CANTON — A Stark County native led Carey to its first state football championship in 1975. The Blue Devils paid a visit to their former coach's home county on Saturday afternoon to win their second one.
Carey took down reigning champion Coldwater 26-14 in Saturday's Division VI state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The Blue Devils took an 8-7 lead on Jordan Vallejo's 1-yard run and subsequent two-point conversion with 1:23 left in the first quarter and proceeded to grind away at the clock and the Cavaliers after that.
It ended a 46-year title drought for the Wyandot County school. Carey's first title came under the guidance of Tom Geschwind, a 15-7 overtime victory over Newark Catholic in the Class A title.
Geschwind is a native of Massillon who played for the Tigers, then went on to also be a coach for Jackson. Interesting enough, Newark Catholic played in the game before Carey's, losing to Marion Local in the Division VII state title game.
The Blue Devils finish the season 15-1. Coldwater, which was looking for its eighth state title and second consecutive, ends its season at 13-3.
Here’s a look at some of the key things to know about the game:
Player of the Game: Jordan Vallejo, RB, Carey
Ball control was the name of the game for the Blue Devils and the relentless Jordan Vallejo helped make that possible. He carried the ball 25 times for 95 hard-earned yards. His day was not about breaking long runs, but instead grinding out first down and scoring points. He scored two touchdowns and ran for two two-point conversions. Carey's ability to control the ball meant Coldwater had the ball just three times in the second half, making it impossible or the Cavaliers to mount a comeback.
Play of the Game: Jordan Vallejo's two-point conversion
Carey would win by more than one point. Heck, it won by more than one touchdown. However, when the Blue Devils elected to eschew the tie and go for the lead after they scored their first touchdown of the day, it made a powerful statement. That statement was, "We're not just here to play. We're here to win a state championship." Vallejo, who had just scored the TD on a 2-yard run, pushed his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion as well, giving Carey an 8-7 lead with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter. The Blue Devils never looked back from there.
Three stats to a title
81 yards: Rushing yards for Carey quarterback Derek Lonsway. Lonsway isn't your typical 21st Century quarterback. He's not asked to throw it a lot. In fact, he only completed 3-of-5 passes for 79 yards in the game. However, Lonsway's 81 rushing yards on 21 carries, which included a touchdown, was the perfect compliment to what Vallejo was providing on the ground.
13-of-31: Quarterback Reece Dellinger's passing line wasn't necessarily a picture of efficiency, which is what made it tough at times for Coldwater's passing game to find consistency all day. Dellinger finished with 205 yards through the air, but his one touchdown pass — on the final play of the first half — was countered by one interception that helped Carey open up a 15-7 lead in the second quarter.
34:34: That's the amount of time Carey possessed the football over the course of the 48-minute game Saturday. The Blue Devils had four of their possessions, not counting a final kneel-down, consume at least four minutes. That includes drives of 5:47, 6:36 and 7:07, the last one through much of the fourth quarter. All that did was put even more pressure on Coldwater to produce once it did get its hands on the football.
They said that
Coldwater quarterback Reece Dellinger on finding rhythm while Carey has the football: "It's tough, because I have to stay loose on the sidelines and just go out there and try to put a drive together. It's a lot to deal with. But if you want to be successful, you have to be able do that."
Carey running back Jordan Vallejo on going for the first two-point conversion: "It's such a nice feeling. Coach (Jonathon Mershman) had so much trust in me that I was going to get that two-point conversion. It just set the tone early. It was just so nice to show them what Carey football is all about."
Carey quarterback Derek Lonsway on Jordan Vallejo: "I'm glad he's on my team, that's all I've got to say. He came in, worked extremely hard. He built that trust with ourselves as teammates and our head coach, and we were able to give him the rock 20, 30 times a game. I'm so proud of him."
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This article originally appeared on The Independent: Jordan Vallejo leads Carey football to state title over Coldwater