(11-26-17) This week in Canton seven State Football Champions will be crowned. If you like facts and figures you will appreciate the information below.

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Championship Schedule

Thursday, Nov. 30
Div. II – No. 5 Akron Archbishop Hoban (13-1) vs. No. 2 Cincinnati Winton Woods (13-1), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 1
Div. VII – No. 5 Cuyahoga Heights (12-1) vs. Minster (10-4), 10 a.m.
Div. V – No. 3 Wheelersburg (14-0) vs. No. 1 Pemberville Eastwood (14-0), 3 p.m.
Div. I – No. 8 Pickerington Central (13-1) vs. No. 6 Mentor (13-1), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 2
Div. VI – No. 1 Marion Local (14-0) vs. No. 2 Kirtland (14-0), 10 a.m.
Div. IV – No. 7 Clarksville Clinton-Massie (13-1) vs. No. 1 Steubenville (14-0), 3 p.m.
Div. III – Dresden Tri-Valley (13-1) vs. No. 1 Trotwood-Madison (14-0), 8 p.m.

Below courtesy of OHSAA –

Back in the Spotlight
Six of the 14 state finalists are making a return trip from the 2016 state championship games that were held at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
– Akron Archbishop Hoban is the two-time defending Div. III state champ, but is playing in Div. II this year.
– Trotwood-Madison was the 2016 Div. III runner-up to Akr. Archbishop Hoban.
– Steubenville was the 2015 & 2016 Div. IV runner-up to Cols. Bishop Hartley both years.
Marion Local is the defending Div. VI state champ.
– Cuyahoga Heights was the 2016 Div. VI runner-up to Marion Local, but is playing in Div. VII this year.
Minster was the 2016 Div. VII runner-up to Warren John F. Kennedy.

State Finalists by Regional Seed
The Division V final between Pemberville Eastwood and Wheelersburg is the only state championship game to feature two teams that were a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. The following regional seeds have advanced to the state finals:
No. 1 seed – 5 (Hoban, Trotwood, Steubenville, Wheelersburg, Eastwood)
No. 2 seed – 3 (Winton Woods, Marion Local, Cuyahoga Hts.)
No. 3 seed – 3 (Pickerington Central, Mentor, Kirtland)
No. 4 seed – 2 (Clinton-Massie, Minster)
No. 5 seed – 1 (Tri-Valley)
No. 6 seed – 0
No. 7 seed – 0
No. 8 seed – 0

State Championship Game Experience
Marion Local (Div. VI) is making its 12th trip to the state championship game, which is the most among all 2017 finalists and in the Top 5 all-time in Ohio. The Flyers have nine titles and two runner-up finishes. Steubenville (Div. IV) is making its ninth appearance (three titles, five runner-up). The other state finalists include Mentor (three appearances, all runners-up), Pickerington Central (two, both runners-up), Cincinnati Winton Woods (one, title), Akron Archbishop Hoban (two, both titles), Trotwood-Madison (six, one title and five runners-up), Dresden Tri-Valley (first appearance), Clarksville Clinton-Massie (two, both titles), Wheelersburg (one, title), Pemberville Eastwood (first appearance), Kirtland (five, three titles, two runners-up), Cuyahoga Heights (one, runner-up) and Minster (three, two titles, one runner-up).

Tri-Valley’s Cinderella Story
Dresden Tri-Valley will be making its first state championship game appearance in school history when they meet undefeated AP #1 Trotwood-Madison Saturday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. For perspective, the Scotties’ last two playoff wins came over opponents (Cols. Bishop Hartley & Akron SVSM) with a combined 13 state championship game appearances and 10 state titles. The Scotties are the only team remaining in any division that did not start the playoffs with a home game in Week 11. They are one of only two teams to make the state finals that were not ranked in the final AP poll. The Scotties will look to become the first team in their conference (Muskingum Valley League) to win a state football title since Crooksville won the Class A state championship over Ashtabula St. John at the Akron Rubber Bowl in 1977.

In Div. V, top-ranked Pemberville Eastwood is also making its first trip to the state championship game.

MAC is Back in Divisions VI and VII
A member of the Midwest Athletic Conference has made the Division VII state championship in every year of the smallest-school division’s existence (2013). MAC teams are 3-1 in Div. VII state title games, with wins coming from Marion Local (2013 & ’14) and Fort Recovery (2015). The MAC’s only loss came at the hands of Warren John F. Kennedy over Minster in last year’s title game. In Div. VI, a MAC team has been in the state championship game eight of the last nine years (all but 2013), with six titles during that span. When the OHSAA expanded to six divisions in 1994 through 2012, a MAC team played in 19 of 23 Div. VI state championship games, winning 15 championships.

Also of note, MAC member Coldwater played in the previous eight Div. V state championship games, winning four titles. Coldwater moved to Div. VI this year and lost to Marion Local in a regional championship game.

Strength of Schedule
Akron Archbishop Hoban (Div. II) and Marion Local (Div. VI) both defeated five playoff teams during their regular-season campaigns, tied for the most of any state finalist in all divisions:
– Hoban: Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (31-13 in Week 2), Akron SVSM (21-7 in Week 5), Parma Padua Franciscan (49-10 in Week 7), Chardon NDCL (42-0 in Week 9), Cle. Benedictine (35-17 in Week 10)
Marion Local: Day. Chaminade Julienne (35-7 in Week 1), Coldwater (13-7 in Week 3), Minster (21-7 in Week 4), Anna (32-7 in Week 6), Fort Recovery (21-10 in Week 8)

Noting the Undefeated
Six teams will look to cap off a perfect 15-0 season this weekend in Canton, as Trotwood-Madison (Div. III), Steubenville (Div. IV), Pemberville Eastwood (Div. V), Wheelersburg (Div. V), Marion Local (Div. VI) and Kirtland (Div. VI) all remain unbeaten. The Div. V & Div. VI state championship games are the only matchups between two undefeated teams.

Proving the Pollsters
Four of the seven teams that won Associated Press poll championships at the end of October have advanced to the state finals, as Trotwood-Madison (Div. III), Steubenville (Div. IV), Pemberville Eastwood (Div. V) and  Marion Local (Div. VI) will all look to cap off perfect seasons with a state championship. Two teams not ranked in the final AP poll have advanced to the state finals – Dresden Tri-Valley (Div. III) and Minster (Div. VII).

Last year, the only team to be ranked No. 1 in the final poll and go on to win a state championship was Marion Local (Division VI).

Twenty-one of the 28 state semifinalists were ranked in the final poll. Thirty-five of the 70 teams that appeared in the final Associated Press poll reached the regional finals. The final AP polls appear on page 5 of this packet.

AP No. 1 vs. AP No. 2
The Division VI state championship game between Marion Local (AP #1) and Kirtland (AP #2) is the only state championship game to feature the top two teams ranked in the final AP poll at the end of October. Other notable title game top-five AP matchups are:
– Div. V: AP #1 Pemberville Eastwood (14-0) vs. AP #3 Wheelersburg (14-0)
– Div. II: AP #2 Cin. Winton Woods (13-1) vs. AP #5 Akr. Archbishop Hoban (13-1)

All 70 teams that appeared in the final AP poll earned a playoff berth. Those 70 teams went 59-11 in the first round of the playoffs. Of those 59 wins, 57 were home games for the ranked team, while two ranked teams won on the road in the first round – Girard (Division IV) and West Jefferson (Division V).