By Jamie Baker
Liberty-Benton and Hopewell-Loudon’s football teams shouldn’t be hanging their heads after losing in this weekend’s OHSAA state finals.
Only 12 of 716 Ohio high school football teams were still playing ball this weekend in Massillon and Canton and to be one of those elite 12 teams is an accomplishment in itself.
Here are the complete offensive and defensive stats on the game from the OHSAA.
Mark Heiman and I dissected Liberty-Benton’s 21-0 loss to Youngstown Ursuline the entire way home from Massillon to Findlay last night and here’s what we came up with...that was a heckuva game and much, much closer than the final score indicated.
The Eagles’ defense allowed only 152 yards of total offense. That’s an amazing stat considering too that Ursuline got 59 yards on one play in the second quarter on Allen Jones’ touchdown run.
On most days a defensive performance like the Eagles has yesterday would have been good enough for them to take home the championship trophy.
Unfortunately, Ursuline’s defense, while giving up nearly 100 more yards, made the plays they had to to keep the Eagles out of the endzone particularly when they stopped Aaron Craft on a 4th-and-1 keeper on the 3 yardline.
It was certainly a championship performance by both defenses.
I think Ursuline’s speed on defense was the decisive factor in the game. Craft was pressured on a consistent basis for the first time this year and Ursuline’s defensive backs were lightning quick stepping up and keeping the Eagles from getting outside.
It was one hell of a ride this season and to give Ursuline, who many considered to be one of the top three teams in the state regardless of Division, a run for their money is a tribute to the coaches and players at L-B and to the hard work they put in to get there.
Any other thoughts on Saturday’s game, I’d love to hear some feedback.