Well folks, we have come to one of the most bittersweet times of the Ohio high school football season -- it is state championship week. As a result, we as analysts have one last weekend of high school football in Ohio to cover, which is a bummer to say the least. However, this last week is the culmination of the hard work for a lot of high school football players in Ohio which is always awesome to see. These championships are not just for the teams, but also for their families, cities, and communities.
With all of that said, why don’t we try to pick the six remaining state championships games in Ohio? I say six obviously because St. Xavier toppled Pickerington Central last week by a score of 44-6 in the Division I state title game. For more on that game click here for highlights from our very own Marc Givler.
The Buckeye Scoop staff saw a large number of Ohio high school football games this year. Personally, I saw 19 total high school football games in Ohio and got a chance to see a few teams playing last weekend, and because of that, I thought why not try to pick these last six.
After the two games yesterday I am 1-1 on picks. New Bremen cruised to a 31-0 running clock victory in the state title game to make the Scoop staff look like geniuses and bring another state title to the MAC. However, Archbishop Hoban came into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and put it on the TIgers by a 35-6 margin which gave them their fifth title in six seasons. With the recap out of the way, let’s get into the final four games of the weekend.
Saturday, November 21st
The second day of the three-day slate of the OHSAA football state championships is by far the best pairings of games. At 1:15 p.m. we have my personal favorite game of the weekend and a rematch of last year’s Division V state title game between Kirtland and Ironton. Following that, the Division III title game will kickoff at 6:15 p.m. and feature a matchup of Chardon against Columbus St. Francis DeSales.
Kirtland (10-0) vs. Ironton (11-0)
Both teams are undefeated. Both demolished opponents for the majority of the season. Both have future college football players despite being smaller schools. And both teams are familiar with each other after last year’s state title game. For all of those reasons, this championship game between Ironton and Kirtland should be a great one.
As for those future college football players, 2021 Ohio State linebacker commit and All-American Reid Carrico is the face of Ironton. The Fighting Tigers also have 2023 four-star athlete Trevor Carter who does a lot of the same things Carrico does on the field. Kirtland is powered by the Sullivan family, with 2021 running back Mason Sullivan being the workhorse and 2022 athlete Gage Sullivan being the high-upside prospect. Other than those players, both teams are full of hard-working, tough players that love football, which will make this game even better.
I was lucky enough to catch Ironton this postseason and they absolutely destroyed New Lexington. On both sides of the ball, they play smash-mouth football. They run the ball heavily on offense and smother their opponents on defense. As for Kirtland, I was holding off on waiting to see them until this point because they have been a lock to make the state title game in recent years. However, they are very similar to Ironton in the fact that they shut down teams defensively and run all over opponents on offense. But because of Gage Sullivan, they have a player that can take the top off a defense to keep them honest.
Truthfully, I have no clue who to pick in this game. Both teams are equally talented and very well-coached, which makes this difficult. Nonetheless, I need to make a pick and it will be Ironton. After watching Carrico live and speaking to him the last thing I will do is count that young man out. Bringing a state title to Ironton has been the goal for him throughout his whole high school career and this is his last shot.
Expect Carrico to make impact plays on both sides of the ball and Trevor Carter to play a factor in Ironton slowing down Gage Sullivan outside. This will be close but the Divison V state title will be heading down by the river.
Mick’s pick: Ironton over Kirtland.
BONUS: Marc’s pick, Ironton over Kirtland.
Columbus St. Francis DeSales (9-1) vs. Chardon (11-0)
After last night’s Division II state title game being a blowout win for Hoban, this division III game has a chance to be the second-best game behind the division V game above. Chardon has been running through teams this season with a 21-point win over Mayfield being their closest margin of victory all season. St. Francis DeSales has not been as dominant but they beat some very talented teams to get to this point. Just last week they beat Archbishop Alter led by 2022 Ohio State linebacker commit C.J. HIcks.
Both teams feature super stout defenses that have absolutely shut down their opponents this season. And both have a couple of future college football players on their defense that lead the charge. For the Chardon Hilltoppers, they feature 2021 three-star Iowa State defensive end commit Myles Mendeszoon and 2022 three-star linebacker Nathanael Sulka who has an Iowa State offer as well. The Buckeyes are also keeping an eye on Sulka. St. Francis DeSales is led by their linebacking crew as well, which has 2021 three-star Ohio linebacker commit Quintell Quinn. The Stallions also have 2022 three-star athlete Johnathan Thompson who goes both ways and is drawing attention from Cincinnati.
Once again, St. Francis DeSales was one of the many teams I saw during the regular season. They like to use Quinn and Thompson’s power in the run game. Their goal is to wear their opponents down all game using those two in the backfield. I haven’t seen Chardon this season but they were one of the top teams I wish I would have seen. They have been running all over their opponents and have some studs defensively.
Since they have been running through everybody, I have no reason to pick against Chardon. I just don’t see St. Francis DeSales’ rushing attack beating the Hilltoppers down. The division III state title will rest in Northeast Ohio this offseason
Mick’s pick: Chardon over St. Francis DeSales.
BONUS: Marc’s pick, St. Francis DeSales over Chardon.
Stay tuned for one more day of state championship previews! And be sure to jump in the ‘Ask the Insiders’ forum to discuss all the state championship games.