MASSILLON — New Bremen accomplished a transition from a Midwest Athletic Convention afterthought to one of many state’s small-school heavyweights Friday.
The Cardinals dominated Warren John F. Kennedy 31-0 within the Division VII state championship recreation at Massillon Washington’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to earn this system’s first state soccer title.
It has been a gradual buildup for this system, which was winless in 2013 and 2014 and completed 1-9 in coach Chris Schmidt’s first yr.
“A part of me needs to say it’s unbelievable trying again the place we had been, however on the identical time, I don’t like saying that, as a result of the best individuals in the best locations believed it may occur, beginning with our administration on down.
“It’s not been simple. We’ve needed to take child steps at occasions, however the youngsters are those that propelled this system and determined they wished to vary issues up. These youngsters have carried out that, however even the youngsters previous to this helped lay the muse.”
The victory caps off a storybook season for the Cardinals in a yr that’s been something however. Uncertainty hung over soccer and all fall sports activities all through the summer season after spring sports activities had been canceled resulting from COVID-19 restrictions.
There was a last-second wrench thrown into Friday’s recreation as properly, because the OHSAA introduced Thursday the video games wouldn’t be held at Fortress Obetz in suburban Columbus as initially scheduled however had been shifting to Massillon.
“It was an unbelievable yr; it’s a blessing,” Schmidt stated. “We didn’t know even in the direction of the top of July if we might have a season and the way lengthy it might final. To make it by all that — the youngsters simply did an awesome job of controlling what we may management. Perhaps that helped us as we bought into the playoffs as we needed to play all these nice groups one step at a time.”
The Cardinals completed 2-8 in 2016 and 3-7 in 2017. They completed 6-4 in 2018, which was this system’s first profitable season since 2004. They completed 9-4 final yr and superior to a regional ultimate, wherein they misplaced to Midwest Athletic Convention rival Marion Native.
The Cardinals had seven starters again on offense from final season and 5 on protection. They misplaced to Marion Native 21-13 in Week 2 and dropped to 2-2 two weeks later after a 24-7 loss to Coldwater, which can face New Middletown Springfield within the D-VI state championship recreation Sunday.
“These had been gut-checks early within the yr, and Coldwater was most likely the turning level in some ways,” Schmidt stated. “We checked out one another and stated, ‘Hey, what do we have to do right here, what do gamers have to do, what do coaches have to do?’”
New Bremen completed the yr by rattling off eight consecutive wins, together with a 24-17 victory at Marion Native in a regional ultimate Nov. 6. It was the primary time since 2006 the Flyers misplaced a playoff recreation earlier than a state championship contest.
The Cardinals (10-2) battled again to edge Lima Central Catholic 28-26 in a semifinal final Friday to arrange Friday’s state championship contest.
After the massive playoff wins, Schmidt stated he wasn’t too nervous in regards to the workforce enjoying in its first state title recreation.
“Coming to a spot like this, and it’s a stupendous place, it’s a little bit worrisome, since you surprise how they’ll handle all of it,” Schmidt stated. “However I assumed after we bought into warmups they had been locked in and able to play, so I didn’t actually fear about it. … They had been calm as the sport began to maneuver.”
New Bremen grew to become the ninth member of the MAC to earn a soccer state championship with the win. MAC groups have gained 36 soccer state championships and 136 state championships throughout all sports activities.
“That’s the good thing about enjoying in our league; you’re going to play nice competitors,” Schmidt stated. “I used to be considering the opposite day that it’s sort of like a household the place the youngest little one is making an attempt to maintain up with the older siblings. In some methods, I believe that’s sort of us.
“We’ve been making an attempt to maintain up for therefore lengthy and stand up to the extent of these applications, and this yr we had been in a position to do it.”
Each groups began gradual and neither scored within the first quarter. The Cardinals scored on their second possession of the sport. Hunter Schaefer scored on a 39-yard landing with 8:19 left within the second quarter, and Owen Gabel kicked an additional level to present the squad a 7-0 lead.
JFK’s Nick Fordeley intercepted a move in the long run zone to finish the Cardinals’ third drive, however they rapidly bought going within the second half.
Hays capped off an eight-play, 66-yard drive to begin the third quarter with a 1-yard landing run to extend the squad’s result in 14-0.
