Division I State Final Revisited: Video, Quotes and a fantastic finish


St. Edward QB Kevin Burke scores a TD in the D-I state final. St. Ed won its first title 35-28.

The Division I state final between Huber Heights Wayne and Lakewood St. Edward had everything you can think of: the state’s best player, the state’s top team, a couple comebacks, last second heroics and a first-time winner. Here’s how it went down…



HIGHLIGHT VIDEO By ScoutingOhio/Mark Porter




By Alex Sator

CANTON, OHIO—Lakewood St. Edward captured its first ever OHSAA Division-I football championship by coming from behind to defeat Huber Heights Wayne, 35-28, Saturday night, December 4, at Fawcett Stadium.

The Eagles (15-0) prevailed despite having to face down a driving snow storm as well as the man who is generally regarded as the best quarterback prospect in the country—Ohio State commitment, Braxton Miller.

They accomplished both, before a crowd of 9,316 (the best crowd of the championship weekend, regardless of venue), with style.

“I’ve always been about St. Eds, even so, winning a game like this is a lot for me to process,” Eagle quarterback, Kevin Burke said.

“Literally, it is a dream come true for all of us, but especially for me. I never really thought that I’d be here and…

“It’s our first state championship!”

St. Edward came back from deficits of 21-7 and 28-27 late in this contest, and it was largely due to the solid ball-handling and steady judgment of their senior signal caller.
Wayne’s gambling defense and the sketchy weather conditions conspired to make Burke the focal point of the evening, and he failed to disappoint.

He threw for 89 yards and a TD, and contributed 130 yards (15 carries and a TD) on the ground.

That is pretty much his standard contribution to the Eagles this year as he had 1,564 yards passing (15 TDs) and 1,054 rushing yards (14 Tds)entering this contest.

“A quarterback’s job is to execute and make plays,” said Burke after the game. “And if I’m not steady and making good decisions then why should anyone else?

“It’s not about the my personal statistics, it’s all about the leadership. That’s my job.”

For his part, Miller was 15-for-24 passing for 200 yards (and two TDs and 2 INTs). He also had 64 yards rushing (on 15 carries for 2 more TDs).

“I left it all on the field,” Miller told the assembled press. “This was a good game. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Although these were clearly the two best squads in the state by the end of the season, the road to the Canton was full of twists and turns for both.

Homecoming at a Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division school is a lot like Homecoming was at the school you attended—your college, that is.

If you were to close down all of the schools in the Midwest Athletic Conference–perhaps the best conference regardless of size in the state regardless of sport–and put all of their students onto one campus it would have to have enough room for 1165 boys.

That’s an average of 129.44 per school… don’t worry I’ll get to the point.

According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Centerville has 1003 boys, and Wayne has 859.

Their fellow GWOC-Central teams? Beavercreek has 981; Springfield, 980; Fairmont, 923; and Northmont has only 708.

These are among the Midwest’s’ biggest schools, and they tend to have big Homecomings. In Wayne’s case, they had enough alumni band members on hand to do a double Script Ohio at halftime.


So, Homecoming is a big deal at Wayne, and Springfield head coach Rick Robertson saw it as a big opportunity.

“Lucky me,” he no doubt laughed, big time.

The short story is that Springfield, behind super-linebacker Trey De Priest (an Alabama recruit), was winning this Homecoming game, 21-0, in the fourth quarter.

But Wayne’s Braxton Miller wouldn’t be denied.

The Warriors scored three touchdowns in a little over three minutes to tie the game as 21-21.

But then on the ensuing kickoff, Springfield’s George Walker brought it back 92-yards for the game winning score; and in the end, Robertson’s staff led the Wildcats in doing grass drills on the W at midfield.

Pretty provocative, no?

Braxton Miller’s senior season, much of it already spent dinged-up, wasn’t turning out anything at all like everyone thought it would.

Please watch my exclusive video to see how it went down. You’ll find it all: game footage, interviews, and analysis at MVPhd:


At the OHSAA statewide media teleconference last week, Minton was asked what was going through his mind at the time.

“They were happy,” laughed Minton.

Minton, is always a tremendous interview. Check out my take on the teleconference and the rest of his interview (as well as St. Edward’s head coach Rick Finoti) at the MVP podcast:


Rick Finoti is a fine coach, in fact he is the AP Division-I Coach of the year. The best case to be made on his behalf is that he found a way to take an under achieving senior class and make them nearly a perfect high school football team in just two years at St. Ed.

Last season,they were just 4-6. Going into this week 8 game, The Eds were a perfect 7-0.

Meanwhile, Desales was 4-3, having faced one of the hardest schedules this state has ever seen—regardless of division. They were led by Ohio State recruit, senior running back Warren Ball.

But then DeSales decided to hold Ball out in order to get him healthy for the next week’s game against their league rivals from Watterson (who eventually won the 2010 OHSAA D-II Championship)–and St Edwards just rolled, and rolled, and rolled.

Please check out my exclusive video at MVPhd, for highlights, interviews, and more. I drove a long, long way to cover this blowout of a game—and Ohio State recruit OT Kyle Kalis was worth it all by himself:


By now it was obvious to all that Rick Finoti’s kids were no 4-6 team.

Kevin Burke was a great leader at quarterback—a nice start for Finoti.

Reggie Terrell and Quincy Jones were just as dangerous with the ball.

Two-Hundred-and-twenty-five pound DE Deonte Gibson, signed a letter of intent for Pittsburgh

And at least five other seniors will sign letters, too.

You just had to see this team play. Jay Minton calls them the “Green Bay Packers,” and it’s not just because of their uniforms.

Every time I have seen them their offensive line did exactly what it wanted to do, pretty much all of the time, every time.

Amazing stuff.

Catch his comments at the MVP podcast:


So, although St. Ed’s road was full of twists and turns, 2010 was just one rocking joy ride for them all year long.

That wasn’t the case at Wayne High School. After the Springfield game, they were falling behind in Harbin ratings points and they were in danger of not qualifying for the playoffs.

So, week nine was just another week in the GWOC-Central, and in this case it was time for Wayne to play Centerville.

Centerville had just clobbered two-time defending OHSAA D-IV champions the Alter Knights and they were generally regarded as the Miami Valley’s best team.

I covered this game, and I kept thinking to myself,”Oh my God, here’s another 4-3 team, playing an obvious super team…”

But what a game!

It was also the Thursday night ESPN national Game of the Week.

I’ll give you a clue: Wayne turned the conference race upside down by winning, 34-10.

Miller was 18-of-24 passing for 225 yards with two touchdowns.

Get the rest at MVPhd!


And then on November 23, Wayne beat Centerville again—this time in the Region 4 final at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, 36-33…

…in double overtime.

You have to love that GWOC!

Wayne wouldn’t lose again until their appearance in the D-I Final.

This senior class at St. Edward was highly touted, and after a 4-6 2009 season no one knew what to think. Second-year head coach Finoti was a defensive coordinator at Mayfield High School.

And this class had already seen two other head coaches.

But he had an incredible 34 seniors to pick from—17 of which started in the championship game—and he knew in his heart that he was blessed.

“It’s all about the E!” chanted the student section relentlessy.

“It’s just like a movie,” Deonte Gibson kept repeating.

“I’ve never seen a line like that before,” visiting coaches kept telling me on the sidelines.

MVPhd: It’s just like being there, without—you know—actually having to be there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *