The win avenges the Flyers loss in the 2015 State Championship Game, which saw Kirtland rally from a 13-0 defecit to beat Marion Local 22-20.
“It definitely came up,” senior Tyler Mescher commented after the game. “It was a big win for all of us players, but it’s definitely a big one for Coach Goodwin. That loss, two years ago, when we had the lead going into half, coming back out in that second half and getting beat. It was a tough loss. It was definitely a big
confidence booster going into this week.”
Things started well for Kirtland, as they drove 51 yards on 14 plays, settling for a 33-yard Dylan Aquila field goal, giving them a 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Marion Local was forced to punt. However, Joey Torok mishandled it, and the Flyers pounced on the Kirtland 40-yard line.
Seven plays later, Nolan Habodasz punched it in from one yard out. After an encroachment penalty on the extra point attempt, the Flyers converted a two-point conversion to make it 8-3.
“I think it definitely gave us a boost,” Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin said.
Marion Local really busted the game open during the second quarter, as Nick Tangeman caught a 10-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 14-3, then Jack Buening punched it in from 3-yards out to make it 20-3 at the halftime break.
The Flyers got the ball to start the second half, and put together a 12 play, 59 yard drive that saw Nate Bruns find Tangeman on a scrambling, defender doding 20-yard touchdown pass. Bruns finished the game 10-15 for 178 yards and 2 TDs.
“We felt good about that going in,” Goodwin said. “We feel, a team like that (who run the ball nearly every play), how can they simulate our offense very well and get ready for that? We felt good about our passing game coming in. I see he was 10-15, but a couple of the other balls could have been caught as well. He kept putting balls pretty much on the money, and made some plays for us, for sure.”
Junior WR Nick Tangeman finished with 6 receptions, 120 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
“Nick did a good job out there. I was just throwing the ball up to him, and he was making plays,” Bruns said. “It’s pretty easy when you’ve got the line protecting you like that.”
Marion Local continued to pour it on, as Alex Partington’s 4th quarter touchdown game them the 34-3 advantage and a running clock.
Kirtland was able to put together a drive in the game’s final moments, as quarterback Dylan Fulco hit Torok for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2:29 to play, making the final score 34-11.
With the win, Marion Local captures their 10th State Championship, good for 2nd place in OHSAA history. Cleveland St. Ignatius has won the most State Championships, with 11.
The win also gives the MAC their 125th State Championship, and is the conference’s 32nd football State Championship. The MAC has won at least one State Championship every year since 2009.
The Flyers held Kirtland to just 127 yards on the ground, and 184 yards of total offense. Goodwin’s squad had 331 yards of total offense, and were 11 of 13 on third down conversions.
“We had a goal all week, that we wanted to come over here and play our best game of the season. The last two years, we really haven’t done that. I think we did. It feels really, really, good to play your best game of the year in week 15.”