Now Creston Norwayne wants to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.
A year after winning the school’s first state championship, the Bobcats completed their first 10-0 regular season — and did it with an exclamation point.
In a showdown of teams unbeaten in the Wayne County Athletic League, Norwayne led 21-0 after a quarter and 55-0 at the half on the way to a 64-0 victory over West Salem Northwestern (8-2).
“We had a special year last year and going 10-0 this year and winning the outright league championship already makes this a special year,” said Norwayne coach Joe Harbour. “Playoffs are like a whole new season, but we have the potential to do what we did last year.”
The Bobcats, who again play Northwestern this week, are again back in the Division IV playoffs.
STREAK SEASONS: According to stats provided by high-school expert Dick Stevens, Ohio’s longest standing losing skids belong to Toledo Woodward (54), Westerville North (45) and Millersport (37), while Kirtland has won 35 consecutive regular-season games, Covington 33 and Lima Central Catholic and Toledo Whitmer 28 each; the regular season ended with 35 undefeated teams and 37 winless ones; and Cincinnati Moeller is making its 31st foray into the playoffs, one more than Ironton.
There are seven schools making their first appearance in this year’s playoffs: Cleveland John Hay, North Robinson Colonel Crawford, Liberty Township Lakota East, Zanesville Maysville, Ashtabula Edgewood, Dayton Christian and New Lebanon Dixie. That means just 96 eligible schools in the state have not been to the football postseason.
ON THE GROUND: Clyde’s Brad Smith carried 21 times for 403 yards and 4 TDs in a 74-6 win at Port Clinton — breaking the rushing record of 373 yards he had set three weeks earlier; Mansfield Madison’s Kale Huss rushed for 297 yards and a TD on 36 carries and set a school mark with 1,802 yards on the season in a 34-0 win over crosstown rival and No. 8 Mansfield Senior; Defiance Ayersville’s Justin Flory had 261 yards rushing and two TDs while adding a touchdown catch in a 57-12 win over Antwerp; Heath Harding had 15 carries for 329 yards and five TDs — and went over the 2,000-yard mark this season and 5K mark for his career — in leading Dayton Christian to a 45-12 win over Waynesfield-Goshen; and Genoa’s Kyle Nutter set a school mark with 2,055 rushing yards while going for 150 yards in a win over Pemberville Eastwood.
THROUGH THE AIR: Colby Speice was 29 of 57 passing for 405 yards and seven TDs and Jake Arend had nine catches for 186 yards and four TDs leading Haviland Wayne Trace past Sherwood Fairview 52-22; and East Palestine’s Luke Cope completed 18 of 36 passes for 311 yards in a 20-12 win over Lisbon David Anderson.
A LONG TIME: Clarksville Clinton-Massie is 47-2 in league play in its five years in the South Central Ohio League, with 32 straight wins; Ashtabula Edgewood’s 39-0 triumph against Cleveland JFK marked only the ninth time in the 69-year history football at Edgewood that the Warriors (7-3) won at least seven games; and Jefferson Area defeated Conneaut 32-14 to get its eighth win for only the fifth time in 93 years of football at the school.
BUSY BODY: McComb’s Jerry Brown rushed for 135 yards and two TDs, including a 74-yard game-winner on a wet, muddy field, caught two passes for 39 yards and another score, and completed his only pass attempt of the night as the Panthers capped a 10-0 regular season with a 20-19 win over Leipsic.
NIGHT OF FIRSTS: Ottawa-Glandorf led Van Wert (1-9) just 14-12 heading into the fourth quarter before Caleb Siefker threw a 47-yard TD pass, then broke loose for 40- and 7-yard scores to give the Titans their first 10-0 regular season; in a battle of previously winless teams each with 18 healthy players available, Vanlue ended an 18-game losing streak with a 27-0 win over Hardin Northern; Orwell Grand Valley’s 21-6 victory against Ledgemont gave the Mustangs of first-year coach John Glavickas their first league title since 1997; Beavercreek defeated Fairmont 11-0 for a share of its first league title since 1985; Celina held off Lima Bath 42-41 to post its first seven-win season since 1997; St. Marys Memorial lost 13-7 to Lima Shawnee to give the Roughriders their first 0-10 season dating to 1912; and Columbiana Crestview’s Nick Blower ran for 301 yards and three TDs on 26 carries and Collin Gilbert scored four times in a 57-14 win over Greenford South Range, completing their first 10-0 regular season; Brenden Wells ran for 209 yards on 34 carries as Beloit West Branch beat Salem, 21-13, for its first league title in 11 years.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW? The Midwest Athletic Conference, long a dominant force in the small-school playoffs, sent five of the 10 conference teams to the postseason. Four of the five will host in the first round and three teams — Maria Stein Marion Local, Minster and St. Henry — are located on a 15-mile stretch of Ohio 119 and are all together in Division VI Region 24.
MUCH LIGHTER: Wooster’s on-field celebration after a 34-7 win over Orrville showed how heavy the weight of “The Streak” had been.
With QB Cam Daugherty and WR James Preston hooking up for three first-half TDs, the Generals (3-7) built a big lead, and then ended what had been a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry, played for the 102nd time on Saturday night.
“Oh my God, this is like a 100,000-pound weight off of my back,” Wooster senior Mason Tomblin said after the victory, the Generals’ first over Orrville since 2004. “My whole family’s from Orrville, and even my Grandma yelled at me about ending the streak, and we finally did it.”
NO DEFENSE ALLOWED: The teams combined for 54 first downs and 1,155 total yards in Mineral Ridge’s 54-53 overtime victory against Hanoverton United. Mineral Ridge’s Devine Redding had 266 yards and five TDs on 14 carries, while United QB Garrett Beech ran for a school-record 301 yards and five TDs on 28 carries and passed for 144 yards and two more scores. Each team had more than 400 yards rushing as United set school records with 34 first downs and 614 total yards.
SO MUCH FOR THE PREVENT: Glouster Trimble came close to a seventh shutout in a row against Stewart Federal Hocking.
The Tomcats led 41-0 in the closing minutes. Federal Hocking was able to score on a 53-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left to deny Trimble the shutout.
The score ended Trimble’s streak of shutouts at six. It was the first points the Tomcats had given up since a 74-6 win in Week 3 over South Gallia. Trimble didn’t give up a point in the first half after a Week 2 loss to Wahama (25-12). Trimble only gave up 51 points on the season and finished 9-1 for the first time since 2005.