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Thursday, November 16th, 2017

MAC vs. MAC in regional finals

Cavaliers, Flyers put state championship streaks on the line

By Gary R. Rasberry

For seven years, Marion Local and Coldwater have each played in a state football championship game in the same season. In three of those years, both teams have come home with a state title.

This Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium, one team's streak of state title game appearances will end as the Flyers and Cavaliers face off for the Division VI Region 24 final.

The last time Marion Local (12-0) failed to make it to a state final was in 2009 when Delphos St. John's beat the Flyers in the Division VI state semifinal. One year before in 2008, Coldwater's season had ended in the regional final against Alter.

It's the first postseason meeting between the teams, who last played each other twice in one season in 1981. The Flyers, who made their first-ever state playoff appearance that season, won the first meeting 14-0 in Week Four before playing to a scoreless draw in Week Eight

The teams met at Cavalier Stadium in the MAC opener this season in Week Three with the Flyers holding on for a 13-7 win in front of a jam-packed crowd.

"It's been a full season, really, since we played Coldwater," Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said. "A lot has changed for both teams. You can pick up a few things (from the video of the previous meeting, but you really have to focus on the more recent (performances)."

Photo by Mark Pummell/The Daily Standard

Coldwater's Jacob Wenning, 15, tries to get past Marion Local's Nolan Habodasz, 13, during a regular season meeting at Cavalier Stadium in Coldwater. The Cavaliers and Flyers face off in Friday's regional final at Sidney.

"We probably put more focus (on watching the video of the first game) than any other," Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. "Year after year, you watch what they do when you play them. It's our formations that we typically run. We put a lot of stock into that game, Then you watch teams that do similar things. You pick and choose."

Goodwin knows the Cavaliers' spread offense well from his years of facing John Reed and later Otten.

"They have complements to nearly everything they do on offense," Goodwin said. "They're always setting up the next thing with the first thing. They have answers to challenges they're presented. You have to play disciplined defense."

Photo by Mark Pummell/The Daily Standard

The battle of lines will be a key matchup when Marion Local and Coldwater square off on Friday.

"When you have good players, you don't have to do a lot of different things. They have some weapons. They bring guys who can run the ball. They can go power mode, spread mode. They do what they do. (Marion has) a big strong physical team with skill guys who can make the plays down the field," Otten said.

The only difference between the offenses is how they normally score. While the Flyers can methodically run long series resulting in scores, Coldwater has the ability to score on one or two plays.

"Over the years, Coldwater has been a big play type of team," Goodwin said. "They thrive on big plays, a big pass play, a screen play that results in a big play or a trick play. The key is to limit those explosive plays as much as possible."

"Typically, we've been a big play team, maybe not as much this year," Otten said. "That goes into who wins or loses if you can prevent those big plays for us and stop those long drives of Marion."

Both coaches noted that while both teams can put up the points, the last few meetings have been close, low-scoring battles. Coldwater won the 2014 and 2015 meetings by matching 17-14 margins. Both coaches know if their teams get the ball inside the 20-yard line, the red zone, a touchdown or even a field goal is needed at the end of the drive.

"Both teams play good defense and have diverse offenses," Goodwin said. "The team that can capiltalize in red zone is going to be the team that wins.The trips are not going to be plentiful for both teams. We know that. When you get down there, you have to capitalize.

"In the first game, we missed a field goal and so did (Marion)," Otten said. "When you get close (to the end zone) and want to win, you have to get those (field goal attempts) in. They've seen us long enough and we think we know them pretty well. It comes down to execution and players making big plays."

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Wildcats seeking third state trip in four years

By Colin Foster

Four straight appearances in the regional title game.

It's a feat most high school football programs dream of. It's a reality for Minster.

Fellow Midwest Athletic Conference member Delphos St. John's is the last hurdle standing between Minster and a third trip to state in four years.

The Wildcats and Blue Jays meet at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Wapakoneta's Harmon Field for a berth in the Division VII state final four. Minster defeated St. John's 41-14 on its home field in a Week 3 meeting.

