Anderson scores first state football title; Redskins outlast Louisville in Division II title game


Cincinnati Anderson Division II State Champs
Helped by a break-out game from senior Nick Truesdell, Anderson captured its first state football title Friday with a 31-25 win over Louisville in the D-II championship game at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Truesdell, a 6-foot-7 receiver, had 201 total yards, including a key 44-yard kickoff return, and two TD receptions. Despite being down 24-7, Louisville rallied to make it close.

MASSILLON ­– Randy Moss and Terrell Owens play for two of the top teams in the National Football League. Nick Truesdell plays for the top Division II team in Ohio.

Friday the trio was mentioned together.

Putting together the best performance of his relatively quiet career, Truesdell blossomed on the state’s biggest stage in helping Cincinnati Anderson defeat Stark County ’s own Louisville 31-25 in the D-II state championship at Massillon ’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Truesdell, a 6-foot-7, 215 pound receiver, caught back-to-back touchdown passes on the Redskins first two possessions and returned a kick 44 yards to set up a pivotal field goal before the end of the first half. Truesdell ended the game with 129 yards on five receptions. He also ran three times for 28 yards.

“Randy Moss, I mean my gosh,” Louisville head coach Paul Farrah said. “We had him the one time doubled on third and ten with two of our best athletes and he just split them and went up and got it. He’s thick. He was able to shield us off just like a basketball player going up for the ball.”

Said Truesdell, who had 41 catches for 582 yards and seven TDs coming in and admitted teammates sometimes call him “T.O.” because he wears No. 81: “I didn’t expect to make this big of an impact at all. I was nervous coming in and in warm ups I was dropping balls. When the game came I was just ready to go.”

Truesdell’s offensive exploits helped fuel an Anderson offense that churned out 399 total yards and had flashes of brilliance.

The Redskins jumped out to a 21-0 lead thanks to three scoring drives of less than two minutes, the last of which was capped by a 3-yard run from junior quarterback Daniel Rod with 2:38 to go before half.

Louisville responded with a scoring drive of its own that finished with a 14-yard pass from Neal Seaman to Brandon Mathie.

On the ensuing kickoff Truesdell returned the ball to the Louisville 35 yard line. Eight plays later Anderson ’s John Howard hit a 19-yard field goal for a 24-7 lead at the break. The score was key.

“That was a killer,” Farrah said. “It was big more to me, because I knew we were down 24-7 and it was going to take 17 (points to get back). The kids just came in the locker room and they were upset because we just couldn’t get off the field. The kid returned a great kickoff return. We had three-four shots at him and didn’t tackle him. He made a play.”

Said Anderson coach Jeff Giesting: “To get up 17 points at the half was huge for us.”

Seaman’s second touchdown pass of the second half to Mathie drew the Leopards to within 24-19 with 2:58 left to play. Instead of opting for an onside kick, Louisville kicked deep and Anderson took over. On the first play from scrimmage, senior Elijah Storey went 67 yards for the winning touchdown.

“I asked my defense what do you want to do – do you want to onside it or kick it deep?” Farrah said. “They said kick it deep and we’ll hold them. (Storey) just cut back (through) the zone and that was it. He cut right through us.”

Seaman hit Bob Swigert for another touchdown with 20 seconds to go, but Anderson recovered the onside kick and secured the school’s first state football title. The Redskins dropped down to D-II this season after spending a lengthy stay in Division I.

“We’ve had some great teams in the past but we were in Division I and we had to play some really good schools and some schools that were a lot bigger than us sometimes. We could never really make a long playoff run,” Giesting said. “This year we felt if we could get in we’d have a chance.” 

Storey led the Anderson rushing attack with 154 yards on 21 carries. Rod completed 12-of-19 passes for 203 yards and had 15 yards on seven carries.

Louisville racked up 386 yards and 27 first downs of its own, but three first half turnovers led to 14 Anderson points.

Seaman rushed for 91 yards on 24 carries and completed 29-of-45 passes for 283 yards and four TDs. Mathie caught 11 passes for 120 yards and three TDs, while Swigert had nine catches for 77 yards. Tyler Jones added six receptions for 64 yards.

Louisville, playing in its first state championship game, was trying to be the first school from Stark County to win a state title since Canton Central Catholic in 2000.

“We were still fighting with 20 seconds to go,” Farrah said. “We made it a game.”


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