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3 Valley teams reach semis

For the 42nd time in the 50-year history of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football tournament, the Mahoning Valley will be represented in the state semifinals.

Ursuline, Springfield and Warren John F. Kennedy all won regional titles over the weekend. As a result, the three schools are among the remaining final four teams in their respective divisions.

On Friday, Ursuline defeated West Branch 64-35 to capture the Division IV, Region 13 title. On Saturday, Springfield downed Mogadore 43-27 to win the Division VI, Region 21 championship while Warren John F. Kennedy rallied to defeat Dalton 20-13 in overtime to win the Division VII, Region 25 crown.

West Branch and South Range were eliminated.

Ursuline returns to the semifinals for the 10th time in school history and the first time since 2015. The Irish (10-3) will play Port Clinton (13-1) Friday at Euclid Community Stadium. It’s the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

Port Clinton is averaging 40 points per game, while giving up an average of just 12.8 points per contest. It’s held 10 opponents to 14 points or less.

The Redskins’ lone loss of the year occurred in week three, a 21-20 loss to Sandusky Perkins. Port Clinton avenged its only setback with a 19-14 win over Perkins in the third round of the tournament.

Prior to this year, Port Clinton had made just four playoff appearances, with a 2-4 post-season record.

Springfield (13-1) returns to the state semifinals for a third-straight year — the first public school in the Mahoning Valley to accomplish the feat. The Tigers are looking to make a third straight trip to the state title game.

Springfield will play Carey (13-1) on Saturday at Euclid Community Stadium.

Just like Springfield, Carey lost its season opener, but has since won 13 straight games.

Carey’s success is largely attributed to a defense which has allowed an average of just 8.8 points per game. The Blue Devils have pitched six shutouts, including two in the playoffs.

Carey, in the playoffs for the 15th time, is making its second state semifinal appearance. Carey won a state title in 1975.

Kennedy (10-2) is returning to the state semifinals for a second-straight year, and for a second-straight year the Eagles will face Newark Catholic (13-1) in the semifinals. The two teams will meet Saturday at Duke Stadium in Marlington.

Kennedy is playing in Marlington for a second-straight week.

A year ago, the Eagles defeated the Greenwave 20-13 to advance to the state final. It was the first-ever meeting between the perennial playoff contenders.

Kennedy is making its ninth state semifinal appearance. Newark Catholic owns one of the most impressive postseason resumes in the state. The Greenwave have won eight state titles and have been runners-up six other times. They are 82-29 all-time in postseason play.

Newark Catholic has appeared in the state semifinals 27 times.

This marks the sixth time that a trio of area schools advanced to the state semifinals in the same year. Prior to this year, it last happened in 2005.

Since the playoffs were formed in 1972, a total of 21 area schools have combined to make 69 trips to the state semifinals. Through 2020, Mahoning Valley schools own an impressive 42-24 record in state semifinal games.

MAHONING VALLEY STATE SEMIFINAL APPEARANCES / RECORDS

Cardinal Mooney 17 (12-5)

Ursuline 10th (5-4)

Warren JFK 9th (6-2)

Warren G. Harding 3 (3-0)

McDonald 3 (2-1)

Springfield 3rd (2-0)

Poland 3 (1-2)

Warren Western Reserve 2 (2-0)

West Branch 2 (1-1)

Boardman 2 (1-1)

Campbell 2 (1-1)

Austintown Fitch 2 (0-2)

South Range 2 (0-2)

Berlin Center Western Reserve 2 (0-2)

Girard 1 (1-0)

Brookfield 1 (1-0)

Wellsville 1 (1-0)

Lisbon 1 (1-0)

Canfield 1 (1-0)

Youngstown Chaney 1 (1-0)

Youngstown Rayen 1 (0-1)

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