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Clyde, Kirtland, Marion Local win Division IV, V and VII state titles

CANTON — The unranked Clyde Fliers rushed for 237 yards in their 42-14 victory over the No. 4 Newark Licking Valley Panthers in the OHSAA Division IV football state championship Saturday afternoon at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Fliers’ rushing attack was led by senior running back Gunner Golden, who ran for 114 yards and four touchdowns on 28 attempts.

Fliers head coach Ryan Carter praised Golden’s toughness and physical ability.

“That’s what he does,” Carter said following the game. “He’s that hard-nosed kid that’s going to grind it out for you. He had 28 carries today. I told them this week if we had to give the ball to Gunner 40 times, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Clyde senior quarterback Ryan Lozier added to the onslaught with 84 yards rushing and two touchdowns while also throwing for 96 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Fliers’ defense forced three turnovers and generated 14 points off those turnovers while holding the Panthers’ offense to 135 yards.

After fumbling the ball on their first two possessions, Clyde then scored on six straight possessions.

DIVISION V: CANTON –For the second-consecutive season, No. 1 Kirtland finished a perfect 15-0 after it defeated No. 5 Ironton (13-2) 17-7 in the 2019 OHSAA Division V football state championship Saturday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Kirtland now accounts for four of the 47 perfect 15-0 seasons in OHSAA history. Only Marion Local matches Kirtland in that category.

For a first half that only accrued 10 points, there were plenty of exciting plays.

Kirtland’s opening possession was a two-play, 74-yard touchdown drive consisting of a 47-yard pass play from junior quarterback Liam Powers to sophomore Gage Sullivan and a 27-yard touchdown run by junior running back Mason Sullivan.

After forcing an Ironton punt, Kirtland took over from its 18-yard line and drove down the field 78 yards in 14 plays. The drive included a one-handed catch by Gage Sullivan for 21 yards to convert a third-and-19 from inside the Kirtland 20-yard line, two conversions on fourth down and ended with a 21-yard field goal by second-team All-Ohio kicker, Mario Rodin.

It looked as though Kirtland would take the 10-point lead into halftime, but Ironton’s second-team All-Ohio senior quarterback, Gage Salyers, found senior wide receiver Jordan Grizzle for a 60-yard bomb down to the Kirtland two-yard line with 37 seconds left in the half.

Following the completion, Ironton used its final timeout of the first half. The Tigers attempted two runs and were stuffed both times by the Kirtland defense. On third-and-goal, with 13 seconds remaining, Kirtland jumped offside and gave the Fighting Tigers a first-and-goal from the one.

Again, Ironton attempted to run the ball off the right side of the offensive line but couldn’t push the pile forward into the end zone. Before the Tigers could get set to spike the ball and stop the clock, time expired. However, hope remained for Ironton as the officials announced it would be reviewing the play to see if the runner crossed the goal line.

The officials confirmed the call on the field and Kirtland’s 10-point halftime lead.

DIVISION VII: CANTON — No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local (13-2) defeated No. 7 Lucas (12-3) 28-6 to win the 2019 OHSAA Division VII football state championship Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The win for the Flyers gives the program its 11th state championship, tying Cleveland St. Ignatius for the most in the OHSAA football history. It was Local’s 14th trip to the state championship game this century.

“I’m a football guy. I know what St. Ignatius has done,” Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin said postgame. “Just the absolute dominance they had in the mid to late ’80s and the ’90s. I grew up with a dad that took me to a lot of football games, a lot of playoff games, so I knew the history. I saw those Ignatius teams, so it’s pretty cool.”

In addition to the state titles record, Local extended its OHSAA playoff wins record this postseason. Going 5-0 in the 2019 playoffs gives the program 81 playoff wins, eight more than second place Coldwater.

It took the Flyers four minutes and 15 seconds to gain a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. On its opening possession, they capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive (aided by a roughing the punter call) with a one-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Dylan Heitkamp.

Fellow senior running back Brandon Fleck had an eight-yard rushing touchdown of his own 49 seconds into the second quarter to round out the first-half scoring, giving Local a 14-0 lead at the half.

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