SALEM: Checkmate!

That is what the St. Vincent-St. Mary football team shouted as the time on the scoreboard showed zeros and the Irish escaped with a 13-10 win over previously unbeaten Canfield in the Division III, Region 9 regional final Friday night at Salem’s Reilly Stadium.

In a game that featured a seesaw battle of mistake after mistake, as well as missed opportunities on both sides, it eventually came down to the final seconds with each team playing with heart and grit.

The Cardinals (12-1) had the last chance to save their season with two seconds left but the Irish defense made the final play, not letting Canfield senior quarterback Vinny Fiorenza even get a Hail Mary pass off. His arm was hit at the last second and the ball fell to the ground securing St. V-M’s fourth regional championship in the past six years.

Special teams mishaps, penalties and turnovers were at a regular pace throughout the game.

With both teams playing superb defense and keeping each other away from the big plays on offense, it was inevitable that special teams would make an impact.

Impact is an understatement, as the outcome of the game revolved around kickoffs, punting and field goals, including extra points.

The first mistake on special teams went to the Irish on a punt when the long snapper sent back a wobbly snap that was also short and punter Garrett Bischof was eventually tackled at the St. V-M 28, setting up the Cardinals for the game’s first real chance at points.

Canfield took full advantage of the Irish blunder, scoring on the third play of the second quarter when senior wide receiver Paul French scored on a 1-yard jet sweep to give his team a 7-0 lead after an extra point from Sam Accordino.

St. V-M (10-3) managed just 92 yards of offense in the first half, 30 of which came from sophomore standout running back Terrance Keyes on his first carry of the game. The Cardinals did a solid job stopping Keyes from breaking big runs. He had 46 yards on the ground in the first half and finished with 69 yards on 19 carries.

The Irish made another mistake on special teams with Bischof getting off a punt of only 19 yards and giving Canfield another chance with 4:30 left in the first half. But the St. V-M defense held the Cardinals to just three points. Accordino booted a 31-yard field goal with 2:34 left in the second quarter to make it 10-0 at halftime.

The Irish wasted no time making a big play of their own on special teams in the second half. Russell Cooper changed the momentum of the game by outrunning Canfield’s coverage and taking the second-half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, it was 10-6. The big play was followed by a missed extra point, but St. V-M’s defense kept Canfield from scoring and gave its offense a chance.

The Irish held the Cardinals to under 100 yards of total offense and zero points in the second half.

It was the Irish who made the final big play of the night when sophomore quarterback Luke Lindsay found Jalen Ross in the front corner of the left side of the end zone to give the Irish their first lead of the night and sent them to a Division III state semifinal next Friday against Dresden Tri-Valley, a team St. V-M defeated 21-13 in the first week of the season. The site is still to be determined.

GREEN: The game plan for Archbishop Hoban did not appear to be complicated Friday night.

Hoban wanted to run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense in its Division II regional final matchup against undefeated Barberton.

The Knights did both, and left Green Memorial Stadium with a 42-13 victory over the Magics before a sellout crowd that exceeded 6,000.

“We knew if we were going to have a chance in the game that we would have to control both sides of the ball up front,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said.

“Our kids took a challenge and played very well.”

Junior Tyris Dickerson and sophomore Deamonte Trayanum combined to make quite the 1-2 punch at running back once again for Hoban (12-1), which will meet Avon — a 55-14 winner over Olmsted Falls — in a state semifinal next Friday at a site to be determined.

“We just work hard and we fight through adversity,” Trayanum said. “Tyris and I are a 1-2 punch behind our offensive linemen that keep the defense guessing.”

Hoban is seeking its third state title in a row after winning the past two Division III state titles. The Knights are 40-3 over the past three seasons.

Barberton’s dream season comes to an end with a 12-1 record under coach Tony Gotto.

Hoban’s offensive line of seniors R.J. Kelly and Cade Thomas and juniors Jacob Petit, Nolan Rumler and Jaden Baxter gave Barberton fits.

Trayanum ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, and Dickerson rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

“I am proud of all of our linemen,” Dickerson said. “They have helped me all season and make my job easy. I am very thankful and grateful for them.”

Trayanum was also active on defense along with Knights seniors Da’Viaun Pete, Reid Allen, Daeshon Martin and Garrett Houser and junior Matt Salopek.

“We knew we had to play with heart, and come out and play tough,” Pete said.

Barberton took a 6-0 lead with 6:32 to go in the first quarter when Thompson leaped into the end zone from a yard out to cap a 12-play, 59-yard drive. Senior quarterback Zane Ries rushed for 27 yards on the drive and completed two passes — one to Thompson and one to senior Garrett Turnbaugh — for 33 yards.

Hoban senior Donny Swain blocked Barberton’s extra point attempt.

The Knights took a 7-6 edge on the first play of the second quarter when Trayanum capped a six-play, 43-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and junior Jacob Branham made his first of six point-after kicks.

Trayanum gained 27 yards on three carries during the drive, and freshman Shane Hamm connected with Houser on a key 17-yard pass play.

The Knights’ defense forced a three-and-out and punt on the next drive, and then the offense took a 14-6 lead on the ensuing possession with 7:25 to go in the second quarter.

Dickerson and Trayanum combined to rush eight times for 67 yards, and Dickerson ended the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Hoban took a 21-6 halftime lead after Hamm tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Dickerson with at 1:14 left in the second quarter.

“They have speed all over the field and they are strong,” Gotto said of Hoban.

Hoban scored 21 points in the third quarter with Trayanum rushing for two touchdowns — a 1-yard score at 6:52 and a 29-yard sprint to the end zone at 3:24. In between, Salopek returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown at 5:17.

Barberton concluded the scoring when Ries threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to senior John Bloch and junior kicker Griffin Brown booted the point-after kick with 39 seconds to go.

“This was a special season,” Gotto said.

“I told the guys that they will wake up tomorrow morning and we are going to laugh and have a good time. They have made memories that will last them the rest of their lives.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or [email protected]. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.

SOLON: The shadows came to stay on the best season in 36 years for the Rootstown football program.

The Rovers, who had won 12 consecutive games and played their way into the hearts of Portage County football fans, ran into a brick wall disguised as Kirtland on Friday in a Division VI regional championship game on a chilly night in Stewart Stadium.

As a result of its 17-7 victory, Kirtland (13-0) will play in the state semifinals for the sixth time in the last seven years on Friday. The opponent and site will be determined in the next few days by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Kirtland’s defense, which had held opponents to 10.8 points a game, followed that pattern on Friday. It kept the Rovers off the scoreboard until junior quarterback Scott Steger threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Gavin Schlaubach with 6:22 to play.

The Rovers (12-1), making the school’s first playoff appearance since 2004, lost receiver Dillon Conner to a knee injury in the third quarter. Conner was taken off the field on a stretcher.

Three turnovers and one fizzled drive in the first half eventually told the story.

