Moeller Falls Just Short of Defending State Tittle

11/30/2014

Posted on 11/30/2014 at 8:58am

A 36-yard scoring pass from Huber Heights Wayne senior quarterback D’Mitrik Trice to senior receiver Ahmad Wagner with 1:27 remaining snapped a 22-22 tie and, after a late defensive stand, enabled Wayne to record a 29-22 victory over the two-time defending state champion Crusaders in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I, Region 2 final (state semifinal) Saturday night at Mason High School’s Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium.

The win moves Wayne (13-1) into the Division I state championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, where the Warriors will play Lakewood St. Edward (12-2).  Perennial state power St. Edward advanced to the final with a 42-14 victory over previously undefeated Hudson in the Region 1 final Saturday night at the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium.

Moeller (10-4), which got five field goals in the game from junior kicker Matt Coghlin that included a school-record 54-yarder, was attempting to win Ohio’s Division I state championship for the third straight year.  The Crusaders came into the game riding a four-game winning streak this season and having won 13 consecutive games in the state playoffs dating back to November 2012.

Moeller managed to rack up 438 yards total offense against Wayne, but the Crusaders only found the end zone once – instead having Coghlin attempt seven field goals in the game (making four in the first half).  Senior quarterback Matt Crable connected on 22 of 44 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown.  His favorite target was junior wide receiver Kyle Butz, who hauled in six passes for 125 yards.

Sophomore running back Hunter Hughes, who did not have a carry during the regular season before becoming the Crusaders’ primary ball carrier in the postseason, went over 100 yards rushing for the third time in four playoff games – finishing with 27 carries for 120 yards and one TD, a 3-yard run with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter that gave the Crusaders a 22-14 lead.

Wayne, with Trice and perhaps the state’s most talented group of receivers, tied the score at 22-22 when Trice hit sophomore Matt Wilcox with a 12-yard TD pass with 1:!2 left in the third quarter.  A two-point conversion pass from Trice to Wagner tied the game. Trice, who went 24 of 45 for 292 yards, three TDs and no interceptions, found Wagner for the game-winning with just under a minute and a half to play.

The Warriors are looking for their first state championship, having advanced to the state final two previous times under coach Jay Minton – falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius, 24-10, in the 1999 state final, and then losing to the same team they will play Saturday, Lakewood St. Edward, 35-28, in the 2010 state championship game.  Current Ohio State University standout Braxton Miller was the quarterback in Wayne’s last state final appearance.

Moeller was vying to become the second GCL South member school to advance to the state title game in as many days.  La Salle (13-1) got six touchdowns from junior Jeremy Larkin and defeated Lewis Center Olentangy, 48-13, Friday night at Welcome Stadium in Dayton to advance to the Division II state championship game against unbeaten Macedonia Nordonia (14-0).  Kickoff is 8 p.m. Friday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.