RAVENNA: St. Vincent-St. Mary is one step closer to a second consecutive Division III state championship after knocking off Poland Seminary 35-7 at Ravenna High School on Friday night in a Division III regional semifinal.
The Fighting Irish, who have averaged 43 points per game this season, needed only four plays from scrimmage to find the end zone.
Fighting Irish coach Dan Boarman Sr. knew all eyes would be on senior running back and Ohio State University recruit Parris Campbell Jr. The Irish ran a double-reverse on second-and-13, with Campbell taking the first handoff before pitching it to wide receiver Jarel Woolridge.
Most of the Bulldogs’ defense was still running in the direction of Campbell, leaving Woolridge more than enough space to break a 49-yard run for the game’s first touchdown.
The extra point went off the left crossbar and the Fighting Irish were ahead 6-0.
The Irish (12-0) struck again in the second quarter when quarterback Aaron Bushner dropped a 25-yard pass into the hands of sophomore wide receiver Tyrece Speaight for a touchdown. The Irish converted a 2-point attempt and took a 14-0 lead.
Campbell was used sparingly in the first half, getting only six touches with five carries for 35 yards.
“They did a nice job trying to take away Parris,” Boarman said. “They had a kid spying him all night and they had 10 in the box.”
The Bulldogs (10-2) made things interesting when junior Austin Wilson took the second half’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 14-7.
Being ahead only one score in the second half is not something the Fighting Irish are necessarily accustomed to, but they responded well.
Campbell was immediately given four carries on the first drive following the touchdown, nearly matching his first-half touches on one drive.
The Irish ended up having to punt, but quickly got the ball back when Speaight intercepted Dom Petrony’s pass.
The Irish started from the Bulldogs’ 24-yard line and needed just five plays to score on a 4-yard touchdown run by Aaron Adkins.
“We didn’t have a rhythm in the first half, if you know what I mean,” Boarman said. “We got into a better rhythm in the second half.”
The Irish capitalized on another Bulldogs turnover early in the fourth quarter when Vince Lockett broke a 28-yard touchdown run following a fumble recovery.
Campbell finally found the end zone late in the fourth on a 17-yard run that put the Irish ahead 35-7.
Campbell finished with 129 yards on 18 carries.
The Bulldogs were held to just seven yards passing on one completion and gained only 123 yards of total offense. St. V-M had 328 yards of total offense.
St. Vincent-St. Mary, which has not lost since Oct. 19, 2012, to Massillon, will face Hubbard, a 49-19 winner over Aurora, on Friday in a Division III regional final.
St. V-M defeated Hubbard 54-14 last season.