MARIA STEIN – Marion Local knows the routine.
The two-time defending state champion in Division VI has a pretty good idea of what to expect in Massillon on Saturday.
Glouster Trimble, on the other hand, is making its first trip to the state title game.
Marion Local (14-0) will meet Glouster Trimble (14-0) for the Division VII football state title at 7 p.m. Saturday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Flyers have won six state titles (2012, ‘11, ‘07, 06, ‘01, ‘00) and own the best playoff winning percentage in state history (52-9, 85.2 percent).
Glouster Trimble has a playoff record of 7-9 in 10 state appearances.
There were plenty of high expectations for Marion Local after winning its second straight title last year.
“Last year was an improbable run with only six seniors on the team, but this year we’ve had a veteran group. But did have to overcome some adversity,” Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said. “We were down to our fourth-string quarterback against Anna and New Bremen.”
The Flyers did more than survive. They continued to roll when Pittsburgh-bound quarterback Adam Bertke (hand) and tailback Jacy Goettemoeller (ankle) went down with injuries against Delphos St. John’s in Week 6. Both were out the rest of the regular season.
Bertke and Goettemoeller returned for the playoffs and were impressive in the 35-6 state semifinal victory over Delphos St. John’s. Goettemoeller had his array of cutting moves back, while rushing for 134 yards on 16 carries, with a 46-yard TD.
Bertke threw for 228 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 48 yards.
“Bertke is a tremendous person and a great leader,” Goodwin said. “He’s a stud. He means so much to our team with his talent, his experience and his intangibles. Against Covington, he took us right down the field for a winning drive. He’s just clutch.”
On the year, Bertke has completed 114 of 176 (65 percent) for 1,537 yards. He’s thrown 18 TDs with five interceptions. He’s also run for 403 yards.
His top receivers are Troy Homan (56 receptions, 798 yards, 12 TDs) and Hunter Wilker (45 receptions, 777 yards, eight TDs).
Goettemoeller has rushed for 803 yards and 18 TDs. Aaron Nietfeld, who subbed in for Goettemoeller, has run for 943 yards.
The key to the Flyers’ offense is they can beat you in a variety of ways.
“There’s nothing we have to do (on offense),” Goodwin said. “We try to adjust and be as diverse as possible. We do like to run the ball, but if someone takes that away, we feel we can do other things. We try to be as balanced as possible.”
Said Trimble coach Phil Faires, “We haven’t faced a team with this many athletes on the field. I’m impressed with the amount of athletes at every position.”
Trimble is coming off a 14-10 victory over Western Reserve.
Trimble quarterback Konner Standley ran for 86 yards on 23 carries. He only completed 2 of 9 passes for 25 yards.
For the year, Standley has thrown for 2,186 yards and 30 TDs with six interceptions. He’s also run for 808 yards and 12 TDs.
Tailback Justice Jenkins has run for 743 yards, while fullback Jacob Koons has run for 449.
“We like to mix it up and our yardage is pretty even,” Faires said. “Standley is our leading rusher. I’m never mad when he takes off.”
Defensively, Trimble has notched seven shutouts.
“We have eight who go both ways, but we’re a good mix of size and speed,” Faires said.
Faires realizes his team faces a veteran unit. The Flyers returned nearly their whole team from last year’s team that knocked off Newark Catholic 28-21 in the 2012 Division VI state title game.
In that game, Bertke completed 17 of 23 for 166 yards. He also ran for 102 yards. After Goettemoeller was injured in that game, Wilker ran for 30 yards on seven carries with three TDs.
“We’re happy to play the best program in the state in Division VII,” Faires said. “This is our chance to match up with the best program on the biggest stage.”