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MAC Football Week 15 Playoff Previews

November 29, 2012
Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC)



Following 14 weeks of slamming helmets against the best competition in the state, the Marion Local Flyers and Coldwater Cavaliers have both landed in this week’s state championship game in their respective divisions in hopes of returning to Mercer County with a pair of gold trophies.  The Flyers are in action on Friday morning when they face the Newark Catholic Green Wave at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, while the Cavaliers wait until Saturday in Massillon to avenge their loss in the state final last season to Kirtland.  If both teams can raise championship hardware, it will mark the first time that two conference teams return home with titles in the same year since the Cavaliers and Flyers accomplished the feat in 2007. 

MARION LOCAL – NEWARK CATHOLIC
When it comes to state championship appearances and total state titles, not many in Ohio come close to what the Newark Catholic Green Wave have accomplished in their storied history.  In 31 total playoff appearances, the Green Wave have appeared in the state final on 13 occasions, while capturing eight state championships.  Although they inflicted the majority of their damage in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Green Wave secured their last championship in 2007 when they upended the Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains in the Division VI final.  “I think that their schedule prepares them much like ours does for the post-season,” Flyer head coach Tim Goodwin pointed out.  “I don't think that they will be intimidated by the ‘MAC mystique’ at all with their history - they expect to be there much like we do.”     

The Marion Local Flyers advance to their seventh state championship game with their triple-overtime victory last week over the McComb Panthers.  Despite leading by 21 points in the second half, the Flyers needed a touchdown run in the third overtime to put McComb away for good.  “We are very fortunate to be in this situation with the last three games being so close, and especially after escaping with a win against an excellent McComb team,” Goodwin commented.  “Our team did not look like a state type team for the first half of the season, so it is very neat to see how much they have progressed. 

This time of the year is pretty much all mental in our approach, although with our team being so young we have pushed them a little more in practice to try to keep them focused.”

This week the Flyers will meet the Green Wave, who enter the contest at  12-2 after finishing the regular season as the eighth-ranked team in the final Division VI Associated Press poll.  The Green Wave beefed up their regular season slate by playing only one Division VI squad, while facing Division III opponents in their final five regular season games.  Their two setbacks were by six points in the season-opener to 7-3 Bishop Ready and in week nine to 9-2 Granville.  “Newark Catholic is a young team, with the majority of their starters being juniors – they are large and deep and don’t have a lot that go both ways,” Goodwin explained.  “They are fundamentally sound and won't beat themselves.  I feel the same way as I have the entire playoffs - if we show up and don't turn the ball over, we have a good chance of winning.” 

COLDWATER – KIRTLAND
Despite being the defending state champions, the Kirtland Hornets have taken a back seat throughout the season to top-ranked Coldwater and finished the regular campaign as the number two team in Ohio in Division V.  This week in Massillon, the two talented squads will hook up for the second time in as many years in the Division V state championship game scheduled for a 3:00 kickoff on Saturday.  The Hornets advanced to the final with a 41-7 blowout over Liberty Union in last week’s semi-final after edging Youngstown Ursuline the week before in the regional championship by one point.  “We are trying to make this game and week as normal as possible,” Coldwater head coach Chip Otten explained.  “We are not going up there the day before this year, in an attempt to keep our routine intact.  The excitement comes in the fact that it is the last game for this outstanding senior class and certainly trying to win the last game and be a state champ - if that can't get you excited, then we shouldn't be playing.”

Kirtland has pummeled 14 opponents this season on their way to a 14-0 record with their 20-18 overtime win over Beachwood being their only game in the regular season that was closer than 24 points.  Offensively they average 46 points per game, while on the defensive side, opponents manage a little more than 13 points each time out.  “Kirtland brings the same things to the table as they did last year,” Otten commented.  “There are a few different faces, but they run the same schemes.  More important, they will bring toughness, confidence, and a positive attitude.” 

The Cavaliers also had little trouble in their semi-final battle with Liberty Benton, turning the Eagles away with a 38-0 shutout.  It was the second shutout in a row for the Cavaliers, who bettered Covington in week twelve, 20-0.  The Coldwater defense has been remarkable this season by only allowing less than six points each time out , while the offense has hit for nearly 39 points per game through 14 contests.  Other than a 7-0 victory over Anna in week six, the Cavaliers had little trouble with anyone on their schedule en route to the Midwest Athletic Conference championship.  “This senior class has carried on the tradition of excellence for the Coldwater football program - they set their sights to reach the top and win their 60th game, and we have the opportunity to do that on Saturday afternoon,” Otten pointed out.  “This class has shown the underclassmen how to work hard and have a great time doing it with class and respect for each other, their teammates, coaches and opponents.  The Cavalier faithful should be proud of this group whether they win or lose on Saturday.”

 

By Robb Hemmelgarn


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