“It seemed like all the good things we had done throughout the season we didn’t do tonight and the things we hadn’t done to hurt ourselves all season we did tonight,” Rootstown coach Mark Geis said.

Understandably, he chose to concentrate on the positives that clearly outnumbered the negatives in the dream season.

“I certainly am not going to hang my head and I don’t think our kids should either,” he said. “They won more games than any team in school history, they won a Portage Trail championship and they advanced to the third round of the playoffs. There are just so many positives that came out of this season. There is no shame in losing to a team like Kirtland.”

Two turnovers and a stalled drive that had promise written all over it left the Rovers trailing 10-0 at halftime.

After Kirtland put together an efficient 14-play, 65-yard drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Dylan Aquila, the Hornets were the recipients of two Rootstown errors in the second quarter.

First, missed blocking assignments enabled the Hornets to swarm punter Logan Carpenter and block a kick that gave them the ball at the Rootstown 38. Five plays later they caught the Rovers napping as senior Mike Zeuli threw a 30-yard halfback option pass to a wide open Ryan Lipps for a 10-0 lead.

Two Kirtland penalties and two outstanding defensive plays by junior Seth Noel helped Rootstown pin the Hornets back at their 15-yard line, where they needed 36 yards to get a first down and were forced to punt.

The punt was fumbled, Kirtland recovered and its offense was back in business at midfield. Again the Rovers defense held and they got the ball back at their 12.

Steger completed two passes for 30 yards to reliable Nathan Moore and another to Caleb Kaut for 20 yards, powering a drive that reached the Kirtland 17-yard line. Despite drawing Kirtland offsides on first down the drive stalled on three incomplete passes.

Kirtland lived up to its reputation with 108 yards on the ground in the first half as Jake Neibecker and Joey Torok combined for 90 yards on 19 carries.

The Rovers relied on the arm of Steger for most of their offense. The junior, frequently under a heavy rush, completed 18-of-33 passes — and had several catchable throws dropped — for 237 yards. He was sacked five times.

Kirtland did a marvelous job containing Kaut, who entered the game having rushed for 2,085 yards but was held to 20 yards.

Moore, who was all over the field defensively from his linebacking position, caught seven passes for 77 yards. Kaut caught four passes for 55 yards and Giovanni Sibbio had three for 25.

Kirtland, which averaged 369 yards rushing through its first 12 games, had 235 on 50 carries with Neibecker leading the way with 71 yards on 22 attempts.

Massillon used a stellar defensive effort and solid offense to defeat New Albany 24-6 in a Division II, Region 7 final in Mansfield and advance to the state semifinals.

The Tigers (10-3) will play Cincinnati Winton Woods next Friday at a site to be determined.

The Tigers scored first on a 25-yard field goal by senior kicker Klay Moll in the first quarter and added a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Jamir Thomas in the second quarter to lead 10-0 at halftime.

Massillon increased its lead to 24-0 on an 11-yard run by senior quarter­back Aidan Long­well and a 22-yard pass from Longwell to senior wide receiver Austin Kutscher in the third quarter.

Massillon had outgained New Albany (8-5) 421 yards to 73 through three quarters and cruised from there.

The Eagles scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter but failed to make a 2-point conversion and the Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kick.

Massillon’s defense continued to play well and the Tigers closed out the game to win their first regional title since 2009.

Green High School will host a Division II, Region 5 final on Friday night that could also be dubbed the “2017 Summit County Championship Football Game.”

The number of talented players on the rosters of Barberton (12-0) and Archbishop Hoban (11-1) is staggering, and their results on the field have reflected that.

Undefeated Barberton is in the midst of a dream season under coach Tony Gotto, and Hoban is riding an 11-game winning streak and trying to win its third consecutive state championship. The Knights won Division III titles in 2015 and 2016.

“This is two good teams that have the same goals and are trying to play down in Canton [in a state final],” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said. “Both teams are well coached and have good players. It is just one of those matchups that you wish both teams could be playing [in the state title game] in Canton. … It is just a shame that we have to play it two weeks early.”

Hoban and Barberton both rolled to victory in their respective regional semifinals last week.

Hoban junior Tyris Dickerson and sophomore Deamonte Trayanum combined for 303 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries in a 49-0 win over Brush.

“They are huge up front on offense and defense,” Gotto said of the Knights. “They have big, strong kids that move well. Offensively, they have big guys that can move the pile and they have two guys at tailback that can run the ball with good speed and good power. They also have a young quarterback [freshman Shane Hamm] who throws the ball really well.

“Our boys are very confident. They have thought about this game for a while. Before the preseason, this was a game we talked about when we found out the pairings of the regions. We felt like we were good enough to possibly be this deep in the region, and we thought we could play Hoban because we knew they are a good program.”

Barberton beat Bedford 35-0 in Week 12 with seniors Jeff Parker and Keye Thompson combining to rush for 345 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries.

Thompson, an Ohio University recruit, regularly lines up as a running back, linebacker, punter, punt returner and kick returner. He has also thrown three touchdown passes.

Calling Barberton “as talented of a team as anyone we have seen the last three years,” Tyrrell said Friday’s matchup has the “feel of a state championship game.”

Barberton and Hoban have two common opponents: St. Vincent-St. Mary and Cleveland Benedictine. The Magics beat St. V-M 35-14 and Benedictine 36-6, and the Knights topped the Irish 21-7 and the Bengals 35-17.

“Both teams are well coached and have experience,” St. V-M coach Marcus Wattley said. “Hoban has been in the state championship the last two years and Barberton got a taste of the playoffs last year. Both teams have great players.

“It is really a contrast of styles where Hoban will try to run your face off and I think Barberton has a multi-dimensional offense where they can hurt you running and passing. The Barberton quarterback [senior Zane Ries] is the best quarterback we saw all year, and Hoban’s line is huge.”

Hoban has five players who have pledged to a Division I college — senior offense lineman R.J. Kelly (Akron), junior offensive lineman Nolan Rumler (Michigan), senior defensive end Daeshon Martin (Cincinnati) and senior wide receivers-defensive backs Garrett Houser (Navy) and Nate Bauer (Toledo).

Kelly said he and his teammates “have great chemistry together.”

“We are playing great football,” Houser said. “Our defense has had [five] shutouts and we are making big plays on both sides of the ball.”

Hoban juniors Joe Michalowicz and Matt Salopek and seniors Donny Swain and Daulson Fitzpatrick are also impact defenders. Martin said the mindset is “all 11 men to the ball.”

“We have to have the mentality that we have had in past weeks,” Dickerson said. “We have to be able to play four quarters and stay positive.”

Barberton is also feeling good, with senior offensive linemen John Bloch, Adam Wood and C.J. Wiley leading the charge up front. The Magics’ other top offensive playmakers are seniors Garrett Turnbaugh, Macolm Boyd and Christian McCarroll.

