Toughness, ‘Come to Jesus,’ the Green Bay Packers, ‘Pops’ and more. Read what this weekend’s championship coaches have to say on football, life and lifting that state title trophy.
Quotes you need to hear before the 39th annual Ohio State Football Championships this weekend:
“I don’t think we relish it. We’d rather be on the other end to
be honest. But it’s not something we’re going to shy away from. I don’t
know if relish is the word, but people always say ‘wouldn’t you like
that chance (to shock the world)’ and yeah we do, but nobody can tell me
they wouldn’t like to be on the other side. It’s like Ohio State
playing OU. I’d rather be Ohio State.” – Shadyside head coach Mark
Holenka on facing heavy favorite Delphos St. John’s in the Division VI
“There’s 10 kids in our senior class and they’ve been a part of 52 victories in four years. It’s really just been a pleasure to coach this group over the last four years. We’re going to be very, very sorry to seem them leave after Saturday.” – Youngstown Ursuline head coach Dan Reardon on his senior class on the eve of that group’s fourth straight state final.
“We lost a game in the middle of the season – the Springfield game and that was total devastation to us. We didn’t expect to lose that game and we shouldn’t have lost that game and we did and it turned out to be the best thing that happened to us this year. We had a little ‘Come to Jesus talk’ the morning after. I’ve been coaching for 29 years now and I’ve never had a team that laid it out like those kids did the next morning. It was time to shut up or put up and they were going to put up.” – Wayne head coach Jay Minton on his team’s turning point this season after a 3-3 start.
“There’s certainly a lot of John with us still. With the continuity of the same staff the philosophy has not really changed. Even though John and I’s personalities are different that core value of doing things right hasn’t changed. John’s name does come up pretty much on a weekly basis in someway, somehow. Our slogan this year was ‘Never give up, Never give in’ much like him. We have a big rock out at the stadium that has that inscription on there in the end zone in memory of John. Since we’re traveling now, we bring a football and that’s our traveling rock. A lot of what John brought to this program is what we really try to believe in. I’m sure that he’s looking down on us and proud of us.” – First-year Coldwater head coach Chip Otten when asked about longtime head coach John Reed who led the Cavs to the state final last year before passing away in May after a six-month bout with esophageal cancer.
“We had a pretty good lesson learned last year. We were very proud of what we did and we’re proud of that state runner-up trophy because we did some pretty good things to get there, but there was a little bit of a bitter taste in our mouths coming back into this year. And the kids were the driving force behind that. I didn’t have to say anything. When you have 21 seniors and they talk as a group – the other kids listen.” – Delphos St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte on his team’s third straight trip to the D-VI state finals and last year’s last second loss to Norwalk St. Paul.
“We’re very, very impressed because we’re familiar with Alter and for a team to beat them that has to be an outstanding team. Not many people in the last five years have beaten Alter. We know we’ll have our hands full with Hartley.” – Chagrin Valley head coach Mark Iammarino on not facing Kettering Alter in a rematch of last year’s D-IV title game the Knights won. Hartley beat two-time defending Alter 29-28 last week in the state semifinals.
“I don’t think there will be a letdown. I think a couple things. I think the Ohio High School Football Playoffs is the greatest setup in all of high school athletics in the country. I’m so excited about our playoff system. I think it’s great. No where else can you play five heavyweights in consecutive weeks. We beat Kettering Alter last week, but doggone it we had just as tough a game against Ironton the week before and had just as tough a game as that against Heath the week before. That’s what the Ohio playoffs are all about – you’re playing great team, after great team, after great team, after great team five consecutive weeks. We’ve talked quite a bit about that. Being in the state championship we have a very mature and goal-oriented football team. I promise you the kids won’t be thinking about Kettering Alter. They’ll be thinking about what they have to do to stop Chagrin Falls.” – Columbus Hartley head coach Brad Burchfield on the OHSAA football system and his team facing Chagrin Falls in the D-IV final after its big semifinal win over two-time defending champion Kettering Alter.
“Oh no doubt. They are in the state championship for a reason at 12-1 also. And they beat St. V who we didn’t beat so that tells you a lot about what we’re dealing with.”
– Akron Buchtel head coach Ricky Powers when asked if Columbus Watterson’s defense was going to be the best the Griffins have faced all year. The two meet in the D-III final.
“Everybody at this point is a very good football team. I don’t know if you can honestly say that there’s a certain type of team you wish you were playing. Yes, Trotwood’s a great football team and yes they have lots of speed and they’re very similar to us. I’m sure it’s going to be a great football game.” – Maple Heights head coach Todd Filtz when asked about the similarity of his Mustangs and their D-II opponent Trotwood-Madison.
“That’s ‘Pops’ man. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to because of the work ethic he’s instilled in his kids. We’ve kept a great relationship since I was in high school to this point now. Every year I tell him which football players are going to run track and he gets them out there running and helps them with their self-esteem sometimes. He’s been able to pull some things out of some guys some times that I haven’t been able to.” – Trotwood-Madison head coach Maurice Douglass on Trotwood track coach Randy Waggoner who’s coached the Rams to several state track titles and state records (in the 1,600-meter relay most notably).
“Oh my gosh – you start right away with No. 5. Braxton Miller is a tremendous athlete and a great leader. He’s able to make something out of nothing and he’s an effective passer. So right then and there between him and (Anthone) Taylor in the backfield there’s great concern for that team in terms of playmaker ability.” – Lakewood St. Edward head coach Rick Finotti on facing Huber Heights Wayne in the D-I state final.
“Our kids love it there and they are excited to be there. It should be an exciting day for them. If we didn’t have to go up against the Green Bay Packers it might be a little more exciting.” – Minton on Wayne, which has played at Fawcett Stadium in the past as part of a non-league contract with McKinley, facing St. Edward there in the D-I final.
“You know at 1-2 we were just hoping to win 5-6 games at that point. But we got better and better and we got in the playoffs. We played two really tough games the first two weeks and then played really well the last two weeks and now we’re going to face the best team we’ve played all year.” – Otten on Coldwater’s 1-2 start and facing Ursuline again in the D-V state final.
“It’s sad that you have to win for all these things to happen but there has to be a spark somewhere and I guess that spark is winning. This kids have been out there doing this for four years but like I said if it takes winning for the community to come out and support them then so be it. I wish it didn’t have to be that way but in the real world it is. I’m proud of my kids for being able to bridge that gap.” – Buchtel’s Powers when asked about the recent out-pouring of strong community support for the Griffins.
“The one thing I believe is that toughness in the weight room and toughness in your program comes from how your offensive line plays. You can’t have tough linebackers if they’re not seeing tough lineman in camp. You can’t have tough defensive lineman if they are not seeing a tough offensive line in camp. We believe the toughness of the offensive line resonates through out the entire program.” – St. Edward’s Finotti on the Eagles mammoth offensive line, which some people think is not only the best in Ohio this year but in several seasons.