(11-24-18) In the 2018 OHSAA D VI State Football Championship game,  two time defending champion Marion Local will face Kirtland (again) early this coming Friday morning at 10:00am in Canton at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

If that match-up sounds familiar, it should, last season the Flyers knocked off the Hornets 34-11 in the D VI state title game.  This year’s game will be the third time the two have played each other in the championship game, the other time came in the 2015 when Kirtland beat Marion Local 22-20.

For Kirtland it will be the 6th time they have played a Midwest Athletic Conference team in the championship game since 2011:

Kirtland vs the MAC in State Final Games

  • 2017 – Marion Local 34 Kirtland 11 (D6)
  • 2015 – Kirtland 22 Marion Local 20 (D6)
  • 2014 – Minster 46 Kirtland 42 (D6)
  • 2012 – Coldwater 10 Kirtland 9 (D5)
  • 2011 – Kirtland 28 Coldwater 7 (D5)

Kirtland is the last non-MAC team to beat the Flyers and that came in the 2015 state title game.

How both teams made it to the State Final

Last night Kirtland beat Forty Frye 35-18 at Robert Fife Stadium in Massillon and will enter the title game with a 14-0 record.

Kirtland out-gained Fort Frye, 447-291, with 390 of the yards coming on the ground thanks to a line that features Andrew Demarco (6-2, 230), Kalid Alabsi (6-6, 315) and Jack Bailey (6-4, 300). Leading the way for the Hornets was Jake Neibecker with 21 carries and 154 yards. Tommy Powers added two more TDs for Kirtland.

John Kampf You Tube Video
Kirtland Coach LaVerde: “It wasn’t easy.”

Kirtland Head Coach Tiger LaVerde told the News-Herald after the win:

“Not very easy at all. that team (Ft. Frye) moved the ball very well in the first half. They gave us some problems. In the second half, we did a better job of keeping them off the scoreboard.”

John Kampf You Tube Video
Kirtland’s Jake Neibecker happy with state semi win

Hornets’ running back Jake Neibecker in the same story:

“Obviously, we wanted to make it back. We didn’t care who it was against, but if it is against them (Marion Local) , we’re excited. We’re excited to have another crack at them and try to get another win.”

WDTN You Tube Video

Marion Local had no trouble in their state semifinal game at Lima Senior last night when they beat Sececa East 34-6. It was the Sages first ever trip to the final four.

With the win the Flyers increased their playoff win total to 76, including their thirteenth trip to the state finals and now just one win away from their 11th state championship and third consecutive title.

Marion Local did it on the ground and thru the air.

Flyers’ running back Nolan Habodasz’s 107 yards rushing led the way, including his 2 TDs, a 54 yard TD run and a 33 yard TD catch.

When the Flyers needed short yardage for a TD, Brandon Fleck was the man who got the call, when he scored on a pair of runs from 3 yards  and 1 yard out.

QB Nathan Bruns passed for 157 yards  on 10 of 16 passing including two TD throws. Nick Tangeman caught the other Bruns TD pass on a 65 yard connection.

Marion Local on the night had 374 total yards.

After the win Marion Local Head Coach Tim Goodwin wanted to talk about his defense and he told the Lima News:

“I really think our defense has steadily improved all year. We have some kids over there (on defense). That’s where we’ve seen the most growth.’’

Seneca East running back Blaine Swartzmiller talked about the Flyers after the game to the Advertiser-Tribune.

“They are big, they are fast, and they are strong,. They are anything you could want. They are an army.”

“I have been through Tinora, Ayersville and Hillsdale.  “Marion Local is like a whole other animal. I am just glad we got to where we are.”

2018’s game should produce another championship classic…

Ohio Preps You Tube Video

2017 Football: Marion Local vs. Kirtland (Division VI Championship)


WOSN You Tube Video

2015 State Champions Game – Kirtland over Marion Local 22-20