Division VI State Final Preview: Traditional Powers Clash in Rare Meeting of Elite

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JJHuddle State Football Coverage

The D-VI State Championship has arrived. Whether you’re headed to Stark County or headed to the couch to watch on TV, here’s what you need to knowKeys, Two Cents, Stories, Stats, Top Players, Quotes, Notes & More.


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D-VI STATE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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MARION LOCAL (12-2) vs NEWARK CATHOLIC (12-2)

DIVISION VI STATE FINAL
Marion Local (12-2) vs Newark Catholic (12-2)
Where: Friday, 11 a.m. @ Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
LISTEN LIVE: Click Here to Listen Live to the D-VI Final
Background: Despite combining for 47 playoff appearances, 21 title game appearances, 13 state titles and 114 postseason wins, this is the first time Marion Local and Newark Catholic have met in a state final…Marion Local did beat Newark Catholic 21-14 in a 2003 D-VI state semifinal. It’s the only meeting between the two.

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Marion Local (12-2/ONG JJH #2/AP #7)

Head Coach: Tim Goodwin
Nickname: Flyers
Affiliation: Midwest Athletic Conference
School-Type: Public
2012 Seed: 3 (Region 24)
2012 Regional Tournament: Bradford (W, 53-27); ONG JJH #3 Minster (W, 41-34); St. Henry (W, 28-21)
2012 State Semifinal: ONG JJH #1/AP #2, McComb (W, 34-28 3OT)
State Championships: 5 (11, 07, 06, 01, 00)
State Semifinal Appearances: 11 (12, 11, 09, 08, 07, 06, 03, 01, 00, 99, 81)
State Final Appearances: 7 (12, 11, 07, 06, 03, 01, 00)
All-Time Tournament Record: 47-9

The Difference Makers:
*QB/DB Adam Bertke, jr.; Earned first team All-MAC DB honors, despite not starting there until Week 6. Bertke is a D-I QB recruit who has thrown for 2,071 yards and 13 TDs and rushed for 965 yards and 15 TDs.  He has 68 tackles and four INTs on defense. Said Goodwin: “He’s had a great year for us. He’s delivered big-time.”
*RB/DB Jacy Goettemoeller, so.: First team All-MAC RB has rushed for 1,557 yards and 27 TDs. He also has four TDs receiving. On defense, Goettemoller has a team-high five INTs (and 51 tackles). Said Goodwin: “He has open-field ability that not many kids have. He makes us look better and play better.”
*OL/DL Kyle Mescher, sr.: First team All-MAC selection on both sides fo the ball (OL & LB). ML’s leading tackler (132 tcakles).
*OLB Alaric Keller, sr.: First team All-MAC LB has 112 tackles adn five sacks.
*WR/DB Mark Thobe, sr.: Second team All-MAC WR has 62 tackles.

The Story: With only one playoff appearance (1981) prior to 1999, defending state champion Marion Local is making its seventh state championship game appearance in the last 14 years. The Flyers have won five championships in those seven trips and are looking to win back-to-back titles for the third time (did it in 2000-01 and 2006-07)… ML is from the MAC, a conference that oozes excellence. The next state title in any sport by a MAC school will be the conference’s 100th overall (started in 1973). Marion Local gets first crack. Said Goodwin: “For us (being from the MAC) in D-VI is a huge advantage – if we could ever play someone from out of our conference that is. It just makes you stronger. If we go and get behind Friday that’s not going to be a big deal to our kids. (Being from the MAC) makes you tougher physically and mentally.”

Key: Ball security. In one of its losses (Versailles) ML turned it over four times. In its other loss (Coldwater), a Cavaliers INT return for a TD before half broke open a tie game…The turning point for ML came in Week 6 when it beat Delphos St. John’s 14-0. In that game Goettemoeller and Bertke started on defense and the Flyers transitioned from a mostly spread offense to a more traditional two-back set. Said Goodwin: “Little by little from that time on we’ve steadily improved.”