"That score wasn't indicative of what type of football game it was," Minster coach Geron Stokes said. "It was 14-0 at half. Both teams were kind of going back and forth for a while. They just turned the ball over late and it got away from them. They are much improved since then. They're big. They're physical. They force you to play really good football. We've got our work cut out for us. We're excited. It's Week 13, man. This is what you want. You want to face good teams like this. You want that challenge."

The Blue Jays (8-4) ride a four-game winning streak into Friday's contest. They ended the regular season with wins over Parkway (40-22) and Coldwater (12-7) before defeating Riverside (48-21) and Lehman (14-7) in the playoffs.

Dual-threat quarterback Jared Wurst is the engine that makes the Blue Jay offense run. He has 175 carries for 785 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wurst has also completed 85-of-185 pass attempts for 1,377 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 inteceptions. Cole Reindel ranks second on the team with 511 rushing yards and six touchdowns and Troy Schwinnen has added 381 yards and seven scores. Connor Hulihan has a team-leading 22 receptions for 367 yards and four TDs.

Leading the Delphos defense are Isaac Musser, Troy Elwer and Schwinnen, all of whom have totaled more then 90 tackles on the year. Schwinnen and Collin Will have five interceptions apiece, as the Blue Jays have picked off opposing quarterbacks 17 times.

"They have come more quarterback-centric offensively," Stokes said. "They're a downhill run game, power, and the quarterback can throw a little bit, too. Defensively, they're a 4-3, two-high look. They play pretty good defense. They force you to make plays, and they're big and physical up front."

Minster (8-4) enters on a five-game winning streak, having beaten New Bremen (42-21), Versailles (26-21) and Anna (20-7) to end the regular season before knocking off Fort Loramie (40-24) and then Crestview (35-32) to launch the postseason.

Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster quarterback Jared Huelsman runs the ball during a game with Fort Loramie. The Wildcats play Delphos St. John's on Friday in Wapakoneta.

The Wildcats scratched past the Knights in a dogfight last week. Knights quarterback Drew Kline rushed for 233 yards, passed for 159 and accounted for four touchdowns, but he was outdone by Minster quarterback Jared Huelsman. Huelsman ran for 148 yards, passed for 213 and accounted for five touchdowns, leading his team to a come-from-behind win.

"We don't like tackling really, really good players," Stokes said of the game with Crestview. "(Kline) was good. They forced us to play in space. They had some athletes that made us look silly at times in space. ... We got better from it, though. Our kids were resilient as can be. We were down two scores in the middle of the third quarter. No one wavered. No one flinched. We kept swinging."

Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Isaac Schmiesing ranks second for Minster with 662 rushing yards.

Huelsman has passed and rushed for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. The 2016 MAC Offensive Player of the Year has completed 116-of-215 pass attempts for 1,805 yards with 14 scores and eight picks. He also has 22 carries for 1,276 yards with 18 TDs. Isaac Schmiesing ranks second on the team in rushing with 128 carries for 662 yards with seven scores and has added 31 catches for 319 yards. Austin Brown is the team's go-to wideout with 29 catches for 575 yards and five TDs. Alex Lehmkuhl is Huelsman's secondary target with 23 receptions for 404 yards and four scores.

The Boehnlein boys, August and Anthony, lead the Minster defense with 109 and 88 tackles, respectively. August has 10 tackles for loss, which ranks second behind Huelsman's 12. Brown has a team-high six interceptions, Lehmkuhl and Huelsman have four apiece and Mike Ketner three.

The Wildcats have 30 takeaways and only 15 turnovers on the season. Minster has a 117-36 advantage in points off turnovers.

Minster won the Division VI state title in 2014, lost to Fort Recovery in the Division VII regional final the following season and then lost to Warren JFK in last year's D-VII state final.

And now the Wildcats return to a site where they've celebrated many playoff wins in recent years.

"We don't really talk a lot about that," Stokes said. "Anytime you do what we've done, it's a credit to having a good group of kids that are hungry, that work the right way and take coaching well. It's also a credit to having a really good coaching staff. ... But our focus right now is on Delphos."

