Mogadore coach Matt Adorni said the adrenaline gets going before every football game.
Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell and his Knights experience the same thing, and so do Canton Central Catholic coach Jeff Lindesmith and his Crusaders.
“This never gets old,” Adorni said Tuesday as his Wildcats (12-1) continue to prepare for their Division VII state semifinal game with the Danville Blue Devils (13-0).
“It’s a heck of a grind to get this far. You have to have some luck along the way and stay injury free. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that. We lost [senior running back-linebacker] Nate Alexander [with a knee injury].
“Every year is a journey. It is exciting to be with a new group of kids in the playoffs.”
Mogadore, Hoban, CCC, Stow, Hudson and Perry are two wins from winning a state title.
Mogadore is 47-5 the past four years after being a Division VI state semifinalist in 2012, a Division VI regional finalist in 2013 and a Division VI regional semifinalist in 2014.
Might 2015 be the year Mogadore wins its fourth state title?
Senior quarterback Zeddie Pollock and junior running back-linebacker Austin Williams certainly hope so. Nate Confere, Collin Kelly, Luke Cramer, Andrew Barker and Jeremiah Sanders continue to make an impact as seniors.
Adorni said Danville features quarterback Ridge Durbin.
“He’s a big Tim Tebow like quarterback at 6-foot-2 and 235-pounds,” Adorni said. “They spread out and will go five wide [receivers]. They average 57 points per game.”
Hoban vs. Zanesville
The Hoban (12-1) and Zanesville (12-1) Division III state semifinal game should be an interesting matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Massillon.
“This is an amazing season,” said Hoban senior two-way starter Anthony Christian.
Seniors Jonah Morris and Tyler Gilchrist and juniors Todd Sibley and junior Danny Clark lead Hoban, which beat rival St. Vincent-St. Mary 24-21 last week.
“That game was the first time in about four weeks that we saw the Hoban defense,” Tyrrell said. “They really stepped up to the occasion. That was what we were used to seeing the first seven games; turnovers and wreaking havoc. St. Vincent-St. Mary is good and they exposed some matchup issues with [6-5, 240 senior wide receiver Niko Lalos].”
Zanesville is coached by Chad Grandstaff, and his nephew, senior Derek Grandstaff, is the quarterback. Senior Leondre Crosby is Zanesville’s top running back and linebacker at 6-foot, 220-pounds. He was a Division I state qualifier last year at 220-pounds in wrestling and also qualified for the state track and field meet in the 400-meter relay.
Crosby rushed 33 times for a school record 294 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week when Zanesville beat Jackson 38-21 in Athens.
Senior running back Deaunte Goins is another top player for Zanesville along with senior offensive linemen Tavian Butts (6-5, 270) and Coulter Wilson (6-6, 315), senior wide receivers Alessio Amato and Ben Kaufman and senior defensive lineman Javier Madinger-Rush and junior defensive lineman R.J. Harris.
“We just have to keep running to the ball, play disciplined and play hard,” Hoban senior linebacker-punter Dane Kersh said. “That was the difference [Friday against St. V-M].”
Clark said the “win or go home” mentality is present each week.
“Scoring on the first drive is always real big for us,” Clark said. “We want to get that first touchdown in the end zone because that will make a difference and change morale.”
CCC vs. Edison
CCC (10-3) and Milan Edison (12-1) will meet in a Division V state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tuslaw. The Crusaders are aiming to return to Columbus after being the Division V state runner-up last year.
“This is a group that has improved each week,” Lindesmith said. “We had some obstacles that we went through and lost some games [against Perry, Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and Lake], but we learned lessons from those games.
“We have a group that saw last year’s team reach the state championship game. Those were great memories and these kids want to make more memories.”
CCC’s best regular season wins were over New Philadelphia, St. Thomas Aquinas, Northwest and Loudonville. The playoff wins are over Gates Mills Hawken, Sandy Valley and Crestview.
Senior John Colangelo is an impact player on offense and defense. Other top CCC players are: seniors Justin Ditty, Dan Platek, Chris Harbison and Quinn Goehring, Luke Stuffel and Will Walencewicz and juniors Jack Murphy, Griffin Baumoel and Dan Mills.
Edison’s top playmakers are Sam Stoll, Keegan Hall and Dan Stoll.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.