You vote, you decide…who had Ohio’s best team performance in 2013? Below are the nominees for the Ohio National Guard JJHuddle Ohio Football Team of the Year. The choices are impressive…and it’s up to you who wins.
Ohio National Guard JJHuddle Team of the Year
Marion Local (VOTE)
The Flyers entered this season looking to win three straight state titles and have taken everyone’s best punches. The result? A 12-0 record heading into the D-VII Region 26 final. Marion, ranked No. 1 in the final National Guard JJHuddle and AP state polls, won the MAC outright this season for the fifth time overall but for just the second time in 31 years. Despite injuries (the Flyers played four QBs, including Pitt recruit Adam Bertke who was lost to a broken finger for a few games mid-season), Marion beat three teams that advanced to regional finals (West Jefferson, Delphos St. John’s and Coldwater) by the combined score of 104-28. The Flyaers also won their 50th postseason game with a 35-28 win over Covington in the Region 26 semifinals.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (VOTE)
The defending D-III state champions finished the regular season 10-0 for the first time since 1953 with a 40-7 win over Youngstown Ursuline in Week. 10. SVSM also beat Massillon Washington for the first time since 1991 (28-23 in Week 9) and have allowed more than seven points in just four of 12 games. In regards to Ursuline, Mooney and archrival Akron Hoban, SVSM beat those three teams 106-13 combined.
Glouster Trimble (VOTE)
The Tomcats finished 10-0 for the first time since 1989 and for just the third time in school history with a 59-0 win over Federal Hocking in Week 10. For the second consecutive season Trimble set school records for shutouts in a season (seven) and points allowed (33). The outright Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division is the program’s first outright title since 2009. Heading into the D-VII Region 25 final, Trimble has recorded shutouts in 14 of its last 24 games and has allowed a total of 134 points over that span (5.58 ppg). With a win over Steubenville Catholic Central in the regional semis, Trimble advanced to the first regional final in school history.
The Blue Devils finished 10-0 for just the second time in school history and first since 1978 with a 60-0 win over Marietta in Week 10. Zanesville outgained the Tigers 488-65 in total yards and captured the East Central Ohio League Scarlet Division title in the process. Heading into the postseason, the Blue Devils had one playoff win in history. They doubled that en route to earning a berth in the D-II Region 5 final.
This was the year the Cavaliers playoff streak ended right? Wrong. Despite heavy graduation losses from a team that made a fourth straight state final last year (and won the D-V title), the Cavaliers finished the regular season 8-2 and extended the state’s longest active postseason streak to 18 years. Coldwater, which finished No. 4 in the final National Guard JJHuddle D-V Power Poll, handed poll champion Columbus Hartley its lone loss. The Cavaliers two losses? To D-IV No. 1 Kenton and D-VII No. 1 Marion Local.
The Tigers finished 10-0 for the first time in 41 years with a 46-0 win over MIlford in Week. 10. That win secured an outright Eastern Cincinnati League title and earned the Tigers a home playoff game. In the postseason for the first time since 2002, Loveland doubled the program’s previous postseason win total (one) with victories over Butler (54-0) and Cincinnati Northwest (45-14) en route to its first ever regional final (D-II Region 6). Through 12 games, Loveland has outscored opponents 507-81 and owns four shutouts.
The Red Devils beat previously unbeaten Springfield Shawnee, 21-7, in the only Week 10 battle of unbeaten teams in the state of Ohio to lock up the No. 1 seed in D-III Region 10 and finish 10-0 for just the second time in school history. The win snapped a three-game losing streak to the Braves. The Red Devils never trailed and held Shawnee’s offense 40 points below its average. The game also decided the Central Buckeye Conference’s Kenton Trail division championship. Tippecanoe, which had two postseason wins in its history entering the playoffs, beat Kenton Ridge and Thurgood Marshall to advance to the school’s first regional final.
Since joining the Southeast Ohio Athletic League in 1925, Athens had never won three straight football league titles – until now. The Bulldogs beat Nelsonville-York 56-20 in Week 10 to win the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division outright. What else did Athens do this year? By beating Tri-Valley 55-52 in OT in the D-III Region 9 semifinals, the Bulldogs became just the sixth school in state history to score 700 points in a season.
Last year’s National Guard JJHuddle Team of the Year is back in contention. Why? It made more history. A year after going 10-0 and winning their first Northwest Ohio Athletic League title since 1986, the Golden Bears duplicated that feat with another 10-0 title run. After winning the school’s first playoff game ever last year, Bryan won two straight this season to advance to the school’s first ever regional final (D-III Region 12). Bryan also stretched its regular season win streak to 22 games and won at Patrick Henry for the first time since 1999.
Mansfield Senior (VOTE)
The Tygers have been playing football for 114 years, but they’ve never had a 10-0 team – until now. Mansfield finished the regular season undefeated and 10-0 with a 45-16 win over rival Mansfield Madison. The victory clinched the team’s second straight Ohio Cardinal Conference title and secured the school’s first home playoff game since 2000. The last Mansfield team to finish unbeaten was the 1942 squad that went 8-0-2. The program’s only other team to finish with a perfect record was in 1931 (8-0).