COLUMBUS – For three quarters Saturday, the Division I state football championship game plodded along.
The fourth quarter was much different. The two teams combined for 42 fourth-quarter points. Wayne rallied to take the lead late, only to have St. Edward deny them for the third time in the state final.
St. Edward won 45-35, capturing a third state championship. All three wins, including 2010 and last year, have been against Wayne.
St. Edward led 31-14 at the end of three quarters, and appeared to be headed to an easy victory. Wayne had other ideas.
Wayne scored the first points of the fourth quarter on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Messiah DeWeaver to L’Christian Smith. It was 31-21 St. Eds with 7:15 remaining.
The Warriors decided to onside kick. They recovered at midfield.
Six plays later, DeWeaver tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Matt Wilcox. With 5:17 remaining, Wayne was within three, 31-28.
St. Edward tried to keep the ball away from Wayne. However, Jimmy Keefe’s throw was offline and intercepted by Richard Carpenter. Carpenter weaved his way to the Wayne 5.
Two plays later, Wilcox leaped over everyone into the end zone. With 3:47 remaining – less than 4 minutes after trailing 31-14, Wayne had a 35-31 lead.
Cole Gest went to work. He had four straight carries to start the St. Edward drive, moving the ball to the Wayne 33.
Keefe completed two straight passes to Matt Gonzalez to move the ball to the Wayne 5. Gest gave the Eagles the lead back with 1:19 remaining with a 5-yard run.
Leading 38-35, St. Edward took a timeout before the ensuing kickoff. On that kickoff, it was a squib kick that hit one of the Wayne players and was recovered by St. Edward’s Matthew Duffy.
On the next play, just 8 seconds after giving the Eagles the lead, Gest iced the game with a 51-yard touchdown run. St. Edward had a 45-35 lead and back-to-back state championships.
The 602 yards off offense for St. Edward broke the Division I championship game record set by Mentor (586) in 2013 against Moeller.
Keefe led St. Edward with 419 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. Gonzalez had 11 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Gest had 102 yards receiving and 122 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
For Wayne, DeWeaver threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Smith had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. Daryl McCleskey had 11 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown while Fred Pitts had 10 carries for 85 yards.
The game was the sixth of seven state championship games. The final game of the night features Bishop Hartley and Steubenville in the Division IV final.
OHSAA Division I State Championship
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015
@ Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
St. Edward 45, Wayne 35
S – Jimmy Keefe 2-yard run (Jake Budyka kick) 9:52
W – Matt Wilcox 4-yard run (Nate Strong kick) 3:47
S – Budyka 35-yard field goal 1:38
S – Jared Supinski 1-yard run (Budyka kick) 0:46
W – Daryl McCleskey 67-yard run (Strong kick) 7:17
S – Matt Gonzalez 3-yard pass from Keefe (Budyka kick) 4:52
W – L’Christian Smith 70-yard pass from Messiah DeWeaver (Strong kick) 7:15
W – Wilcox 21-yard pass from DeWeaver (Strong kick) 5:17
W – Wilcox 1-yard run (Strong kick) 3:47
S – Cole Gest 5-yard run (Budyka kick) 1:19
S – Gest 51-yard run (Budyka kick) 1:07
PLAYS: W 62; S 69. FIRST DOWNS: W 17; S 21. RUSHES-YARDS: W 41-235; S 34-183. PASSING YARDS: W 168; S 419. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: W 8-21-2; S 24-35-1. TOTAL YARDS: W 403; S 602. PENALTIES-YARDS: W 8-50; S 8-56. FUMBLES-LOST: W 3-1; S 1-1. TIME OF POSSESSION: W 21:34; S 26:26.
Rushing (carries-yards): W Daryl McCleskey 11-156 TD; Fred Pitts 10-85; Matt Wilcox 7-5 2 TDs; Antwan Wilson 1-3; Messiah DeWeaver 11-(-13). S Cole Gest 23-122 2 TDs; Curtis Szelesta 1-39; Jimmy Keefe 8-22 TD; Jared Supinski 1-1 TD.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): W DeWeaver 8-21-2 168 yards 2 TDs. S Keefe 24-34-1 419 yards 2 TDs; Matt Gonzalez 0-1-0.
Receiving (catches-yards): W Wilcox 4-43 TD; L’Christian Smith 3-114 TD; McCleskey 1-11. S Gonzalez 11-134 TD; Teddy Gordon 5-79; Gest 3-102; Carl Jones 2-23; Kordel Hoover 1-72; Michael Carbon 1-7; Michael O’Malley 1-2 TD.
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