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Regional Final Pairings

Division I Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 1: 1 Cle. St. Ignatius (11-1) vs. 3 Mentor (11-1) at Bedford Bearcat Stadium

Region 2: 1 Tol. Whitmer (12-0) vs. 2 Powell Olentangy Liberty (10-2) at Findlay Donnell Stadium

Region 3: 5 Pickerington North (10-2) vs. 3 Pickerington Central (11-1) at Cols. St. Francis DeSales Alumni Stadium

Region 4: 1 Cin. St. Xavier (11-1) vs. 2 Cin. Colerain (10-2) at Mason Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium

Division II Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 5: 1 Akr. Archbishop Hoban (11-1) vs. 2 Barberton (12-0) at Green Memorial Stadium

Region 6: 1 Avon (12-0) vs. 3 Olmsted Falls (11-1) at North Ridgeville Ranger Stadium

Region 7: 5 New Albany (8-4) vs. 2 Massillon Washington (9-3) at Mansfield Senior Arlin Field

Region 8: 1 Cin. La Salle (10-2) vs. 2 Cin. Winton Woods (11-1) at Cin. Withrow Angus King Stadium

Division III Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 9: 1 Canfield (12-0) vs. 6 Akr. St. Vincent-St. Mary (9-3) at Salem Reilly Stadium

Region 10: 1 Tol. Central Catholic (10-2) vs. 2 Bay Village Bay (12-0) at Sandusky Strobel Field, Cedar Point Stadium

Region 11: 5 Dresden Tri-Valley (11-1) vs. 3 Cols. Bishop Hartley (11-1) at Newark Paul "Hoss" Starr Stadium at White Field

Region 12: 1 Trotwood-Madison (12-0) vs. 7 Day. Chaminade Julienne (9-3) at Riverside Stebbins Edmundson Stadium

Division IV Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 13: 1 Steubenville (12-0) vs. 2 Perry (12-0) at Niles McKinley Bo Rein Stadium

Region 14: 5 Bellevue (9-3) vs. 2 Shelby (12-0) at Ashland Community Stadium

Region 15: 5 New Concord John Glenn (10-2) vs. 7 Duncan Falls Philo (9-3) at Zanesville Sulsberger Stadium

Region 16: 4 Clarksville Clinton-Massie (11-1) vs. 2 Cin. Wyoming (12-0) at Lakota West Firebird Field

Division V Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 17: 1 Canfield South Range (12-0) vs. 3 Sullivan Black River (11-1) at Canal Fulton Northwest Dr. Martin Smilek Stadium/Jim Schalmo Field

Region 18: 1 Pemberville Eastwood (12-0) vs. 2 Marion Pleasant (10-1) at Lima Senior Spartan Stadium

Region 19: 1 Wheelersburg (12-0) vs. 3 Johnstown-Monroe (10-2) at Chillicothe Herrnstein Stadium

Region 20: 5 West Jefferson (11-0) vs. 2 Middletown Madison (10-2) at Beavercreek Frank Zink Field at Miami Valley Hospital Stadium

Division VI Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Region 21: 1 Rootstown (12-0) vs. 3 Kirtland (12-0) at Solon Stewart Field

Region 22: 1 Findlay Liberty-Benton (11-1) vs. 6 Jeromesville Hillsdale (9-3) at Tiffin Frost-Kalnow Stadium

Region 23: 1 Nelsonville-York (12-0) vs. 3 Coal Grove Dawson-Bryant (11-1) at Jackson Holzer Field at Alumni Stadium

Region 24: 4 Coldwater (9-3) vs. 2 Maria Stein Marion Local (12-0) at Sidney Memorial Stadium

Division VII Regional Finals

Games at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Pairings are shown with seeds and records.

Home teams listed first.

Region 25: 1 Dalton (12-0) vs. 2 Cuyahoga Heights (10-1) at North Canton Hoover Memorial Stadium

Region 26: 1 Norwalk St. Paul (12-0) vs. 3 Pandora-Gilboa (10-2) at Clyde Robert J. Bishop Jr. Stadium

Region 27: 1 Danville (11-1) vs. 6 Hannibal River (8-4) at Zanesville Maysville Athletic Complex

Region 28: 4 Minster (8-4) vs. 3 Delphos St. John's (8-4) at Wapakoneta Harmon Field

NOTE: State semifinal home teams and sites to be announced Saturday, No. 18.