COLUMBUS – In last year’s Division VI state championship game, Kirtland led a Midwest Athletic Conference school by two scores with 4:18 remaining.
A touchdown, a successful onside kick and another touchdown later, and Minster had stunned Kirtland 46-42.
There was no such heartbreak Saturday in this year’s Division VI title game.
Kirtland watched a Marion Local onside kick go out of bounds with 1:22 remaining, allowing the Hornets to finish off a 22-20 victory at its third state championship.
Marion Local’s streak of four straight state championships and 24 consecutive playoff victories was snapped.
The Flyers led 13-7 heading into the fourth quarter and started the period on the Kirtland 6.
Two plays later, Marion Local fumbled and Kirtland recovered on its own 2. The Hornets embarked on a 15-play, 97-yard drive that chewed up 7:20 off of the fourth quarter clock.
Owen Lewis ended the drive with a 2-yard touchdown. Kirtland had a 14-13 lead with 4:15 remaining.
It took Marion Local just three plays to cross midfield on the ensuing drive. However, on second down from the Kirtland 48, quarterback Cole Griesdorn was intercepted by Owen Loncar at the Kirtland 34.
Kirtland tried to run the clock out while Marion Local used all three of its timeouts to try to get one final chance. It appeared the Hornets had been stopped three-and-out with 2:16 remaining.
However, Kirtland decided to go for it on fourth and 1 from its own 43. Joey Bates went straight up the middle 57 yards for the touchdown.
An extra point would have made it an 8-point game, still giving the Flyers a chance to tie on the ensuing possession. Kirtland went for two instead, and Lewis found Evan Madden for the conversion.
Facing a 9-point deficit, Marion Local wasn’t finished. They drove 53 yards in 5 plays. Griesdorn threw to Hunter Wilker for an 11-yard score. The Flyers were within two, 22-20, with 1:22 remaining.
Last year, on Minster’s onside kick attempt, the kick hit directly off of a Kirtland player and was recovered by the kicker. A 51-yard touchdown pass later and Kirtland found itself behind.
There was no repeat of last year’s heartbreak. The Marion Local onside kick rolled out of bounds short of the 10 yards required to recover the kick. Kirtland had the ball and its third state championship.
Kirtland did its best to limit the number of Marion Local possessions. Kirtland had the ball for 28:34 to Marion Local’s 19:10, running 65 plays to the Flyers’ 50.
Bates led Kirtland with 206 yards and 2 touchdowns on 34 carries. David Allchin had 10 carries for 55 yards.
Griesdorn completed 14 of 20 passes for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns for Marion Local. Wilker was his top receiver, catching 7 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Matt Kahlig also had a touchdown to go with his 90 yards receiving.
It was the first loss of the weekend for the MAC. It was also the first loss of the weekend for the designated home team. Lakewood St. Edward (Division I) and Steubenville (Division IV) are the home teams in the final two games of the 2015 state football championships.
OHSAA Division VI State Championship
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015
@ Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Kirtland 22, Marion Local 20
M – Aaron Nietfeld 5-yard run (kick blocked) 7:09
M – Matt Kahlig 14-yard pass from Cole Griesdorn (Derek Albers kick) 3:23
K – Joey Bates 1-yard run (Brad Hauptman kick) 3:52
K – Owen Lewis 2-yard run (Hauptman kick) 4:15
K – Bates 57-yard run (Lewis to Evan Madden) 2:08
M – Hunter Wilker 11-yard pass from Griesdorn (Albers kick) 1:22
PLAYS: K 65; M 50. FIRST DOWNS: K 17; M 19. RUSHES-YARDS: K 56-289; M 29-104. PASSING YARDS: K 23; M 241. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: K 2-9-0; M 14-21-1. TOTAL YARDS: K 312; M 345. PENALTIES-YARDS K 4-20; M 3-40. FUMBLES-LOST: K 2-0; M 2-2. TIME OF POSSESSION: K 28:34; M 19:10.
Rushing (carries-yards): K Joey Bates 34-206 2 TDs; David Allchin 10-55; Owen Lewis 8-27 TD; Vinny Matticoli 1-4. M Aaron Nietfeld 19-107 TD; Jack Homan 2-6; Cole Griesdorn 3-1; Duane Leugers 1-1; Hunter Wilker 1-(-4); Kyle Homan 1-(-4).
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): K Leis 2-9-0 23 yards. M Griesdorn 14-20-1 241 yards.
Receiving (catches-yards): K Allchin 2-23. M Wilker 7-114 TD; Matt Kahlig 4-90 TD; Albers 2-18; Homan 1-19.
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