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Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Coldwater falls one win short

Youngstown Ursuline wins 55-25 to repeat as Division V champions

By Gary R. Rasberry

Coldwater High School principal and OHSAA board member Steve Keller, middle, hol. . .

CANTON - For Coldwater to win its third state football title in five seasons, it was going to take as stout a defense as the team has had all season in slowing down a potent Youngstown Ursuline offense.  
Turned out, The Irish were just too dominating.
Ursuline used two Cavalier turnovers to pick up 14 points in the first half, then turned up the heat in the second half to repeat as Division V state champions with a 55-25 win at Fawcett Stadium in Canton on Friday afternoon.
The 55 points by Ursuline breaks the Division V record for most points by one team set in 1997 when Liberty Center scored 49. The 80 points combined breaks the 2005 Division V record for combined points, when Patrick Henry and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy combined for 72.
The Irish, who beat the Cavaliers in the 2000 Division IV state title game in an equally offense-laden 49-37 contest, ends the season at 11-3. Coldwater picks up its third state runner-up trophy since 1998 to end the season at 13-2.
Ursuline racked up 393 rushing yards in the game and compiled 508 yards of offense. Coldwater did its best to try and respond, with All-Ohio quarterback Keith Wenning setting a state Division V record with 414 passing yards as the Cavaliers had 474 yards of offense.
"Defensively, I was really pleased with the effort," said Irish coach Dan Reardon. "(Coldwater) is such a high-powered offense and have thrown for so many yards and run for so many yards. We came up with a couple critical stops, particularly at the end of the first half."
The game started as if the Irish would just run roughshod over the Cavalier defense. All-Ohio running backs Allen Jones and Askie Teague put the Irish on the Coldwater 17, but two big stops allowed Coldwater to take possession at the Cav 24.
Coldwater went right to work. Wenning guided the Cavaliers 76 yards over 11 plays, using the quadruple stack mismatch to allow Kurt Schoenherr to get open in the end zone for a six-yard pass with 2:29 left in the opening quarter to put the Cavaliers up 7-0.
The Irish wasted no time in countering, using some passing to mix up the running of Teague and Jones. Ursuline quarterback Paul Kempe hooked up with Nico Irizarry and Chris Collins to move the ball, but it was Teague taking the direct snap out of the Wildcat formation that resulted in the final 26 yards to square the game early in the second quarter.
Wenning had the Cavaliers moving on the ensuing possession, but on a first-and-10 from the Irish 19, Wenning was hit by Trevor Smith, dislodging the ball. Dawalyn Harper got the ball and returned it to the Irish 41. On the first play, Kempe fired the ball to Collins, who got behind coverage and scampered 59 yards to put the Irish up 14-7.
More turnover woes came for the Cavaliers. On the Cavaliers' own 24, Wenning looked for the open man, but instead he found Collins at the Cav 41. Collins rolled down the sidelines and scored his second touchdown of the game to make it 21-7.
"It was a huge stretch to get 14 points that quickly," said Reardon. "Thing about Coldwater, watching them on film and knowing their history, they've come from behind so many times."
"That's a credit to their defense," said Wenning. "They're physical, flying around. Our line did the best job they could."
Just when the rout appeared to be on, the Cavaliers came back with a big drive. Wenning began to hook up with Schoenherr, who had 52 yards receiving in the first half, and used a 13-yard scramble on a third-and-5 to get to the Irish four-yard line. Just when it looked the drive would fall apart on fourth-and-8, the Irish were called for defensive holding, giving Coldwater one last shot from the Irish four. Wenning found Adam Rammel for the score to cut it to 21-13 after the missed PAT.
But just as quickly, the Irish came back. Kempe scrambled for 19 yards on a third-and-9 to get to the Cavalier 3, where Teague ran in for his second score of the day to end make it 27-13 after a missed PAT.
Coldwater got the ball to start the second half, but could not move the ball. A good punt put the Irish on their own four, but after getting to the 15, Aaron Edwards broke through the line and scored from 85 yards out to put the Irish up 34-13.
The Cavaliers came back, as Wenning drove the Cavaliers 11 plays and 72 yards, running in from three yards out to make it 34-19.
From there, though, Ursuline was in complete control. Teague, Jones and Irizarry each scored a touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Coldwater managed just one more touchdown pass from Wenning to close things out.
Jones, who shared Division V Offensive Player of the Year honors with Wenning, rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown. Teague added 119 yards on nine carries and three scores. Collins added 88 yards receiving.
"They were fast," said Rammel. "Early in the game we missed a couple tackles that were crucial. They got right around the edge and went right down the sideline. Overall, I don't think we really knew how fast they were. They're a very good team."
In addition to Wenning's passing day, Rammel set a state final record for receptions, pulling down 14 for 135 yards. Schoenherr added 10 catches for 123 yards with Klenke pulling down eight for 83 yards.
"I'm extremely proud to be the coach at Coldwater High School," said Coldwater coach John Reed. "I'm extremely proud of both Keith and Adam (who attended the postgame press conference) and all the men downstairs. We ran into a team tonight that was so extremely talented. A great deal of credit must go to them for their gameplan and the way they played."
Welcome Home: Coldwater will have a welcome home gathering on Sunday starting at 6 p.m. at The Palace.
Additional online story on this date
CANTON - When times are tough, one can find one of many outlets to ease their pain and get them through the difficult times: faith, family, friends.... And, yes, football. [More]
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