CLAYTON – Getting to the state championship game usually allows for some period of enjoyment.
But how long is enough?
“I’m going to enjoy this for 23 minutes and then I’m going to start thinking about Mooney,” Coldwater head coach John Reed said.
Coldwater continued its dominating trip through the postseason Saturday evening, exploding for 448 yards of offense and forcing five turnovers in a 56-14 Division IV state semifinal win over Williamsport Westfall at Northmont High School.
“When you have lines as athletic as they have, you can do a lot of things,” Westfall head coach Scott Keller said.
The Cavaliers (13-1) return to the state championship game for the first time since 2005, where they will face Cardinal Mooney in a 3 p.m. Saturday kickoff at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The game involves the last three state champions from the division. Coldwater defeated Mooney 33-9 in 2005, while Mooney won state crowns last year and in 2004.
Coldwater junior Tony Harlamert had eight carries for 61 yards and three touchdowns in the Cavalier win, while also adding a back breaking 75-yard interception to pay dirt. Quarterback Cory Klenke completed 8-of-13 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns; and collected an interception return for a touchdown.
“I was impressed with our offensive line and being able to protect,” Reed said. “We ran the ball well. We were frustrated with ourselves coming out of halftime and we just decided to run the ball, and we were able to do it well.”
Coldwater finished the game picking up 299 yards rushing on 43 carries, paced by Klenke carrying six times for 84 yards.
The Cavaliers set the tone early by scoring the first 28 points of the contest. Harlamert scored on runs of three and four yards in the first quarter to give Coldwater a 14-0 lead.
Westfall (13-1), making its first-ever appearance in the state football semifinals, followed the second Harlamert touchdown run by putting together a drive into Coldwater territory. Facing a third-and-10 from the Cavalier 29, quarterback DJ Cain threw a ball that was intercepted by Harlamert and returned 75 yards to put Coldwater ahead 21-0.
“It looked like the bubble started to leak at that time,” Reed said. “They continued to play hard but they knew at that point it wasn’t going to be their night.”
A 37-yard touchdown pass from Klenke to Mark Steinbrunner put the Cavaliers in front 28-0. Westfall seemed to gain a little momentum when Seth Hardin intercepted Klenke and returned the ball to the Coldwater 47. Five plays later, Cain connected with Ben Cline on a 34-yard touchdown strike to put the Mustangs on the scoreboard going into the locker room.
One of the few negatives for Coldwater in the first half and through the game was kick returns. Westfall gained 235 yards in the department, mostly thanks to Cline.
“We made a couple of mistakes in our kickoff coverage and we have to work hard to correct that,” Reed said.
Coldwater took what little wind Westfall gained in its sails out during the third quarter, scoring on a two-yard run from Harlamert to open the second half and getting a Klenke interception of Cain on the following possession that the Coldwater junior returned 11 yards to pay dirt.
The Coldwater defense shut Westfall down to only 19 yards rushing and 147 yards of total offense. Jack Gose had seven receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown for the Mustangs, and Cain completed 9-of-26 passes for 128 yards. Westfall came into the game averaging 31 points per game in the postseason.
Coldwater Ryan Geier caught four passes for 92 yards and Keith Wenning had 14 carries for 99 yards.
The Cavaliers have outscored its last two opponents by a combined score of 119-28.