Picking the Playoff Winners: Who we say wins state titles this weekend


Here’s who we say wins…

Man beats math – again. After losing to Drew Pasteur and his Fantastic 50 formulas the first
two weeks of the playoffs, I’ve gotten the better of them the last two
weeks. In the state semifinals I had 8 winners, while the Fantastic 50
had 7. Here’s who we say who wins this week…

Man beats math – again.

After losing to Drew Pasteur and his Fantastic 50 formulas the first
two weeks of the playoffs, I’ve gotten the better of them the last two
weeks. I won the regional final round by one game and did it again last
week in the state semifinals. I had 8 winners, while the Fantastic 50
had 7.

I correctly picked the state finals match-ups in D-I, II and V and
got one of the teams right in D-III and VI. D-IV completely through me
for a loop (I had Orrville and Alter).

Regardless, here is who Drew
Pasteur and the Fantastic 50
say wins this week:

Division I: St. Edward over Wayne
Division II: Maple Heights over Trotwood-Madison
Division III: Columbus Watterson over Akron Buchtel
Division IV: Chagrin Falls over Columbus Hartley
Division V: Youngstown Ursuline over Coldwater
Division VI: Delphos St. John’s over Shadyside

Here’s how I see the weekend playing out…



Huber Heights Wayne (12-2) vs Lakewood St. Edward (14-0)
Saturday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Canton Fawcett Stadium

The billing for this game reads something like: “State’s top team vs
State’s top player.” But this match-up is far more than just Wayne QB
Braxton Miller vs the Eagles. Since starting 3-3, Wayne has racked up
eight straight wins and has played as well as anyone in the playoffs.
Miller (Ohio State recruit) has been great in November, but so has
senior RB Anthone Taylor (Miami and Akron offers) and Wayne’s defense.
The key will be whether or not the Warriors can maintain their energy
against St. Edward’s stellar offensive line that includes seniors Geoff
Mogus (Northwestern recruit), Brandon Jackson (Toledo, Ball State, Ohio
and Akron offers) and Trent Rivera and juniors Kyle Kalis (Ohio State
commit) and Tyler Orlosky. The Eagles defensive line – anchored by
senior Deonte Gibson (Pitt) and junior Greg Kuhar (state wrestling
placer) – isn’t bad either. In addition to those two, Miller will have to
contend with a St. Ed’s defensive backfield led by Ball State recruit
Avery Bailey. Keep an eye on Wayne senior WR/SS Tre Moore (Akron, Miami,
Bowling Green, Ball State, Kent offers) and LB Teren Williams (135
tackles, 21 TFL). In the postseason Miller has seemingly been
able to will his team to victory with comeback wins. We think he does it
again here. The Outcome? Wayne 27-24


Maple Heights (14-0) vs Trotwood-Madison (12-2)
Friday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

This game should feature some fireworks. In addition to the possibility
of two 2,000-yard backs (Maple Heights’ DeVonte Ransom needs just 71
yards to join Trotwood’s Antwan Gilbert) this contest features two
offenses averaging 43 and 32 points and over 800 yards of combined
offense a game. Maple Heights QB Shaq Washington (Cincinnati recruit) is a rare
1,000-1,000 guy, having rushed for 1,000 yards this year and thrown for
1,700. He’s accounted for 37 TDs. After throwing for four TDs and four
interceptions in the Rams first four games, Trotwood quarterback Marcus
Graham (Bowling Green offer) has thrown for 17 TDs and two interceptions
during the Rams nine-game win streak. He has 1,662 yards passing and
has also rushed for three TDs. The key will be Trotwood’s defense and
strength of schedule. The Rams played a strong Greater Western Ohio
Conference slate and faced four playoff teams, including D-I stalwarts
Wayne and Springfield (their only two losses and both on the road).
Maple Heights didn’t play a playoff team until Week 11. The Mustangs
faced only one-team with a winning record in the regular season.
Defensively, the Rams have seen some offenses and players that resemble
Maple Heights explosiveness and spread (see Wayne’s Braxton Miller,
Springfield’s George Walker, Winton Woods’ Aaron Kemper, Kings’ Jamire
Westbrook). Leaders and brothers LB Nicholas “Freezer” Grigsby (114 tackles) and
DB George “Bam” Bradley (53 tackles) will have the Rams ready. Grigsby, a senior,
is being courted by many schools (Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas and
MAC offers), while Bradley – it’s widely believed – will be the first
Trotwood player under head coach Maurice Douglass’ reign to get an offer
from Ohio State. The junior already has offers from Northwestern and
Kentucky. Both these teams can and will score. We think Trotwood scores
more. The Outcome? Trotwood 42-35