“We have all grown up playing together and that has created this big bond,” Turnbaugh said. “We are still playing in the playoffs because everybody is making big plays.”

Magics senior Dee Smith said the “defense sets the tempo and the offense scores points.”

Thompson, Turnbaugh, Parker, Boyd, McCarroll and Smith are leaders on the Barberton defense along with juniors Kionnie Dukes and Gavin Krska.

“We play as a team and we come out with energy each and every week,” Thompson said. “We play gap-oriented football, we do our job and we come out to play as a unit.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or [email protected]. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.

Barberton (12-0) vs. Archbishop Hoban (11-1)

What: Division II, Region 5 final

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Green Memorial Stadium

Coaches: Barberton is led by Tony Gotto, offensive coordinator Bobby Nickol, defensive coordinator Matt Ford and special teams coordinator Jim Yarnell. Hoban features coach and offensive coordinator Tim Tyrrell, defensive coordinator Renzy Parnell and special teams coordinator Renard Parnell.

Barberton’s run to 12-0: The Magics earned regular-season wins over Norton, Kenmore-Garfield, Cuyahoga Falls, Revere, Copley, Aurora, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Tallmadge, Kent Roosevelt and Highland. The playoff victories are over Cleveland Benedictine and Bedford.

Hoban’s run to 11-1: The Knights lost their season opener to Cleveland St. Ignatius, and then defeated Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Youngstown Ursuline, West Toronto Prep, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Mentor Lake Catholic, Parma Padua, Walsh Jesuit, Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin, Benedictine, Mayfield and Brush.

WHEN BARBERTON HAS THE BALL

Barberton — Linemen: seniors John Bloch, Adam Wood and C.J. Wiley and juniors Avery Speedy and Mike Carte. Quarterback: senior Zane Ries. Running backs: seniors Jeff Taylor and Keye Thompson. Fullback: senior Christian McCarroll. Wide receivers: seniors Garrett Turnbaugh and Keyandre Hood. Tight end: senior Macolm Boyd.

Hoban — Linemen: seniors Daeshon Martin and Daviaun Pete and juniors Joe Michalowicz and Jacob Petit. Linebackers: Seniors Reid Allen and Bryce Thompson and sophomore Deamonte Trayanum. Backs: seniors Nate Bauer, Kentrell Dragg, Donny Swain and Daulson Fitzpatrick and junior Matt Salopek.

WHEN HOBAN HAS THE BALL

Hoban — Linemen: seniors R.J. Kelly and Cade Thomas and juniors Jacob Petit, Nolan Rumler and Jaden Baxter. Quarterback: freshman Shane Hamm. Running backs: junior Tyris Dickerson and sophomore Deamonte Trayanum. Fullbacks: juniors Quanterius Easterling and Matt Blanchard. Wide receivers: seniors Garrett Houser, Jake Saus, Kenny Cross and Jalen Knight and junior Mason Tipton.

Barberton — Linemen: seniors Christian McCarroll, Macolm Boyd, Anthony Long, Andrew Wasch and junior Kionnie Dukes. Linebackers: seniors Keye Thompson, Mason Haywood and junior Gavin Krska. Backs: seniors Garrett Turnbaugh, Jeff Parker and Dee Smith and junior Spencer Hutchison.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Barberton — Kicker: junior Griffin Brown. Punter and punt returner: senior Keye Thompson. Long snapper: senior Adam Wood. Holder: junior Spencer Hutchison. Kickoff returners: seniors Keye Thompson and Jeff Parker.

Hoban — Kicker and punter: junior Jacob Branham. Long snapper: senior Ryan Huber. Holder: senior Jake Saus. Kickoff and punt returners: seniors Garrett Houser and Nate Bauer.

— Compiled by Michael Beaven

St. V-M (9-3) vs. Canfield (12-0)

What: Division III, Region 9 final

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Salem Reilly Stadium

About St. V-M: The Irish are in the playoffs for the 22nd season since the postseason started in 1972, and have won six state titles and finished as runner-up once. St. V-M opened this year’s playoffs with wins over host Woodridge 27-17 in Week 11 and over Tallmadge 28-7 in Week 12 at Revere. Scott Walter is St. V-M’s top senior and plays as a wide receiver, free safety and punt returner. Senior lineman Adam Neill, senior wide receiver Zach Olson, sophomore wide receiver Jalen Ross, sophomore running back Terrance Keyes Jr. and sophomore quarterback Luke Lindsay are vital to the Irish offense. Seniors Leonard Younger, Eric Taggart, juniors Jack Knox, Anthony Ward and Dalen Peeks and freshman Jumacius Portis are other top defensive players.

About Canfield: The Cardinals are in the playoffs for the 10th season since 1996 and were a Division II state runner-up in 2005. St. V-M topped visiting Canfield 49-28 the opening round of the Division III playoffs in 2015. Canfield, which is coached by Mike Pavlansky, has playoff wins over Aurora (23-0) and Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (22-7) this year. “They are a great running team,” St. V-M coach Marcus Wattley said. “Their quarterback [senior Vincent Fiorenza] looks like a great athlete. They come at you from different directions. We have to be smart and we have to be sound so that we don’t put ourselves in a bad situation. They look explosive on offense and they have scored a lot of points all season, so we have to bring our A-game there. Defensively, they run to the ball. It looks like they have a lot of quick athletes up front. We have to take care of the ball and when we get a chance to make big plays we have to make them.” Junior Jarod Tincher is the Cardinals’ top offensive lineman, and seniors Paul French and Paul Breinz line up at wide receiver, running back and defensive back. Angelo Petracci, Tyler Stein, Dominick Gelonese, Matt Zaremski, Tayler Dobrindt, David Crawford and P.J. Hallof are also impact players on defense.

— Compiled by Michael Beaven

Massillon-New Albany scouting box

What: Division II, Region 7 final

Teams: Massillon (9-3) vs. New Albany (8-4)

When and where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Senior Arlin Field

About Massillon: The Tigers defeated visiting Boardman 28-23 in Week 11 and Ashland 28-7 in Week 12 at Wooster. Junior Jamir Thomas, who is 6-1 and 210 pounds, is a dynamic running back and linebacker for Massillon. Aidan Longwell is the Tigers quarterback and Austin Kutscher and Tre’von Morgan are his primary wide receivers. Massillon’s defense features Ty Keirns, Kameron Simpson, Max Turner, Dean Clark, Anthony Ballard, Preston Hodges and Ethan Tobin.

About New Albany: The Eagles beat Whitehall-Yearling 42-35 and Walnut Ridge 30-6 the past two weeks. “New Albany is a very good team,” Massillon coach Nate Moore said. “They run the ball very well. They are disciplined and well coached [by Pat Samanich]. They run an Odd Stack on defense and the Wing-T on offense.” New Albany features running backs Alex Cox and Michiah Burton and quarterback Jalin Jackson. The Eagles linemen up front — Logan Cook, Jack Wilson, Mason Mathias, Mike Wollam and Nathan Sandholdt and Cole Guy — weigh in between 180 and 255 pounds. Burton and Cook are defensive leaders along with Ty Ward, Jametrius Yarbrough and Will King.

