For the second straight season the Muscle
Milk & JJHuddle Power Poll has beaten the AP State Poll; Only two of the final 12 teams are private schools; Five finalists own ridiculous creds; and
more on this week’s Insider…
Week 15 is here…It’s State Championship Week.
Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Poll beats the AP Poll – Again: For the second straight season the Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Poll has outperformed the AP State Poll. Of the 24 state semifinal teams, the Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Poll had 21 ranked in its final Top 10s. Twenty-Three of the 24 teams were ranked or listed among “Others to Watch.” By comparison the AP Poll had only 18 of the final 24 teams ranked in its Top 10s and had just 19-of-24 teams ranked or listed among its “Others Receiving Votes.” One team that stumped us both was Elida (although we did list Elida as a team to watch in our D-III preseason rankings).
Here are some other interesting comparisons:
* In Divisions I, II, IV, V and VI, the Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Poll had all four state semifinalist teams ranked in the Top 10 or “Others to Watch”. The AP Poll matched that feat in just D-II.
* The Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Polls had 11 of 12 state finalists ranked in the Top 10 of their respective polls. The AP Poll had nine of 12.
* The Muscle Milk & JJHuddle Power Polls had all 12 state finalists listed in at least “Others to Watch” in the final poll. The AP Poll had 10 of 12.
Only two of the final 12 teams are from private schools: For just the second time since 2000 and the first time since 2006, just two of the final 12 teams in the state come from private schools. Last year there were five private schools in state finals and in 2005 and 2001 over half the field (seven) was private. Private schools have made up at least a third (four schools) of the state finals field eight of the last 12 years.
224 postseason wins and 25 state
are 12 teams in the state finals this weekend and seven of them
are looking for their first state championship. The other five schools –
St. Ignatius, Youngstown Mooney, Kenton, Coldwater and Marion Local
– each have at least two titles. In fact, those five teams have
combined for a playoff record of 224-58 and have won 25 state
titles. Ignatius leads the way with 10 titles and a playoff record
of 60-12. Mooney has seven titles and is 55-17 in the postseason. Marion
Local has four titles and is 42-9 in the playoffs. Coldwater (45-14)
and Kenton (22-8) each have two titles. All five schools could add to
their hauls this week as none play each other.
Redemption: Hats off to New Washington Buckeye Central Head Coach Jason Ratliff who led his team to a 22-21 win over Berlin Central Western Reserve in the D-VI state semifinals at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The victory for Ratliff was especially sweet since the last time he was on that field was in 1997 as the defensive coordinator of Norwalk St. Paul. That day St. Paul – and Ratliff – lost 42-28 to Delphos St. John’s. Said Ratliff: “To walk off that field (Saturday) with a victory felt like some wrong had been righted.”
Extra Special: Marion Local’s produced tons of standout players, but they’ve never had one quite like senior Justin Rutschilling. A two-way starter, Rutschilling made first team All-Midwest Athletic Conference this season on both sides of the ball (offensive line and linebacker). Why is that special? Rutschilling didn’t play varsity last year – he played on the JV as a junior. He’s the first ML player ever to play JV as a junior and earned first team All-MAC honors as a senior. Joked ML Head Coach Tim Goodwin when asked why Rutschilling didn’t play last year: “I think it was just bad coaching on our part. In hindsight we’re like ‘Why didn’t we play this kid last year?’ He’s just taken it to a whole new extreme. He is our emotional leader, no doubt about it.”
Coldwater is seasoned: When its season ends in the D-V state final (against Kirtland), Coldwater will have played 11 playoff teams in 15 games. The Cavs will have also played three state finalists (Kenton, Marion Local and Kirtland).
Mooney’s Homefield: Youngstown Mooney’s appearance in the D-III state final marks the fourth time the Cardinals will play in Fawcett Stadium this year. Some have cried foul. Homefield advantage? Mooney head coach P.J. Fecko doesn’t think so.
“In the big picture of things it doesn’t really matter where it’s at,” Fecko said. “I think getting caught up in all that stuff is somewhat silly. It’s an outstanding venue.”
Mooney opened the season at Fawcett against Canton McKinley and has played two playoff games there – through no fault of their own (OHSAA matter).
Said Springfield Shawnee Head Coach Rick Meeks, insinuating what he expected to be a heavy crowd support lean to the local Cardinals: “Hopefully they don’t have too big of a homefield advantage.”
No pun intended.