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(11-30-19) Next Friday morning a first time Ohio HS Football Champion will be crowned in D VI. The Anna Rockets and the Springfield Tigers will make their first ever appearance in a State Championship football game.
The Rockets are a football only member of the top rated small football conference in Ohio, the Midwest Athletic Conference. Anna started playing football in 2000 and is in the playoffs for the 12th time, but before this season they only had picked up two wins (2–11), both came in first round games (2005 and 2009).
But this year there has been plenty of firsts for the Rockets, which included sharing the MAC title with Marion Local. The Flyers, who are playing the D VII state semifinal game today, also handed the Rockets their only loss of the season in late September 17-14.
Anna senior running back Riley Huelskamp (named MAC Offensive Player of the Year) rushed for 244 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns (scoring on runs of 77, 35, 8 and 2 yards) in the Rockets 36-6 win over Mechanicsburg on Friday night.
QB Bart Bixler added a strong passing game for Anna as he completed all eight of his passes for 122 yards. Bixler gave the Rocket fans a 3rd quarter scare around the 4 minute mark when he had to be taken out of the game after a big hit, but back-up QB sophomore Brandon Axe came into run the offense and did a nice job until Bixler re-entered the game in the 4th quarter after being examined by trainers.
The Rockets total offense ran up a total of 424 yards, including 279 rushing yards and 145 yards passing.
Anna 2019 Football (13-1) 8/30 H Bishop Fenwick (5-5) W 48-14 9/6 A Brookville (6-4) W 49-16 9/13 H New Bremen (9-4) W 45-0 9/20 A St Henry (1-9) W 48-7 9/27 H Marion Local (11-2) L 14-17 10/4 A Versailles (3-7) W 42-7 10/11 A Fort Recovery (4-6) W 53-19 10/18 H Coldwater (8-3) W 49-8 10/25 A Parkway (4-6) W 49-28 11/1 H St John's (1-9) W 56-7 11/8 A # Minster (9-2) W 47-21 11/15 N # Fairview (10-2) W 54-20 11/22 N # Archbold (11-2) W 42-7 11/29 N # Mechanicsburg (11-3) W 36-6 12/6 N # Springfield (14-0) # - Ohio playoff game
Springfield, out of New Middletown, brings in a spotless 14-0 record to the championship game. The Tigers did have two scares this season, the first one came early when they won in OT in the first game of the regular season over South Range (a playoff team in 2019) 23-20. The second close call came in a one point 20-19 win over Trimble (undefeated during the regular season) in the 2nd playoff game.
Many think that the toughest Region in D VI is the new realigned Region 23, which Anna was ranked 5th in the computer points this season.
But take a look at Springfield’s Region 21 –
The top 8 playoff qualifiers included four 10-0 teams, two 9-1 teams and two 8-2 teams. In two of the four Tiger playoff wins they have beat two teams who entered those games with undefeated records. To add to that Springfield’s computer point average was the highest of any D VI team in the state…impressive for sure.
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In Friday night’s D VI state semifinal game Springfield handled previously unbeaten East Knox, 42-14.
The Tigers out gained the Bulldogs 471 to 236 in total offensive yards, including a 402 to 45 in rushing yards advantage for the game.
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The Tigers are led by QB Beau Brungard as he rushed for a game-high 230 yards on 13 attempts and completed 5 of 8 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Tigers coach Sean Guerrierro told WKBN after the game –
“I don’t know if it’s going to hit us right now. I’m just so proud of our team right now how we came out and played and prepared. I’m just so grateful for my staff, the team and the community that we’re in.”
Springfield 2019 Football (14-0) 8/30 A South Range (8-4) W 23-20 OT 9/6 A Brookfield (8-3) W 49-28 9/13 H Columbiana (7-3) W 35-0 9/20 A Lowellville (6-4) W 49-0 9/27 H Waterloo (3-7) W 51-0 10/4 H Jackson-Milton (5-5) W 49-8 10/11 H Mineral Ridge (5-5) W 58-13 10/18 A Sebring (2-8) [7:25] W 51-8 10/25 H Western Reserve (8-3) W 35-14 11/1 A McDonald (6-5) [7:25] W 38-21 11/8 H # Western Reserve (8-3) W 34-7 11/15 N # Trimble (11-1) W 20-19 11/22 N # Mogadore (11-2) W 35-21 11/29 N # East Knox (13-1) W 42-14 12/6 N # Anna (13-1) # - Ohio playoff game
Riley vs Beau
It could end up coming down to an individual battle between Anna’s Riley Huelskamp and Springfield’s Beau Brungard. Both gained over 200 yards rushing and accounted for four TDs for their teams in Friday night state semifinal wins.
It could come down to whose defense can stop either one of them.
Division VI State Championship:
Anna (13-1) vs. New Middletown Springfield (14-0)
Friday, Dec. 6, 10:00 AM at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton
Travel time –
- From Anna to Canton – 182 miles
- From New Middletown to Canton – 53 miles
Anna is located near the Indiana border and New Middletown is located very near to the Pennsylvania stateline. Springfield fans will have a short trip to Canton to watch the Tigers, while Anna fans will have to decide if they want to make the almost three hour trip.
The 10am game time is also an issue for Rocket fan…drive early on game day or arrive in Canton on Thursday and an overnight hotel stay. Both schools most likely will close on Friday to allow students to attend