater's senior-laden defense had more than little to do with it. The Cavaliers held 13 of 15 opponents to single-digit scoring this year, racking up six shutouts.
"Our defense was the anchor," said Bruns, who passed 7 yards to Mitch Schoenherr for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The Hornets (14-1) tied it on a 4-yard pass from Scott Eilerman to Matthew Finkler -- one of only four passes Kirtland completed in a paltry 11 attempts.
Kyle Bergman's 28-yard field on the first half's final play put Coldwater up 10-7.
"That won the game for us," Bruns said. "Kyle put in a lot of work on his kicking, and it is great to see guys who put in the work get the reward."
Kirtland got within 10-9 when Sam Skiljan tackled Brody Hoying in the end zone for a safety in the fourth.
Hoying intercepted a pass with 1:05 left to preserve the win.
"Words can't describe the feeling," Cavaliers senior receiver Caleb Siefring said. "Each championship loss was like a dagger. Finally, we won."
Kirtland now knows the feeling of despair in coming so close without winning.
"We lost one game in two years," LaVerde said. "It stinks that it had to be today."