CANTON – Marion Local arrived in Canton looking to set a new standard for state football playoff championships in Ohio. The Flyers wasted no time doing it Saturday morning.
Bolstered by a 21-point first quarter, Marion Local blew past Newark Catholic 42-7 to win the Division VII state championship at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. It's the Flyers' 12th state playoff title, which is the most of any school regardless of division.
Marion Local had previously shared the mark with St. Ignatius, which has 11 titles. No other schools in Ohio have more than nine, which is the number of titles Newark Catholic was trying to reach on Saturday.
The Flyers have won state championships in eight of the last 11 years. All 12 of their titles have come since 2000.
The win makes Marion Local the second Ohio school to ever post a 16-0 record. Chardon was the first to do so on Friday when it won the Division III state title.
Newark Catholic finishes 14-2. The Green Wave were making their 15th state title appearance, tied with Marion Local for most all-time, but first since 2012.
Here’s a look at some of the key things to know about the game:
Player of the Game: Peyton Otte, QB, Marion Local
The former All-Ohio wide receiver continued to show he can throw touchdown passes as well as he can catch them. Otte had a pair of scoring tosses to Brady Ronnebaum in the first quarter, helping the Flyers open up a 21-0 lead after the first 12 minutes. Otte added a 1-yard TD run right before the first half ended to push the Marion Local lead to 28-7 at the break. He delivered a long TD run and long TD pass to break the game open in the third. Otte also showed his defensive prowess by knocking down a fourth-down pass in the second quarter that may have resulted in a touchdown. Otte finished with 317 yards of total offense, and accounted for five TDs. He was 13-of-18 passing for 252 yards.
Play of the Game: Tate Hess' interception
There was a moment in the first quarter where Newark Catholic could've made this a game. A brief moment where, despite trailing 14-0 at the time, the Green Wave could've stolen some of the momentum away from Marion Local. Then Tate Hess stepped in front of a Cole Canter pass for an interception that he returned it 17 yards to near midfield and all of that washed away. Hess' pick set up the Flyers for their quickest scoring drive of the day, a one-play, 51-yard Otte-to-Ronnebaum TD pass for a 21-0 lead. From there, even though Newark Catholic managed a touchdown midway through the second quarter, the countdown was on to title No. 12 for Marion Local.
Three stats to a title
148 yards: The Marion Local offense wasn't the only star of the day. The Flyer defense also did a number on Newark Catholic, limiting it to just 148 net total yards on 45 total plays. That comes out to an average of 3.3 yards per play. On the ground, the Green Wave had just 45 net yards, averaging 2.4 a carry.
124 yards: The output produced on six catches by Marion Local's Brady Ronnebaum. Much of that, actually, came in the first quarter, with three catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns in helping build a 21-0 lead. Ronnebaum had five catches for 119 yards by halftime. He entered Saturday with just one TD catch this season.
65 yards: Did you think Otte was just a passer? Not with his 65-yard run and two scores on 13 carries. Much of that did come on a 54-yard TD run in the third quarter that opened up a 35-7 lead.
They said that
Marion Local defensive end Robby Buschur on Flyers' defense: "Our defense all year has been really good at just keeping our heads up. We don't give up a lot of points, but when we do, we're really good at keeping our heads up and not getting too down on ourselves. It's really key for Tate (Hess) to come up with that pick."
Marion Local linebacker Dylan Fleck on not letting up against Newark Catholic: "We knew that we really couldn't give up. (Marion Local coach Tim) Goodwin and all the other coaches preached all week about how they had a lot of tight games and they came back. So we just had to keep our foot on the pedal the whole game and it worked."
Newark Catholic coach Ryan Aiello on game: "Obviously, not the performance that we wanted, but that's a credit to what Marion Local's doing. I think as cliche as this may be, the game of football's a very simple game. You've got to bring physicality. You've got to execute, with 11 guys doing their job. I think Marion Local, being the standard in Division VII, they do that better than anybody."
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This article originally appeared on The Repository: Peyton Otte helps Marion Local football win record 12th state title