OHSAA football finals announced

Ohio Stadium has not hosted the OHSAA championship games in the past two decades. 

Marcus Hartman

Athens and Toledo Central Catholic will be the first schools to play for a state title at Ohio Stadium in 25 years when the OHSAA Football State Finals begin on Thursday night in Columbus.

The state championships are returning to The Horseshoe after being held in Canton and Massillon since 1990. The championship for next week was announced Friday night following the completions of semifinals in four divisions.

Athens is in the finals for the first time after defeating two-time state champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 34-31 on Friday night in the state semifinals. The Bulldogs, who rallied for 13 points in the fourth quarter, have scored 809 points this season, which is 14 shy of setting a new state record. Quarterback Joe Burrow, who has committed to Ohio State and is a favorite to be selected as Mr. Football next week, has 62 total touchdowns.

Toledo Central Catholic is trying for its second state title.

Friday’s action starts with Division IV as Cleveland Benedictine goes for its seventh state title against Kettering Alter, who was the top-ranked team in the final Associated Press poll.

Kirtland, who was the AP’s top-ranked team in Division VI, will face Minster Friday afternoon while Nordonia and Cincinnati La Salle vie for the Division II title in the night game.

The semifinals for divisions I, V and VII will take place on Saturday with the finals taking place a week later. All of the finals will be aired live on SportsTime Ohio.

A look at the schedule:

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THURSDAY

Division III: Athens (14-0) vs. Toledo Central Catholic (12-2), 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY

Division IV: Cleveland Benedictine (13-1) vs. Kettering Alter (14-0), 10 a.m.

Division VI: Kirtland (14-0) vs. Minster (11-3), 3 p.m.

Division II: Nordonia (14-0) vs. Cincinnati La Salle (13-1), 8 p.m.

SATURDAY

Division VII: Norwalk St. Paul (12-1)/Glouster Trimble (13-0) winner vs. Columbus Grove (9-4)/Maria Stein Marion Local (13-0) winner, 10 a.m.

Division I: Hudson (13-0)/Lakewood St. Edward (11-2) winner vs. Huber Heights Wayne (12-1)/Cincinnati Moeller (10-3) winner, 3 p.m.

Division V: Canton Central Catholic (13-0)/Columbus Bishop Hartley (11-2) winner vs. Coldwater (12-1)/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (13-0) winner, 8 p.m.

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