Michael Beaven

St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Marcus Wattley believes his football team is peaking at just the right time.

“Going into Week 9 against Massillon, we were telling ourselves we were in playoff mode because we knew we had to win our last two [regular season] games to get in,” Wattley said. “I think we focused up a little bit more. The playoff desperation kicked in probably a couple weeks earlier than most teams, and the kids have responded.”

St. V-M (9-3) is preparing this week to play Canfield (12-0) in the Division III, Region 9 final at Salem Reilly Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

St. V-M topped host Massillon 13-10 in Week 9 and then beat visiting Youngstown Ursuline 35-9 in Week 10. The Irish then posted two playoff victories, defeating host Woodridge 27-17 and Tallmadge 28-7 at Revere last week, to extend their season.

“I think a big thing is the young guys are making plays,” Wattley said. “[Sophomores] Terrance Keyes Jr., Luke Lindsay and Jalen Ross have become a factor on offense, and our defense has really matured, not only the last couple of weeks, but the whole season. Everything is starting to come together, and a lot of that comes from the games we played against Barberton, [Archbishop] Hoban and [Cincinnati] La Salle. Those tough teams show you you need to improve yourself, and they get us ready [for the playoffs].”

St. V-M’s losses were to Barberton (12-0), Hoban (11-1) and La Salle (10-2). All three are set to play in a regional final on Friday night, including Barberton vs. Hoban at Green.

St. V-M defeated three playoff teams in the regular season: Dresden Tri-Valley (11-1), Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (7-5) and Massillon (9-3).

“The team has improved a lot over the past few weeks,” Irish senior right guard Cameron Ervin said. “Our offensive line has dominated the line of scrimmage, which has had a huge impact. The strengths of our team are the standout performances by our defense and the fact that our offense can hurt teams throwing and running the ball.”

Keyes is St. V-M’s top rusher and Lindsay is the starting quarterback. Ross is a key wide receiver along with seniors Scott Walter and Zach Olson and junior Garrett Bischof, who is also the punter.

“We are playing better as a team,” said Walter, a wide receiver, safety and return man.

“Our offense has really been clicking because the offensive line is really opening up holes for Keyes and allowing Luke to buy time in the pocket to get the ball to us receivers. Our defense has come together as a unit and increased our intensity allowing us to get these wins.

“I think the biggest strength of this team is that we trust one another. We don’t have that big DI [college] player that most schools have so we have to rely on everyone.”

The St. V-M offensive line features seniors Ervin and Adam Neill, juniors Damien Palmer and Josh Stecz and sophomore Savion Washington. Senior Tyler Lattea is the fullback.

Junior Nolan Michaels and freshman Luke Dobson split the kicking duties for the Irish.

“We just had to realize that we are all we got, and we had so many people against us and doubting us saying we can’t touch the playoffs because we were too young and this and that,” Keyes said. “We have improved these past few weeks because we watched a lot of film and we worked our tails off in practice every day.

“Our coaches are the best. They treat us like we are their own kids.”

St. V-M’s defense is led by senior safeties Walter and Leonard Younger.

The Irish defensive linemen are junior Anthony Ward, senior Eric Taggart and sophomores David Hooks and sophomore Jaylon Burton. Freshman Jumacius Portis, junior Jack Knox and senior Darius Irons make an impact as linebackers; and juniors Dalen Peeks, Josh Jones and Russell Cooper Jr. are the cornerbacks.

“We are a family,” Walter said. “I am always laughing and having a great time with my guys. We get along on and off the field. This has been one of the most memorable seasons of football, and hopefully we can end with a state championship.”

Walter ended his junior season of basketball with a Division II state title in Columbus.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or [email protected]. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.

COLUMBUS: Beavercreek went 41 state finals in boys soccer without winning a Division I title.

The Beavers didn’t mind playing an extra 16:09.

The dagger for Medina came with 13:51 remaining in double overtime as Beavercreek clipped the Bees 1-0 Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium for its first crown.

“Physically, they were stronger than us,” Medina coach Simon Spelling said. “Speed-wise, they were faster than us. Technically, they were more solid than us, so we did well. I have two freshmen out there and three sophomores.”

It was seniors Dominic Calabrese and Ryan Bernt who did in the Bees (16-2-5), as Calabrese slotted a ball to Bernt that Andrew Horton couldn’t reach. Bernt’s shot then slid past Tyler Glasenapp into the right corner.

“They’re very good,” Medina defender Brandon Leckie said of the Beavers. “They’re a very deep team. They’re all juniors and seniors. Our freshmen and sophomores are playing at a high quality, but you can tell that they’re all older. They’re just a good team.”

While Medina held a 6-4 advantage in regulation, Beavercreek (22-0-2) controlled most of the action, testing Glasenapp in the net with better chances on frame.

That said, holding midfielders Riley Furey and Steve Samuelson and a backline of Tommy Guta, Leckie, Mike Kelly and Horton held firm.

Calabrese, who is Beavercreek’s leading scorer, peppered the Bees with one big run after another, but the Beavers held firm and didn’t let things get too big.

Medina’s best chance came on a run when Andy Prostor pushed into the box with 17:38 remaining, but Beavers defender Daniel Donohue held strong and the shot went wide to the left of the goal.

Beavercreek had the better of it the first overtime as well with a throw-in put in the mix that hit off a wall of defenders with 4:13 left.

Horton’s yellow card on Bernt four minutes in was actually a heady play as the senior midfielder may have had a clear path to the goal with only Glasenapp to beat.

“We wanted the win, but couldn’t get it,” Medina midfielder Parker Csiszar said. “It was great work by [Bernt]. This is going to ignite it. We’re going to be here next year and we’ll be in that spot.”

Therein might be the biggest factor for the Bees in their quest to reach a third consecutive state semifinal and second consecutive final with the goal of winning a title.

It took Beavercreek three tries to win a crown. Medina comes back in a season with a loaded lineup.

While Prostor, Furey, Leckie, Horton, Glasenapp and Alex Stan exit as senior starters. Kelly, Gavin Csiszar, Parker Csiszar, Guta, Samuelson, Gummo and Grayson Madden will return with a ton of experience and a drive to do it all again.

“I’d be surprised [if this doesn’t fuel the fire],” Spelling said. “It does for me already. I’m thinking about next year and it’s been, ‘What? Ten minutes. I’m thinking about next year already.

“We want to enjoy this. This is a great achievement for the boys, for the program and for the community. We’ll enjoy, but we’re not leaving with what we wanted. We’ll see what we can do next year.”

“We wanted the win, but couldn’t get it. It was great work by [Beavercreek’s Ryan Bernt]. This is going to ignite it. We’re going to be here next year and we’ll be in that spot.”

