Three area teams to play for state titles | News, Sports, Jobs

    For the third time in the 51-year history of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football tournament, the state finals will include three teams from the Mahoning Valley.

    South Range, Canfield and Warren John F. Kennedy were all victorious in state semifinal games in their respective divisions. Now, the Raiders, Cardinals and Eagles will travel to Canton to play for a state championship.

    The six-week tournament which began with 448 schools will conclude this week with the crowning of seven state champions. The finals begin Thursday with the Division II championship game. Three games will be played on both Friday and Saturday.

    All games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

    On Friday, South Range (15-0) will play Ironton (15-0) at 10:30 a.m. in the Division V title game. At 3 p.m., Canfield (13-1) and Bloom-Carroll (14-1) will play in Division III.

    On Saturday, the Division VII game will feature JFK (13-1) and New Bremen (12-3) at 3 p.m.

    South Range is making its first-ever state final appearance after falling in the semifinals in both 2005 and 2017.

    Ironton (15-0) is no stranger to the playoffs or to state final appearances. The Fighting Tigers are in the playoffs for the 38th time, with an overall tournament record of 61-35. This includes 10 state championship appearances, including three of the last four years. They won state titles in 1979 and 1989.

    Ironton, the Associated Press Division V poll champion, is averaging 39.8 points per game. Its offense is guided by quarterback Tayden Carpenter, who has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, while throwing for 3,061 yards and 39 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

    Cincinnati commit Ty Perkins (50 receptions, 1,145 yards, 16 TD) and Wisconsin commit Jaquez Keyes (1,041 yards, 164 carries, 21 TD) are also focal points of a balanced offense.

    Canfield is making its second state final appearance, and is seeking its first-ever state title. The 2005 Cardinals fell to Toledo Central Catholic 31-29 in the Division II championship game. Like this week’s game, that contest was played on Dec. 2.

    After losing in the state semifinals in both 2020 and 2021, Bloom-Carroll is making its first-ever state final appearance. The Bulldogs advanced with a 35-12 win over Tippecanoe.

    Bloom-Carroll is in the playoffs for a 10th time, including each of the last seven years.

    Bloom-Carroll lost its season-opener to Harvest Prep and has since won 14 straight. Guided by first-year coach Jeremy McKinney, the Bulldogs strength is their massive offensive line. It consists of; Dylan Chittum (6-4, 265), Jaden Ball (6-4, 280), Zane Gogolin (6-0, 330), Will Green (6-10, 305), Grant Dolan (6-3, 250) and Wyatt Huston (5-10, 265).

    Warren JFK and New Bremen are meeting in the Division VII title game for the second time in three years. In 2020, New Bremen defeated JFK 31-0 to capture the title in its first-ever state final appearance. The Cardinals – of the Midwest Athletic Conference – own a 16-4 record in six playoff appearances.

    New Bremen’s regular season schedule included eight opponents which advanced to the playoffs.

    Kennedy is playing in its seventh title game, winning championships in 1991 and 2016. JFK came up short in title games in 1989, 1992, 2006 and 2020.

    The Mahoning Valley last sent three teams to title games in 1994. McDonald and Wellsville were defeated while West Branch won the Division III championship. In 1989, Campbell Memorial, McDonald and JFK all fell in their respective championship games.

    The Mahoning Valley has sent at least one team to the finals in 33 of the 51 years of the tournament. Overall, area schools own a 21-22 record in title games.

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