Wyatt Dicke recovered a fumble three performs into New Bremen’s subsequent drive at JFK’s 11-yard line, and Gabel kicked a 20-yard area objective with 6:02 left within the third to extend the result in 17-0.
After getting two first downs on its subsequent drive, Warren JFK was pressured to punt, and David Homan returned the punt 45 yards for a landing with 1:44 left to push the result in 24-0.
After a three-and-out by JFK, New Bremen rapidly drove down and scored early within the third quarter. Hays threw a 19-yard landing move to Dan Homan with 10:49 left.
The Cardinals had 247 yards of offense whereas Warren JFK managed 133. The run-heavy Eagles had 61 dashing yards on 33 makes an attempt.
“That was enormous,” Schmidt stated of containing Warren JFK’s working assault. “It was powerful to deal with the quarterback early on, and I used to be apprehensive about their working again. … However as soon as we began to clamp down as the sport wore on, that made a distinction.”
Hays accomplished 5-of-6 passes for 81 yards and ran for 60 yards on 18 carries. Schaefer completed with 101 dashing yards.
“We actually didn’t throw the ball a lot with the wind, nevertheless it appeared like we had been controlling the road of scrimmage,” Schmidt stated. “We simply saved making an attempt to reap the benefits of that and put on them down a bit. The competitors we see all yr lengthy, when you’re not bodily up entrance, it can make for lengthy video games and a protracted season.”
Linebacker Ben Blickle led New Bremen with eight tackles whereas Dan Homan had 5.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The squad will lose 17 seniors to commencement, together with Hays, Dicke, Dan Homan and Blickle.
It’s the third state title in 4 years for the varsity. New Bremen’s volleyball workforce gained the varsity’s first state championship in 2017 and adopted with one other in 2019. The squad completed as state runner-up in 2018 and final weekend after a 3-1 loss to Tiffin Calvert within the D-IV state ultimate.
Only one,500 followers had been allowed to attend Friday’s recreation (which was additionally televised) resulting from crowd measurement restrictions in place by order of the Ohio Division of Well being. Followers had been additionally presupposed to socially distance within the grandstands — and initially didn’t.
The governor’s workplace seen. Ohio Excessive Faculty Athletic Affiliation officers had been contacted by state governmental officers, and the general public deal with announcer learn an announcement urging followers to unfold out extra within the 16,000-seat grandstands.
They didn’t hear till New Bremen athletic director Chad Wells addressed his faculty’s followers from the sphere throughout halftime and urged them to unfold out.
Warren JFK, which beat Minster within the 20116 D-VII title, finishes this season with a 9-3 document.
New Bremen’s Nick Alig waits to return the kickoff towards John F. Kennedy at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Wyatt Dicke comes down with the ball as John F. Kennedy’s Nick Fordeley tries to interrupt up the play at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Wyatt Dicke falls on the ball to get a turnover towards John F. Kennedy at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Ben Blickle tackles Warren John F. Kennedy’s Cam Hollobaugh throughout Friday’s Division VII state championship recreation at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen gamers run onto the sphere earlier than the Division VII state championship recreation on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen senior quarterback Mitchell Hays runs through the Division VII state championship recreation on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen band members play through the Division VII state championship recreation on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen sophomore working again Hunter Schaefer runs throughout a 39-yard landing run within the second quarter of the Division VII state championship recreation on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen’s Dan Homan makes a landing reception throughout Friday’s Division VII state championship recreation at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
The New Bremen Cardinals have fun with followers after profitable the Division VII state championship recreation Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen’s Hunter Schaefer dives for one more yard towards John F. Kennedy at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Sam Sailer waits to hike the ball to Mitchell Hays whereas enjoying John F. Kennedy at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Mitchell Hays runs the ball towards John F. Kennedy at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen Cardinal’s followers cheer on their workforce at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Kyle Tenkman, heart, breaks up a move to John F. Kennedy’s Sejjan Couto, proper, at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Hunter Schaefer will get previous John F. Kennedy’s Eddie Kiernan at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen’s Hunter Schaefer stiff arms John F. Kennedy’s Cam Hollobaugh at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday.
New Bremen gamers maintain up the Division VII state championship trophy after defeating the Warren John F. Kennedy 31-0 on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
New Bremen senior quarterback Mitchell Hays retains Warren John F. Kennedy’s Cam Hollobaugh at bay throughout Friday’s Division VII state championship recreation at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
Attain Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or comply with @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Fb.