Parker Csiszar

Medina midfielder

Football

South Range 34, Manchester 14

Ethan Wright rushed for 108 yards and A.J. Johnson returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the No. 4 seeded Panthers (9-3) in a Division V playoff loss to the No. 1 seeded Raiders (12-0).

Wright also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from JoJo France for the Panthers.

South Range will play Black River in a regional final next Friday at a site to be determined.

Avon 28, Highland 10

Nick Parusek rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace the top-seeded Eagles (12-0) in a Division II, Region 6 semifinal at Strongsville High School.

Ryan Maloy was 19-of-25 for 176 yards and rushed for 25 yards and a score in the win.

Jake Rogers carried the ball 23 times for 83 yards and a touchdown for the fourth-seeded Hornets (9-3), but had minus-10 yards in the second quarter.

Avon will play third-seeded Olmsted Falls (11-1) next Friday at a site to be determined.

BATH TOWNSHIP: When St. Vincent St. Mary running back Terrance Keyes plunged into the end zone from six yards out with 6:40 left in Friday night’s Division III regional semifinal against Tallmadge, it served as the proverbial knockout blow. It was the 28th unanswered point scored by the Fighting Irish in their 28-7 victory at Revere High School.

“At this point in the season you’re just trying to grind out wins,” Fighting Irish coach Marcus Wattley said. “Tallmadge came out with a great game plan and forced us to make some adjustments defensively, but our offense got clicking early and they stayed clicking for the rest of the game.”

Keyes served as a catalyst for the Fighting Irish offense for most of the night, finishing with 144 yards rushing to go along with two touchdowns. His first score came on a 40-yard run in the second quarter when he evaded a Tallmadge defender near the line of scrimmage before breaking away.

St. Vincent-St. Mary will play top-seeded Canfield (12-0) in a regional final next Friday at a site to be determined.

Things looked bleak at the start for St. Vincent St. Mary, as Tallmadge quarterback Sam Seeker was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled into the end zone from 16 yards out to give the Blue Devils an early 7-0 lead and swinging the momentum their way.

But momentum wasn’t with them for long. The Fighting Irish found the end zone on their next possession when quarterback Luke Lindsay scored on a quarterback sneak with 2:33 left in the first quarter.

“In the playoffs, you start to play unfamiliar opponents, and you’ve got to make adjustments and see what you see on film,” Wattley said of the slow start. “They came out and hit us in the face … and we bounced back and got up and got after it in the second half and played great defense in the second half.”

Keyes gave St. Vincent St. Mary (9-3) the lead in the second quarter when he broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:46 left before halftime. Keyes looked to be stopped after about a 10-yard gain, but he broke away from two Tallmadge defenders before blowing through the Blue Devils secondary.

Tallmadge (8-4) had a chance to score before the half when the Blue Devils drove the ball to the Fighting Irish 17-yard line with three seconds left in the second quarter, but kicker Nick Hussing missed a 35-yard field goal. Garrett Ansley also missed a field goal for the Blue Devils.

The Fighting Irish scored their first touchdown of the second half when Lindsay found receiver Jalen Ross from 5-yards out for a touchdown on a fourth-down play that made it 21-7. Lindsay finished with 106 yards passing and the one touchdown through the air. He also added 38 yards and a touchdown rushing.

Ty Shannon led Tallmadge with 122 yards rushing. Seeker finished with 32 yards rushing and four yards passing along with an interception.

“Tallmadge came out with a great game plan and forced us to make some adjustments defensively, but our offense got clicking early and they stayed clicking for the rest of the game.”

Marcus Wattley St. Vincent-St. Mary coach

MACEDONIA: Yes, it was cold. Colder than a pop quiz on the day before Christmas break.

Yet, it was not as cold as what Archbishop Hoban did to Lyndhurst Brush on Friday in a Division II regional semifinal game at Nordonia’s Boliantz Stadium.

The Knights, in the playoffs for the 13th time and seeking a third consecutive state championship, scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions and rolled to a 49-0 victory in front of a small, but incredibly faithful, crowd that braved frigid temperatures.

Mixing a ruthless ground game and efficient passing game, the Knights (11-1) rolled to their 11th consecutive victory and into next week’s regional championship game against Barberton in a game that Summit County fans have anticipated practically all season. The site will be determined Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

The Magics remained undefeated by defeating Bedford 35-0.

After turning the ball over on an interception to open the game, the Knights scored on three consecutive possessions to build a 21-0 lead after the first 13 minutes and 28-0 at the half.

Freshman quarterback Shane Hamm threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Knight, junior Tyris Dickerson scored on runs of 32 and 72 yards and sophomore Deamonte Trayanum added a 66-yard run for a score on the first play of the second quarter.

Meanwhile, defenders Daviaun Pete, Reid Allen, Daeshon Martin and Matt Salopek made plays that kept the Arcs (9-3) off the scoreboard, including twice forcing a turnover on downs.

An interception by Salopek — his first of two — stopped a brief Brush drive near midfield and a fumble recovery in the end zone on a questionable call added to the Arcs’ first-half miseries. It appeared Brush quarterback Godwin Joe was down at the 1 before fumbling the ball into the end zone, but the officials ruled otherwise.

Dickerson scored his third touchdown of the game early in the third quarter to increase the lead to 35-0 and start the running clock. Salopek returned his second interception 17 yards to make it 42-0 with 8:51 left in the third.

“The game plan was to keep their quarterback under control,” said Salopek, who has now returned three interceptions for touchdowns. “We realized he was good and we didn’t want to let him get out of control.”

Dickerson finished with 195 yards on 16 carries, and Trayanum had 107 on nine attempts. Dickerson also caught two passes for 57 yards.

Hamm completed 5-of-8 passes for 128 yards, with Jalen Knight catching two of those throws for 58 yards. His 31-yard reception on a third-down play set up Dickerson’s 32-yard score in the first quarter.

“We thought we had an advantage matchup-wise up front,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said of his team’s vaunted running game. “The key was our ability to make adjustments after that first possession.”

Dickerson said the game plan also called for the Knights to play four full quarters.

“We knew they were going to be a tough team and that we would have to play all four quarters,” he said.

Joe — who holds practically every school offensive record and entered the game having amassed more than 3,100 yards this season — completed just 11-of-34 passes for 157 yards with two interceptions. After having rushed for more than 700 yards, he finished with negative yardage. Mitchell Kellogg III led the Arcs with 71 yards on 15 carries.

Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.

Who: Medina (16-1-5) vs. Beavercreek (21-0-2)

Where: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

How they got here: After winning the Southwest 3 District, the Beavers captured Region 4 with a 4-1 win over Centerville and a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati Anderson. Beavercreek reached the championship game with a 1-0 double overtime win over Dublin Coffman. Medina, which won its own district, claimed Region 2 with a 3-0 victory over Olmsted Falls and 1-0 win over Sylvania Northview. The Bees reached the title game with a 2-0 overtime win over three-time defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Medina coach Simon Spelling on this year’s team: “These players are hungry. They understand they’re playing for Medina High School. They’ll come hungry and ready play.