Two Cents: One MAC school (Coldwater) is making its fourth straight appearance in a state football final this year. Don’t be surprised if Marion Local does the same in two years. The Flyers are young. ML lost 14 seniors off last year’s team and only has six seniors on this year’s roster (one of which was lost to injury in Week 2). Said Goodwin: “We saw what was coming for years (and we were worried). We had a senior class that didn’t win a game in junior high and a junior class that I think won one game in junior high. Those are (our) top two grades. But we have a great sophomore class that didn’t lose a game in junior high. It worked out well because that sophomore class came along at the perfect time and got to play right away.”

Coach’s Quote: “The coaches to a man respect these six seniors probably more than any senior class we’ve ever had. This class – when they were younger – they didn’t win a game in junior high. I think they went one year where they didn’t even score a touchdown. For one reason or another a lot of their friends gave up football, but these six stuck with it and stuck through the losing. We respect the heck out of these kids. Their grit and toughness is really something else.”

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Newark Catholic (12-2/ONG JJH #8/AP #9)

Head Coach: Bill Franks
Nickname: Green Wave
Affiliation: Mid-State League
School-Type: Non-Public
2012 Seed: 2 (Region 23)
2012 Regional Tournament: Lancaster Fairfield Christian (W, 41-14); Glouster Trimble (W, 20-13); Danville (W, 48-46)
State Semifinal: ONG JJH #5/AP #1 Mogadore (W, 38-21)
State Championships: 8 (07, 91, 87, 86, 85, 84, 82, 78)
State Semifinal Appearances: 24 (12, 07, 05, 03, 02, 00, 93, 92, 91, 90, 88, 87, 86, 85, 84, 83, 82, 81, 80, 78, 76, 75, 74, 73)
State Final Appearances: 14 (12, 07, 92, 91, 87, 86, 85, 84, 83, 82, 81, 80, 78, 75)
All-Time Tournament Record: 67-23

The Difference Makers:
*QB/DB Chayce Crouch, jr.:
Crouch is a big QB that can run. He’s thrown for 1,837 yards and 16 TDs and rushed for 10 TDs. Crouch punts and kicks. Said Franks: “He’s really hitting on all cylindars now. Feel like he’ll be a D-I recruit without question.”
*RB/DB Kevin Bourne, sr.: One of the state’s most dynamic players and holds multiple school records in various fields (offense, defense and special teams). Bourne has scored TDs rushing (14), receiving (seven) and on fumble (two), kickoff (one) and interceptions (two) returns. He is NC’s leading rusher, receiver and returner Said Franks: “I’ve coached 21 years and I’ll take him over everybody. He does everything.”
*WR/DB Mitch Cox, sr: An outstanding athlete that stars in three sports. In addition to football he’s a big part of the Green Wave’s basketball team, which is ranked No. 2 in the ONG JJH Preseason D-IV Power Poll. Cox will play college baseball at Ashland University.

The Story: Newark Catholic is making its OHSAA record 14th state championship game appearance. The Green Wave have won eight titles, which is tied for second with Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. Newark Catholic is first in games played and wins in the playoffs with 90 and 67, respectively…NC won the MSL for first time since joining the league six years ago…Newark Catholic is looking to win a state title in its fifth straight decade…NC has a plus-14 edge in turnovers this season.

Key: Balance. Said Franks: “We share the ball.” The Green Wave feature multiple ball carriers and multiple receivers and they’ll need all to contribute. Bourne could be the wild card and NC will need a balanced effort from him too – offense, defense and special teams. The kid is everywhere and does everything. He’s a game-changer. Said Franks: “He’ll be playing D-I or D-II football next year.”

Two Cents: This game is about two titantic programs, but one has been around significantly longer. NC’s excellence spans 34 years. ML’s just 12. Said Franks: “We always watch Marion Local from afar and we admire how they do things. We look at them and they look a lot like us. They focus on fundamentals and balance. There’s a lot of similarities in the programs. They’re the new kid on the block, so to speak, with their five titles in the last 12 years. We take great pride in the fact that we’ve won our eight titles in every decade. It’s a big program goal for us (to add a fifth decade).”

Coach’s Quote: “We’re big believers that the finest steel has to go through the hottest heat and we’ve got a little heat in our schedule. When we react the right way and deal with disappoint the right way it makes us strong and right now we feel very good about our team. We’re a strong unit with some good chemistry and balance.”

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