Three of the six champions in the final 2008 Blade high school football poll have repeated their titles from a year ago. All three also repeated as champions in their leagues and take 10-0 records into state playoff competition this weekend.
Suburban Lakes League champion Genoa, Blanchard Valley Conference winner
Liberty-Benton and Midland Athletic League victor Hopewell-Loudon claimed Blade titles in divisions IV, V and VI, respectively, for a second straight year.
Other poll winners are Fremont Ross (8-2) of the Greater Buckeye Conference in Division I, repeat Northern Lakes League champion Southview (10-0) in Division II and Northern Ohio League co-champion Tiffin Columbian (8-2) in Division III.
A 37-34 loss to Findlay on Oct. 3 cost Fremont Ross the GBC title, but coach Derek Kidwell's Little Giants led the Blade's big-school rankings from wire to wire since the first poll in Week 3. They topped City League runner-up St. John's Jesuit (7-3), which closed the regular season with six straight wins. The Titans will play at Whitmer in Thursday's CL Hall of Fame charity game at 7:30 p.m.
The D-II chase also had a wire-to-wire leader in Southview, which bested four-time defending City League champion Central Catholic (10-0) for the No. 1 spot. Coach Jim Mayzes' Cougars, ranked sixth in the final Associated Press state poll, were consistently strong, with no opponent coming closer than 16 points during the season. They outscored foes 460-96. Central, which had a few close callsduring the season, was rated No. 3 in the state poll. Their 10-0 mark was the first in the regular season for a CL team since 1978, and Central's first since 1962.
In Division III, coach Steve Gilbert's Columbian squad leapfrogged previous No. 1 Bellevue (8-2) and No. 2 Clyde (9-1) to claim the Blade title in the final week. The Tornadoes did so by winning 26-14 at Bellevue, which earlier this season had defeated Sandusky Bay Conference champion Clyde 36-20. Columbian's key win last Friday earned it an NOL title share along with Fostoria and vaulted the Tornadoes into the D-III playoffs, where they will play at Bellevue again on Saturday.
Genoa, which turned in its first 10-0 season since 1990, edged Fostoria (9-1) for the D-IV Blade crown. Coach Mike Vicars' Comets outscored opponents 498-47, and their closest call was a 14-0 win. The Comets ended at No. 4 in the final state poll. Fostoria, ranked eighth in the state poll, lost the top Blade spot after a 34-32 loss to Columbian on Oct. 3.
Another tight race came in D-V, where Liberty-Benton edged Northwest Ohio Athletic League champion Patrick Henry (10-0) for the No. 1 slot. Coach Tim Nichols' Eagles were the area's most dominant team on the scoreboard this season, outscoring the opposition 500-27. That ledger included seven shutouts, and L-B closed the regular season by topping its final five foes 254-0. The Eagles' closest call was a 25-0 win.
PH was similarly impressive, outpointing the enemy 434-109. The Patriots' closest game was a 39-21 win over league rival Liberty Center (9-1), which ended up No. 3 in the D-V Blade rankings. The final state poll has PH rated No. 2 and L-B No. 3.
Hopewell-Loudon's best test was a 24-13 MAL win at Tiffin Calvert, and the Chieftains finished No. 1 in the state poll for the second straight year. Coach Brian Colatruglio's H-L squad ended at 14-1 last year with a loss in the D-VI state championship game. MAL runner-up Carey (9-1), a 28-0 loser to the Chieftains, finishes at No. 2 in The Blade's small-school rankings.
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COLUMBUS - Columbus DeSales in Division II and Hopewell-Loudon in Division VI have each won their second straight Associated Press high school football poll title.
Cleveland Glenville (Division I), Thornville Sheridan (Division III) and Youngstown Ursuline (Division V) each walked off with their first poll crowns.
Coldwater was No. 1 in Division IV, winning its third title in five years while ending Youngstown Mooney's two-year reign at the top. The last time Coldwater won the poll crown, in 2005, they also went on to win a playoffs title.
This is the 61st year for the AP media poll.