Notable: Beavercreek is making its third trip to the state final, but hasn’t been in the championship game in nine years. Ranked second in the final state coaches poll, the Beavers have reached the final twice, but finished runner-up twice (1990, 2008). The Bees are in the state final for the first time in school history. … The Beavers are led by Dominic Calabrese (15 goals, nine assists), Jacob Westerkamp (16 goals, 10 assists), Joshua Fleck (10 goals, seven assists), Joseph Butman (eight goals, five assists), Hunter Jackson (nine goals, two assists), Kevin Davis (seven goals, six assists) and Evan Williams (seven goals, six assists). Medina showcases Andy Prostor (17 goals, five assists), Ian Gummo (five goals, four assists), Riley Furey (six goals, one assist) and Parker Csiszar (three goals, seven assists).

— Compiled by Brad Bournival

It is Week 12, and Manchester will take an eight-game winning streak into its Division V, Region 17 semifinal against Canfield South Range at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Louisville.

The Panthers (9-2) and the Raiders (11-0) met on Sept. 8 with host South Range winning 42-36. South Range is led by quarterback Aniello Buzzacco, running back Peyton Remish and wide receiver Mathias Combs.

“They are a very good team,” Manchester coach Jim France said of the Raiders. “They are undefeated and have played some pretty good opponents and, of course, they beat us, but we felt that we could play with them. We gotta stop the big play. That is how they beat us last time.”

Manchester’s offense features tailbacks Ethan Wright and Hunter Foster, quarterback JoJo France, wide receivers Sam Knight and Coye Schuler and linemen Nick Beans, Joe Karickhoff, Nick Esterle, Sam Hettich, Mike Paljich, Jacob Baker and Caleb Noirot.

Manchester’s top defensive players are JoJo France, Wright, Foster, Baker, Beans, Hettich, Knight, Gavin Kinsey and A.J. Johnson.

Beware of Godwin Joe

The Division II, Region 5 semifinals on Friday pit Hoban (10-1) against Lyndhurst Brush (9-2) at Nordonia and Barberton (11-0) against Bedford (10-1) at Ravenna.

“I liked how we started on both sides of the ball last week [in a 56-27 win over visiting Mayfield],” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said. “We came out really playing well.”

Hoban’s Tyris Dickerson and Deamonte Trayanum combined to rush for 304 yards and five touchdowns last week. The Knights’ top defenders are Trayanum, Daeshon Martin, Joe Michalowicz, Matt Salopek, Daulson Fitzpatrick, Donny Swain and Nate Bauer.

“Brush quarterback Godwin Joe is a heck of a player that we are aware of,” Tyrrell said. “I have watched almost every single one of their games on film and no one has stopped him. He got player of the year in their conference, and they are a fast team.”

Joe’s primary receivers are Markel Toney and Donovan Johnson.

Barberton heads into a matchup with Bedford playing well. The Magics are led by Zane Ries, Garrett Turnbaugh, Keye Thompson, Macolm Boyd and Christian McCarroll. The Bearcats feature Kenny Wilkins, Davion Johnson, Kevin Brewer, Tyan Hill and Aaron Stone.

Tallmadge vs. St. V-M

The Division III regional semifinals will include a Region 9 meeting between St. Vincent-St. Mary (8-3) and Tallmadge (8-3) at Revere.

Tallmadge’s top players are running back Ty Shannon, two-way linemen Blake Bockus, Matt Kieke and Connor Franks, defensive linemen Scott Seeker and Jason Grassie, offensive lineman Max Drummond and linebacker Mike Yamokoski.

“Our team is playing for each other,” Tallmadge coach Alan Vanderink said. “They play with a love and care for the guys next to them. They know they have a bunch of coaches that love and care for them as well. We are running the ball effectively, and that has to continue Friday night.”

St. V-M’s offense is hitting its stride with running back Terrance Keyes, quarterback Luke Lindsay, wide receiver Zachary Olson and lineman Adam Neill leading the charge.

The Irish have rushed for more than 200 yards in recent wins over Massillon, Youngstown Ursuline and Woodridge.

“We are starting to click at just the right time,” St. V-M coach Marcus Wattley said. “We have found consistency in our running game, which has opened things up in our passing game. Our young guys are starting to play with more confidence.”

St. V-M’s strength is its defense, with Scott Walter, Leonard Younger, Jack Knox, Jumacius Portis and Eric Taggart playing prominent roles.

“We had four takeaways last week against Woodridge and three takeaways against Ursuline in Week 10,” Wattley said. “We have been in playoff mode since Week 9, and I think that mindset has brought a sense of urgency, but also more focus.

“We took some lumps but we got back up from them and are hoping to continue improving this week. We play a tough, physical Tallmadge team who has a strong run game and a quarterback [Sam Seeker] that can hurt you with his arm or his legs.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or [email protected]. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.

Stow senior Mason McMurray has signed a national letter of intent to play men’s college basketball on scholarship at Ohio University.

McMurray said he likes OU’s coaches, players, campus and gym.

“Ohio University has the nicest gym out of any schools that I visited,” McMurray said. “The OU campus and the Loyola campus are both really nice.

“The location of OU [in Athens] is ideal for me because it is not too far from home, and it is still far enough from home where I can get away. Everyone down there gave me a good feeling. I felt like I fit in and I have only been down there one time.”

Stow coach Dave Close said “Ohio University got a good one” in McMurray, and that he is “very excited” to see how McMurray improves under Bobcats coach Saul Phillips.

“Ohio University is an outstanding school with a great tradition in both academics and athletics,” Close said. “Ohio University is a member of the Mid-American Conference whose reputation athletically has done nothing but grow in the past decade.

“The basketball program at OU has an outstanding tradition. It will also be nice that OU’s MAC schedule will bring [McMurray] up to Northeast Ohio at least twice a year, and even more when you consider the MAC Tournament, which has been held in Cleveland annually.”

McMurray averaged a team-high 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds last season, and made 61 percent of his 2-point field goal attempts and 40 percent of his 3-point shots.

“We are very proud of Mason, who has worked hard and made tremendous improvements over the past few years,” Close said. “He has become an incredible year-round worker in his efforts to become a better basketball player. His work in the weight room has yielded obvious results, and his dedication to becoming a better all-around player has led to a much-improved game as well.

“At 6-foot-8, Mason is an incredibly versatile basketball player. He shoots the ball well from the perimeter, he can put the ball on the floor to make plays and he can play inside as well.

“We are equally proud of Mason off the floor as well. It has been a blessing to watch his development over the years. He has grown into a very dedicated student and a very fine young man.”

Nance to Northwestern

Revere senior Pete Nance signed to play basketball at Northwestern University after orally committing to play for the Wildcats during the summer.