Columbus Watterson (12-1) vs Akron Buchtel (11-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m., Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

These teams have one common opponent (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) and
one common goal – win the state title. Watterson beat SVSM in Week 1 and
Buchtel lost to the Irish in Week 3. We also think Buchtel loses to
Watterson in Week 15. No doubt Buchtel has some of the best players
Watterson has faced this season, but the Eagles have faired well against
a slate that’s featured some solid offenses. Only one team since Week 2
(Winton Woods) has scored double-figures on Watterson. Buchtel, which
started 1-2  but has gone 10-1 since, has slayed some solid programs in
the postseason (Poland, Padua Franciscan, Mooney and Marlington). Can it
slay one more? We don’t think so? The Outcome? Watterson 20-14


Chagrin Falls (13-1) vs Columbus Hartley (12-2)
Friday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m., Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

If there was one team from last year’s D-IV state final you expected to
get back it was Kettering Alter – not Chagrin Falls. Yet, here are the
Tigers in their second straight state final. Chagrin Falls has overcome
all sorts of injuries and odds this season and has one more hurdle left –
Hartley’s Noah Key. Key is one of the better backs in the state
regardless of division and has rushed for 2,755 yards and 39 TDs this
season. The Hawks beat Alter 29-28 in last week’s state semifinal by
going for and getting a 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.
This team has guts and drive – and we think a state title come Friday
afternoon. The Outcome? Hartley 28-21


Coldwater (12-2) vs Youngstown Ursuline (14-0)
Saturday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m., Canton’s Fawcett Stadium

When the season started, a rematch of last year’s D-V state final looked
like more than a long shot. Yet, here we have it. No team in Ohio this fall has
been playing with a heavier heart or more inspiration than Coldwater,
which is playing its first season in nearly two decades without former head coach John Reed. Reed passed away from esophageal cancer in May after leading
the Cavs to last year’s state final and two previous state titles. Coldwater opened 1-2 under new coach Chip Otten but has since gone 10-1
with the quarterback rotation of sophomore Austin Bruns and senior Ethan
Bettinger. Bruns was the starter in the regular season (2,477 yards and 24 TDs) but went down with an injury in the
regional semifinals. Enter Bettinger who has the Cavs in their fourth
state final in six years. Coldwater senior WR/DB Reese Klenke (1,625
yards and 20 TDs) and RB/LB Adam Rammel (110 tackles) are difference
makers. Speaking of difference makers, Ursuline senior Akise Teague
defines that label. Teague stars on both sides of the ball and in the
return game and has scored 43 TDs this year. He has an offer from
Wisconsin and Ohio State came to see him last week. Overall, the Irish –
who were heavy favorites to win their third straight D-V state title
all year – are led by a senior class of 10 that has been a part of 52
wins and four state finals. Coldwater has been an overwhelming underdog
before and shocked the world (i.e. 2007’s win over nationally-ranked
Youngstown Mooney in the D-IV final) and the last team to beat the Irish
in the postseason was a MAC team (Marion Local in the 2007 D-V final).
Still, Ursuline has been the No. 1 ranked team in the JJHuddle D-V Power Poll all year for a reason. We think the Irish claim the program’s fourth state title. The
Outcome? Ursuline 42-21


Delphos St. John’s (14-0) vs Shadyside (13-1)
Friday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m., Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

David vs Goliath. That’s what this game has been called. And for good
reason. Delphos St. John’s has been the No. 1 team in the JJHuddle D-VI
Power Poll all year and is the two-time defending Midwest Athletic
Conference champion. The Blue Jays are also playing in their third
straight D-VI state final and looking for their sixth title in seven
overall championship game appearances. Since the start of the 2008
season, DSJ is 41-3. It’s 28-1 the last two years with its lone loss
being in the D-VI state final last year. The Jays fell to Norwalk St.
Paul and allowed the game-winning TD with five seconds left. That
disappointment has fueled their drive this season. Senior QB Jordan
Leininger (three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons) and LB Chris
Pohlman (three straight 100-plus tackle seasons) lead the charge.
Shadyside is in its second state championship game in five years and
hoping for different results. The last time the Tigers made the final
they lost to MAC member Marion Local 17-0. The Tigers are riding a
five-game winning streak but haven’t faced near the gauntlet DSJ has in
reaching this plateau. Drew Pasteur and his Fantastic 50 formula lists
the Tigers as 29-point underdogs. Since this classification’s creation in
1994, MAC teams will have now played in 14 of the 17 D-VI title games. The conference owns 10 titles – we think it gets No. 11. The
Outcome? St. John’s 42-7

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