COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the pairings and notes for the 41st annual state football championships Sunday afternoon. For the 23rd-consecutive year, the finals will be played in historic Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, both of which have been named “Famous High School Venues” by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
WHITMER VS. MOELLER: The 2012 state championship game will be the eighth meeting between the two schools. Moeller holds a 7-0 advantage over Whitmer in the head-to-head matchup. The two schools have not played since 1993. The latest the two schools have met in the playoffs prior to 2012 was in the 1979 state football semifinal.
REPRESENTING TOLEDO: Whitmer is looking to bring home the city of Toledo’s first Division I football state championship since 1984. Toledo St. Francis DeSales defeated North Canton Hoover 17-14 to win the title that year.
WELCOME BACK CINCINNATI: Since 2000 the city of Cincinnati has sent a team to the Division I state championship game eight times. Moeller becomes the fourth team in that span to go the finals, the others include Cincinnati Colerain, Cincinnati Elder and Cincinnati St. Xavier.
12TH FINAL IN 2012: Moeller is playing in its 12th state championship game and first since 1997. The Crusaders are tied for second for most championship game appearances. Newark Catholic leads all schools with 14, followed by Moeller, Cleveland St. Ignatius (12), Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (11) and Versailles (9).
LOOKING TO GO UNDEFEATED: Whitmer, 14-0, is one of only five remaining unbeaten teams in the state and is looking to go undefeated for the first time in school history. The 14 wins is also the most in school history for one season, topping the 13 wins from the state semifinal team from a year ago.
LOOKING FOR BACK-TO-BACK TITLES: Trotwood-Madison returns to Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the third year in a row and is looking to repeat as state champion in Division II. The Rams defeated Avon 42-28 to win their first state championship in 2011 after finishing as runner-up in 2010.
REPRESENTING TOLEDO PART TWO: Toledo Central Catholic is one of two schools representing Toledo in the 2012 football finals. Whitmer is the other (see Div. I note). The Irish have brought back the most recent title, and one of only three, to the city winning the Division II title in 2005, defeating Canfield 31-29.
TROTWOOD-MADISON’S GREEN: Trotwood-Madison’s Isreal Green ran the ball 35 times for 327 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 state championship game as a junior. Green set all divisions records for most points (36), most touchdowns and most rushing touchdowns (6), along with the Division II record for rushing yards in a state championship game.
FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING: Central Catholic and Trotwood-Madison are meeting in the state championship game for the first time.
FOR THE FIRST TIME: Bellevue is making an appearance in the state title game in football for the first time. The Redmen had reached the final four two other times in 1996 and 2001, but were unable advance to the championship game.
LONG ROAD BACK: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary returns to the state championship game in football for its sixth time. The Irish haven’t appeared in a title game since 1988 when they defeated Ironton 14-12 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
BEATING #1: In its road to the championship game Bellevue defeated AP #1 Napoleon 35-20 in its regional semifinal game. The Redmen went on to defeat AP #4 Dayton Thurgood Marshall 34-33 in the state semifinal.
SUCCESS IN THE FINALS: St. Vincent-St. Mary has had success once it has made it to the state championship game in its history. The Irish are 4-1 in title games, their lone state runner-up trophy coming in a 1979 loss to Ironton 7-6.
FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING: St. Vincent-St. Mary and Bellevue are meeting in the state championship game for the first time. In the 2001 state semifinals, St. Vincent-St. Mary and Bellevue both qualified, but did not meet. Bellevue was in Division III and St. Vincent-St. Mary was in Division IV.
A GAME OF FIRSTS: St. Clairsville and Clarksville Clinton-Massie are both making their first state championship game appearance in 2012. St. Clairsville had previously made the state semifinals two other times, but not since the 1980s, while Clarksville Clinton-Massie made the semifinals last year but was defeated by Kenton 36-6.
TAKING DOWN THE CHAMP: St. Clairsville defeated defending champion Creston Norwayne 40-27 in it state semifinal game. The Red Devils held Norwayne to a season low 27 points, while going for 430 yards through the air on offense. Norwayne was previously undefeated and ranked number-three in the AP poll.
BEATING No. 1: In its state semifinal game Clarksville Clinton-Massie defeated AP No. 1 Columbus Bishop Hartley 45-21 to advance to the championship game.
PUTTING UP RECORD POINTS: Pending verification of the point totals, Div. IV state finalist Clarksville Clinton-Massie has scored 776 points this season going into the championship game, which breaks the state record for points in a season set initially by Marion Pleasant in 2001.
NO SLOUCH EITHER: St. Clairsville’s offense has been busy as well, producing 677 points during the 2012 football season. Combined the Red Devils and Falcons have amassed 1,453 points going into the state championship game.
MATCHUP OF UNDEFEATEDS: Both St. Clairsville and Clarksville Clinton-Massie come into the championship game with undefeated records of 14-0.
THE REMATCH: Coldwater and Kirtland will face off for the second straight year in the Division V championship game at Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Kirtland defeated Coldwater 28-7 in 2011 to win its first football state championship.
No. 1 VS. No. 2: The matchup between Coldwater and Kirtland is the only championship game that features the AP number-one versus number-two. The Division V game is also the only game that features a number one or two team in a championship game.
PERFECT SEASON AT STAKE: Both Coldwater and Kirtland come into the championship game with undefeated records of 14-0.
BACK-TO-BACK APPEARANCES…TITLES?: Kirtland made its first state semifinal and final appearance in 2011 and wound up with its first state championship. The Hornets look to go two-for-two in appearances and titles in the 2012 championship game.
FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW: Coldwater is in the title game for the fourth year in a row and sixth time in the last eight years. The impressive run has produced two state championships and three runner-up trophies. (See page six for a note regarding other schools that have played in four or more consecutive state championship games.)
STEEPED IN TRADITION: Newark Catholic is making its OHSAA record 14th state championship game appearance. The Green Wave have won eight titles, which is tied for second with Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. Newark Catholic is first in games played and wins in the playoffs with 90 and 67, respectively.
RECENT TRADITION: Maria Stein Marion Local is making its seventh state championship game appearance since 2000. The Flyers have won five championships in those seven appearances, the last coming a year ago.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR A THIRD TIME?: Marion Local defeated New Washington Buckeye Central 61-21 in 2011 and will look for back-to-back state championships. The Flyers accomplished the feat for the first time in 2000 and 2001 and the second time in 2006 and 2007.
HEAVY ON THE HARDWARE: Between these two schools they will have now played in 21 state championship games (NC-14, ML-7) and have won 13 titles (NC-8, ML-5) before the 2012 game. They also have 35 state semifinal appearances between them (NC-24, ML-11).
FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING: Newark Catholic and Marion Local are meeting in the state championship game for the first time. Both schools qualified for the state tournament together in 1981 but played in opposite semfinal games. Marion Local was defeated in its semfinal, while Newark Catholic advanced to the final, falling to Tiffin Calvert 3-0 in the championship game.