“Signing felt great,” Nance said. “It was awesome to make it official and become a Northwestern Wildcat. I’m ecstatic for this opportunity and I can’t wait to become a part of something special in Evanston.

“Northwestern is the right fit for me because I love the coaching staff and players at NU. I really feel a connection with them and I can’t wait to get started with them.”

Nance has started since his freshman year for Revere coach Dean Rahas. Nance averaged approximately 17 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks per game as a junior, and about 11 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore

“Pete is a very dynamic player,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said in a press release. “He’s 6-foot-9 and is long and athletic. He has been around the game of basketball his entire life.

“Pete brings a complete skill set. He can play inside and out, he has tremendous ball skills and can shoot, pass and handle the ball with speed and athleticism. I really believe that he has a terrific upside in our program.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at [email protected].

MACEDONIA: Bring it on.

The Medina boys soccer team is ready.

Although Medina was playing in only its second Division I state semifinal in school history and three-time defending state champion St. Ignatius practically takes up residence there, the Bees found a way Wednesday in a 2-0 victory.

The win sends Medina (16-1-5) to its first state final in school history.

“I’ve got some quiet leaders,” Bees coach Simon Spelling said. “They lead by example. Tommy Guta is a quiet kid. Brandon Leckie is a quiet kid. Andrew Horton is a quiet kid. Steve Samuelson is a quiet kid, but they’re disciplined in the back there with Brandon Leckie and Michael Kelly and Tyler Glasenapp.

“It was just a team performance defensively. We were put under a bit of pressure, and given the fact we scored two goals, I think we deserved to win.”

The Bees will play Beavercreek (21-0-2) at MAPFRE Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday for the state title.

It will be the third trip to the finals for the Beavers, but the first in nine seasons.

With only a loss to Brunswick (1-0) on Sept. 5, Medina is rolling into Columbus. The Bees are on a seven-game winning streak and are unbeaten in the last 18 contests.

The victory came with a little revenge as well as the Bees fell 3-2 in double overtime to St. Ignatius on a disputed penalty kick goal.

This time, St. Ignatius (15-4-3) did get a stroke of luck when Riley Furey clanged a penalty kick off the post.

That luck was short lived.

With 8:37 remaining in the first half, St. Ignatius midfielder Daniel Kalic played a ball back to backup keeper Ryan Mark, who was in the game because Peter Van Euwen was hurt midway through the first half.

Mark lifted his foot to stop the ball, but it rolled past him as he helplessly tried to chase it down.

“That goal was huge,” Medina forward Andy Prostor said. “It was a keeper mistake, but I’ll take whatever goal we can get. To just have that comfortable [lead] and at least get a goal ahead, it’s huge because now we can drop back. We have that little bit of comfort zone. To get that second goal, it meant the world.”

Cole Werthmuller made it stick with a perfectly placed shot to the far post on a pass from Ian Gummo with 4:23 remaining.

“We just played our game,” Horton said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all postseason and it’s been working.”

Beavercreek played in its second consecutive tight contest to return to the state final for the first time since 2008.

After dispatching Cincinnati Anderson 3-2 in a Region 4 final, the Beavers took Dublin Coffman (18-2-2) into double overtime before walking out with a 1-0 victory in the other state semifinal.

While it’s the first time Medina is in the state final, all things are relevant against the Beavers, who are riding a 17-game winning streak.

“This is unreal,” Glasenapp said. “I’m going to try to not let this get too much in my head so we can get out and get that job done.”

It not only would be the first state title for the Medina boys, it would give the school state titles in both genders after the girls did it in 1997 and 2009.

HUDSON: Once Jackson seized momentum, the Polar Bears were not about to let it slip away.

Instead, they rode it all the way to a berth in the state tournament.

Far from being discouraged by a first-set loss to defending state champion Brecksville, Jackson stormed back to win the next three to capture the Hudson Division I regional Saturday afternoon.

The 16-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-9 victory earned a trip to the final four. Jackson (25-1), looking for its first state title, will face Cleveland St. Joseph Academy in a state semifinal at noon Thursday at Wright State University.

“We made a couple adjustments — they followed those adjustments to a T,” said Jackson coach Jeff Walck, who has now led the Polar Bears to the state tournament four times in his nine years at the school.

“It’s hard for young people, in the heat of a contest, to make four or five adjustments,” Walck said. “And that’s how many we made to try to offset how bad we looked in the first set. We made those adjustments, and they got better and better.”

Jackson avenged a loss to Brecksville in last year’s regional, as well as a regular-season loss to the Bees — its only setback this year. The Polar Bears have won two of the last three regional finals against Brecksville.

Backed by the urging of a loud, enthusiastic crowd, the Polar Bears gained the edge midway through the second set and responded to every challenge Brecksville (21-6) threw at them.

“That was what we prepared for all year, and we completed our goal and we’re going to states,” said junior outside hitter Anna Mallette, who led Jackson with 17 kills and added 18 digs. “It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s awesome.”

Mallette said early jitters put the Polar Bears into a hole.

“That was nerves kicking in,” she said. “But we came over that and we fought our hardest and it paid off and we made it to states.”

With junior outside hitter Joanna Chang (12 kills) on an early roll, Brecksville cruised in the opening set. Then things began to change.

Down 5-1 in the second, Jackson scored the next six, and an 8-2 run put the Polar Bears up 18-11. Two kills by Mallette completed the 25-18 win.

That carried over to the third set as Jackson jumped to an 8-2 lead before a 9-1 run put the Bees up 11-9. Just as quickly, a 9-1 Polar Bears run — with six consecutive service points by senior Julianne Hodge — gave the them an 18-12 lead.

Four in a row, with two kills by senior Averie Elsass, finished off the 25-17 set win.

“We knew we lost to them last year, [and] we wanted to turn that around,” Elsass said. “I think once we got to the second set, everybody settled in. We all played more aggressive and more confident.”

With the Jackson student section standing and roaring, the Polar Bears went up 14-3 in the fourth set. Five points in a row at the end closed it out.

“It feels amazing,” said junior outside hitter Michele Rabbitt, who had 15 kills. “I literally can’t even describe how happy I am right now. We really kicked it in gear. We knew we wanted it so we had to go and take it.”

Senior middle hitter Mackenzie Rabbitt, who also had 15 kills including match point, and her sister are the tallest players on Jackson’s roster — both 5-foot-11.

“We just pulled together as a team,” Mackenzie Rabbitt said. “We didn’t let the errors we made affect us. That crowd was the biggest crowd we’ve had all year. It was crazy, having all of them behind us.”

Jackson senior setter Sarah Benson led with 53 assists. Senior libero Nikolette Zanolli had 32 digs and 12 service points, including the final four of the match.

Brecksville senior Shannon Williams had 33 assists, and senior teammate Amber King added six kills.

“Jackson’s kids are really good, [and] they obviously wanted it today,” Brecksville coach Rob Cline said. “We looked like we didn’t want it.

