We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Thursday and got your fill of last week’s playoff action. The matchups are set for this week's state finals on Friday and Saturday. Today we zip around the state to highlight the top performances from the state semifinals.
Finally, a Division I team was able to solve Toledo Whitmer’s defense. St. Ignatius punched its ticket to the state finals after grabbing a 17-6 win Saturday. QB Eric Williams passed for just 76 yards but connected with Tim McCoy and Connor Hennessey for scores to fuel the offense, while the defense held the Panthers' potent attack to 234 yards and six points. With a win against Pickerington Central, the Wildcats would capture their state-best 11th championship... Pickerington Central also lives to play another week after besting St. Xavier, 14-7. St. X defeated the Tigers in Week 2 but PC was better prepared for RB Connor Hundley in the rematch. The defense held Hundley to 51 yards on the ground and limited St. X to less than 200 total offensive yards. Pickerington RB Devone Penick clinched the victory with a 10-yard plunge with less than six minutes to play.
After finishing as runner-up at last year's state final, Trotwood-Madison was labeled a favorite for the Division II crown this season. They will get a chance to live up to the hype this weekend. The Rams advanced to the finals after surviving a 47-44 shootout against Marion Franklin. Thanks in large part to five forced turnovers, TR jumped out to a 40-16 lead at the half before the defense held off a furious rally to put the game on ice. Cameron Burrows picked off a pass and returned it 80 yards for a score in the win... Avon's aerial attack was too much for Aurora to overcome in the Eagles' 43-20 win Friday. QB Justin O Rourke went 19-of-28 for 278 yards and five touchdowns to land Avon to the finals.
Elida and Shawnee put on the highest scoring game of the weekend, combining for 98 points in their semifinal contest. In the end, Shawnee, led by QB Brad Jarzab's five touchdowns, will move on to play for the championship hardware after a 56-42 win. Jarzab amassed 338 yards to offense, while his Elida counterpart Reggie McAdams passed for 322 yards and a matching five scores. Austin Etzler had three td grabs for Elida and Andrew Young had two picks and found the end zone twice for Shawnee... Cardinal Mooney outlasted Chagrin Falls 24-14 to deny the Tigers' bid for three straight finals appearances. Mooney's defense sealed the deal by forcing four turnovers and blocking a punt to send Chagrin Falls to its first loss of the fall. QB P.J. Quinn got the scoring started with a 30-yard gallop then found Ryan Farragher on a 55-yard strike to pull ahead 14-7. Marcus Caisson also had a pick-six for the 10-3 Cardinals.
All eyes will be on Norwayne this weekend to see if the Bobcats’ defense can silence Kenton and record-breaking signal-caller Maty Mauk. Norwayne rocked Johnstown-Monroe, 59-28, fueled by the offense of QB Adam Wallace (257 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Jon Zimmerly (4 TDs). Kenton grabbed its 14th win of the year after toppling Clinton-Massie, 36-6. Mauk was 24-of-39 passing for 422 yards and four scores to fuel the Wildcats' quick-strike attack.
Kirtland dominated on both sides of the ball in a 42-0 rout of Wynford, while Coldwater blasted Hicksville, 41-21.
Buckeye Central upset top-seed Berlin Center Reserve to move on to the state finals for the first time since 1995. Michael Adkins controlled the contest on the ground with 126 yards and a pair of scores… Adam Bertke engineered a six-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in a 29-yard pass to Lee Pierron as Marion Local shocked Delphos St. John's late, 21-14.
David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.