As I prepare to do the in-studio analysis for SportTime Ohio's coverage of the six state championship games Friday and Saturday, here a few thoughts about those games and the previous weeks of playoffs.
*Massillon and Canton McKinley played some terrific football before exiting. I beg fans of both to show your appreciation to coaches Jason Hall and Ron Johnson. Trust me, both men did great jobs of preparing their teams and giving them chances to win. That is all you can ask of them.
*Hats off to Woodridge and the Beacon's Player of the Year, Anthony Kelly. That young man overcame a lot of problems and his maturity in the classroom and on the field was so impressive. He's a great example of what dedication can do.
*If you are going to the games, the parking near Fawcett Stadium in Canton is plentiful. Get there about one hour early and know there is lots of homes in the neigborhood that will let you park your car for a fee. There are big lots at Paul Brown Stadium in Massillon, with some homes also available for parking for $.
*This has been the most wide open and unpredictable tournament I have seen in my years on the high school beat. Hopefully, the six championship games reflect the competitive and wild nature of the five weeks of playoff action.
*Here are the key players to watch in the six championship games. If they have big numbers, their teams win.
In the Division III game 11 a.m. Friday, watch running back Braylon Heard of Cardinal Mooney and Columbus DeSales quarterback Nick Gentile.
In the 3 p.m. Friday Division V game, it's Ursuline running back Allen Jones and Coldwater quarterback Keith Wenning.
In the 7 p.m. Division II game, it's a pair for both - quarterback Shaq Washington and running back Devonte Ransom for Maple Heights and for Cincinnati Winton Woods its QB Dominique Brown (7 TDs in semifinal) and running back Jeremiah Goins.
On Saturday, the 11 a.m. Division IV game features Chagrin Falls quarterback Chris Trinetti, running back Chris Gorman and Bobby Winkelman, while Kettering Alter needs big games from Zane Pitzer and running back Cody Taulbee.
The 3 p.m. Division VI is about Delphos St. John quarterback Wes Ulm and Jordan Leininger and Norwalk St. Paul QB Eric Schweiterman, and wideout/running backs Dan Tracht and Brian Griffin.
The Division I game at 7 p.m. is Glenville quarterback Cardale Jones, running backs Shane Wynn and Robert Walton, wide receivers Latwan Anderson and Shane Bell II, Hilliard Davidson's running attack, led by quarterback Jake Trubiano, running backs Andy Conkle, and Spencer Delande.