COLDWATER – Coldwater and Columbus Bishop Hartley know each other well.
The two teams met in Columbus in Week 2 this year, with Coldwater posting a 41-16 victory.
Now the teams meet again, this time for a state championship.
Coldwater (12-2) will meet Bishop Hartley (13-1) for the Division V state championship at 11 a.m. Saturday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Bishop Hartley will make a few adjustments and roll out a few new wrinkles for Coldwater this time around.
So how important to Coldwater is the game film from Week 2?
“Philosophically, I’m sure they will be similar, but I’m sure they will have some different plays,” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. “I’ll watch that film, but won’t lay a lot of stock in it.”
The key to the Coldwater win over Hartley was the Cavaliers gobbling up three turnovers, which led to 21 points.
Coldwater owns the longest active streak of qualifying for the playoffs at 18 straight years. This is the Cavaliers’ fifth straight trip to the state finals, making them the first team to play 75 games over five years.
The Cavaliers own three state titles (2012, ‘07, ‘05), including defeating Kirkland 10-9 in last year’s Division V title game.
Hartley is making its fourth trip to the title game and owns two state titles (2010, 1986).
This Coldwater trip to the finals caught many off guard.
“I’m really proud of this team after we graduated 23 seniors and had only 3.5 starters back,” Otten said. “We had some backup guys coming back, but only had two fulltime starters back. … There was talk of this team being the team that would break the streak. But we played well and got better and better.”
The focal point of the Cavaliers’ offense is first-year quarterback Brody Hoying, who was first team all-Midwest Athletic Conference at quarterback and defensive back. Hoying leads the team in rushing with 1,713 yards and 30 TDs. He’s completed 130 of 222 for 1,820 yards and 21 TDs.
In the 35-10 state semifinal victory over West Jefferson, Hoying ran for 236 yards on 20 carries. He had TD runs of 84, 6 and 77 yards. He also completed 8 of 14 for 90 yards and one TD.
“He’s (Hoying) the best football player we’ve played against since we played Kenton and Maty Mauk,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “They are very similar. Everything they do goes through him. He’s great on both sides of the ball. … This game will be won or lost on how we defend him and how he plays.”
Added Otten, “I wouldn’t trade him (Hoying) for anyone. I don’t care who he is. He has all the skills. He’s fast, quick and will hit you on defense. He’ll be out there the whole time.”
Hoying’s top receivers are Adam Klosterman (40 receptions, 724 yards, 8 TDs), Drew Otten (24 receptions, 255 yards, 3 TDs) and Mitch Schoenherr (21 receptions, 299 yards, 5 TDs).
Hartley loves to pound the ball on the ground. In its 49-22 state semifinal win over Akron Manchester, Hartley had 518 total yards, all on the ground. Leading the way was Sam Mackowiak, who had 220 yards and four TDs.
On the year, the 6-foot, 215-pound Mackowiak has 2,049 rushing yards and 29 TDs. Quri Hickman has run for 555 yards and three TDs.
Hartley quarterback Jared Brandewie had thrown for 1,330 yards and 15 TDs. He’s run for 453 yards and four TDs.
“They have good athletes,” Otten said of Hartley. “Without beating them, we wouldn’t be in the playoffs. When we started the year, we weren’t sure how good we would be. The Hartley game was a turning point in the season. That game got us believing we could be a pretty good football team.”