“That first set, Jackson made a ton of errors. I think that gives false confidence to kids who don’t know any better, and I told them all year if you don’t play hard, you’re going to lose.”

“We knew we lost to them last year, [and] we wanted to turn that around. I think once we got to the second set, everybody settled in. We all played more aggressive and more confident.”

Averie Elsass, Jackson senior

SANDUSKY: The post­season tournament says it’s 2017, but the ride for Medina looks similar to the Bees’ run to the Division I state semifinal last season.

It’ll stay that way after Medina knocked off Sylvania Northview 1-0 at Cedar Point Stadium on Saturday.

The victory sets up a rematch with three-time reigning state champion St. Ignatius (15-3-2) on Wednesday at Nordonia.

That’s been par for the course for the Bees (15-1-5), who for the second season in a row beat Copley in the Medina Division I district final, then knocked off Olmsted Falls in the Division I, Region 2 semifinal and Northview (10-5-5) in the elite eight.

The more things change …

“I think there’s a fortitude we have at Medina,” Bees coach Simon Spelling said. “I think that the regular season is just preparation for the postseason. We’ve gotten into a habit of kicking it up when the games get tough, and today was no exception. We deserved to win today — there’s no doubt about that — but the resilience of this team impresses me every game.”

Playing on the same field it did when it defeated Northview last season, Medina completely dominated play despite the final score.

In fact, if not for some fantastic saves by Ryan Bules and a solid shot off the right post, it could have been much worse.

“We just came out to get the result,” Bees forward Andy Prostor said. “We’re at the same spot we were last year. We’re back to face St. Ignatius again. We wanted to win this game.”

While the result was the same as last season’s 3-1 regional final win over Northview, it was never really in question.

Ian Gummo made sure it ended up with Medina on top with 35:30 remaining. Seeing Prostor flying down the left side, the junior cracked down on net in anticipation of a rebound.

Bules made a great save on Prostor’s shot, but didn’t get enough of it and Gummo finished the scoring opportunity.

“There was a lot of kickball before that, but Andy got the ball and I just got on my bike,” Gummo said. “It was a fantastic shot and fantastic save. It just happened to float in the air and I was there. It was just clicking today. We were passing it around with one or two touches and had it down. I wouldn’t say it was easier, but we were humble about it.”

Defense ruled the day for the Bees, who picked up their 12th shutout and third in a row.

While Northview put three shots on frame, only one really had a chance of going in as Alex Stan (one save) and Tyler Glasenapp (three) combined to pick up the shutout.

“Collaboratively, they’re good as a unit,” Spelling said. “Individually, they’re good, but they play better as a whole. They played very well, covered for each other and did what they were supposed to do every game.”

Up next is St. Ignatius and a chance to redeem a 3-2 double-overtime loss that came with a controversial penalty-kick game-winner for the Wildcats.

“You take it one game at a time in the playoffs,” Medina defender Brandon Leckie said. “But now that it is the game, we’re hoping we can have a better outcome.”

HEBRON: Rain during the week meant that the National Trail Raceway course would be muddy on Saturday for all of the runners in the state cross country meet.

The 3.1-mile course in Hebron was not ideal, and even caused a footwear malfunction for one athlete in the Division I race.

“It was really muddy,” Medina sophomore Juliette Keller said. “There was this girl in front of me who lost a shoe.”

Keller crossed the finish line in sixth place with a time of 18:00.1, and then smiled as she reflected on seeing the fourth-place runner, Olentangy Liberty junior Gracie Sprankle, lose a shoe early in the race.

“She just left it and kept on going,” Keller said of Sprankle, who finished in 17:35.2 with one shoe on. “She did so well.”

Keller said her goal was “top five” and that the race was “tough” because of the conditions.

Troy senior Morgan Gigandet finished first in the Division I race in 17:30.8 and Solon junior Olivia Howell took second in 17:32.5.

Hudson finished fourth in the Division I team standings with 187 points. Centerville won the state title with 122 points, Ursuline Academy was second with 137 points and Olentangy Liberty was third with 172 points.

Hudson’s top runner on Saturday was freshman Brenna Beucler, who finished 32nd overall in 18:39.8. The other four runners who scored for the Explorers were seniors Elizabeth Hinkle (42nd, 18:58.3) and Cameron Bujaucius (45th, 19:00.9) and freshmen Emmaline Hannan (51st, 19:05.9) and Sydney Gallagher (83rd, 19:42.4).

“The girls ran a brilliant race to finish fourth,” Hudson coach Megan Petraska said. “They ran hard, they ran strong and they were fearless. They just attacked the race.”

Petraska spoke with tears in her eyes after watching the Hudson boys win the Division I team title, and said she is “so immensely proud” of the guys’ hard work.

Brunswick was ninth as a team with 242 points and Medina was 12th with 298 points.

Highland junior Kaylie Kenne was seventh individually with a time of 18:02.9.

Brunswick was led by sophomore Emily Bardwell (16th, 18:23.6), junior Alyssa Wolf (19th, 18:25.5) and sophomore Nichole Gatten (27th, 18:33.7).

“I didn’t know if I’d make All-Ohio or top 20, but in the last maybe 400 [meters], I feel that I passed at least five people and — I’ll be honest — it hurt a lot,” Bardwell said. “I am proud of myself that I was able to find it in me to pass all of those girls.”

Wolf said she and Bardwell had a quick conversation during the race.

“I was able to catch up to Emily and tell her ‘We have worked way too hard to get here to give up,’ ” Wolf said. “The last mile we passed a bunch of people and worked together.”

Other area runners who finished in the top 100 in under 19:56 were Perry’s Madelyn Bartolone, Highland’s Madelynn Madison, Stow’s Tessa Pitcovich, Medina’s Olivia Roberts, Highland’s Annamarie DiGiacobbe, Twinsburg’s Emily O’Connor and Perry’s Andrea Hufstetler.

Division II

St. Vincent-St. Mary placed fourth in the team standings with 169 points and Woodridge, which won last year’s state title, was 13th with 321 points.

Chagrin Falls senior Annie Zimmer finished first individually in 18:13.6 and Lexington won the team title with 137 points.

Fairfield Union was second with 101 points and Tippecanoe was third with 162 points.

St. V-M freshman Theresa Hagy placed eighth in 18:44.7 and Irish senior Leah Lisle finished 24th in 19:14.2. Nina Zraik, Quincy Powers and Elaina Mendiola also finished in the Irish top five and completed the course in times between 19:37.6 and 20:37.1.

Tallmadge sophomores Kenna Loveless and Ravyn Edge were 19th in 18:59.2 and 21st in 19:04.3, respectively.

Division III

Led by state champion Emma Watcke, a sophomore who finished first in 18:38.4, Minster won the team state title with 34 points.

Mount Gilead (130 points) and McDonald (138) were the second and third, respectively.

Michael Beaven can be reached at [email protected].