CANTON — For the second time in three years, New Bremen won the Division VII state championship by beating Warren John F. Kennedy in lopsided fashion.
The Cardinals played a near-perfect game and beat JFK 38-6 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton in the Div. VII state final.
It’s the second state title in program history for New Bremen, which won its first state title by beating JFK 31-0 in the D-VII championship game in 2020.
“Before these guys got into high school, I think we had been to the playoffs twice,” New Bremen coach Chris Schmidt said. “That’s it. Now, these guys are going to walk away with two state championship rings. That says a lot about their work, and a lot about the kids before them, too, that helped to lay that foundation to put us where we’re at now.”
New Bremen (13-3) accumulated 364 yards of offense and held the Eagles to 11 first downs and 219 yards. The Cardinals intercepted two passes, forced one fumble and committed one penalty (a delay of game in the final minutes).
“To play clean is really important, especially against a really good team. You don’t want to help them by hurting yourself,” Schmidt said.
The Cardinals win came hours after Marion Local beat Kirtland 14-6 in the Div. VI state final. Those are the 40th and 41st state football titles won by a MAC school and drive the total number of team state titles won across all sports by conference members to 149.
“I think it’s just great because every single week, you’re facing a competent team, and not just a competent team, but a team that’s going to challenge you,” senior linebacker Evan Eyink said. “If you have something wrong that you’ve got to get wrinkled out, they’re going to let you know.
“It helps you to get a lot better each and every week. It’s something that helps prepare us for the playoffs. It’s a big part of our success, I think.”
New Bremen rallied late to beat Ansonia 26-22 in a regional semifinal on Nov. 12 and rallied to beat Lima Central Catholic 42-34 last week.
The Cardinals put the game away late in the third quarter.
Warren JFK’s Aidan Rossia scored on a 27-yard touchdown reception from Caleb Hadley with 8:19 left in the third quarter to cut the gap to 24-6 after a missed extra point.
New Bremen then responded with a 14 play, 57-yard drive which ended when senior quarterback David Homan scored on a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:57 left. The Cardinals were facing a fourth-and-one from the 10 on the previous play, and Homan ran for three yards to keep the drive alive.
Hunter Schaefer kicked the extra point to give the Cardinals a 31-6 lead.
JFK’s LeMarcus Provitt fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Dylan Bambauer recovered at JFK’s 27.
Homan ran in from 27 yards out on the next play to give the Cardinals a 38-7 lead and start a running clock.
Homan completed 7-of-9 passes for 77 yards and ran for 243 yards and four TDs on 25 carries. Schaefer ran for 59 yards and one TD on 19 carries, made 5-of-5 extra-point attempts and his lone field goal try.
Eyink led the squad with nine tackles and intercepted one pass. Carter Elking intercepted one pass and Bambauer recovered one fumble.
Homan, Schaefer, Eyink, Elking and Baumbauer are among the 16 seniors the squad will lose to graduation.
New Bremen scored on the game’s first possession. The Cardinals drove 64 yards on 13 plays and scored when Schaefer ran in from 13 yards out with 6:05 left. He kicked the extra point to give the team a 7-0 lead.
Homan scored on a 67-yard TD run with 10:54 left in the second to push the lead to 14-0, then ran in from 41 yards out with 4:02 left to increase the lead to 21-0.
New Bremen forced a quick punt, and the squad scored before halftime when Schaefer kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired.
“We weren’t sure. That was one of those situations where we were trying to manage the time,” Schmidt said. “You also want to stay aggressive but don’t want to do something that’s going to backfire on you.
“Hunter’s kick was a tremendous kick based on the wind. We played in Massillon a couple of years ago and had a situation where I thought I probably should have kicked, and I didn’t, so I was thinking in the back of my head if I get a chance to send Hunter out, we’re going to give him a shot at it.”
“… Even though it was three points, just those added three points (was great) going into the halftime, especially knowing they had the ball to come out.”
JFK finishes 13-2 overall. It’s the fifth title game appearance for the Eagles, which beat Minster in 2016 for the D-VI state title.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.