Division V State Semifinals
Liberty-Benton vs. Coldwater
WHEN & WHERE: Lima Stadium, Saturday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Liberty-Benton 12-1, Coldwater 13-0.
LAST WEEK: Liberty-Benton used a pair of interceptions by Chase Cook and Anthony Webb to rally for a 22-21 win over Patrick Henry in the Region 18 finals. Coldwater scored 20 first-half points in blanking Covington 20-0 for the Region 20 championship.
COACHES: Liberty-Benton, Tim Nichols (6th year, 61-12); Coldwater, Chip Otten (3rd year, 35-8).
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: Liberty-Benton 8th, Coldwater 18th.
PLAYOFF RECORD: Liberty-Benton 15-7, Coldwater 48-15.
NEXT OPPONENT: Kirtland (13-0) or Baltimore Liberty Union (11-2).
LAST MEETING: First meeting.
NOTES: Simply put, the Cavaliers defense is outstanding. Coldwater has shut out five opponents this season and is allowing an average of just 6.4 points per game. … The school picked up the 500th win in its history with a 7-0 win over Anna in Week 7. The Cavs have an overall record 506-232-22 from 1936 through 2012. … Coldwater linebacker Zach Dickman, the AP Northwest District Division V Defensive Player of the Year, leads the defense with 121 tackles, including three quarterback sacks. Other defenders to watch for include linebacker Derek Collet (97 tackles) and defensive back Brody Hoying (44 tackles, 5 interceptions). … Coldwater also boasts the Division V Northwest District Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Austin Bruns. The 6-4, 215-pound senior is 183 of 251 passing for 2,682 yards with 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He’s also run for a team-high 565 yards on 158 carries. … Bruns’ favorite targets are Caleb Siefring (43 catches, 783 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Josh Huber (40, 586, 5). … Liberty-Benton hasn’t dominated in the postseason but the Eagles have been amazingly resilient, scoring close wins over Liberty Center (16-7), Lima Central Catholic (24-17 in OT) and Patrick Henry. … L-B struggled offensively last week against the Patriots, picking up 161 yards through the air but being held to minus-13 yards rushing. … The Eagle defense came through in the clutch, though, forcing three Patrick Henry turnovers. … Quarterback Mitch Linhart leads the Eagles’ offense as he is 122 of 214 passing for 1,862 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has added 898 yards rushing on 122 carries with 15 touchdowns. … Austin Combs has 798 yards rushing on 121 carries and 11 scores for the Eagles. … Speedy deep threat Chase Cook has 54 receptions for 1,120 yards and 14 touchdowns to lead Liberty-Benton’s receiving corps.
EXTRA POINT: Coldwater has plenty of state tournament hardware in the trophy case winning state titles in 2007 and 2005 and finishing as state runner-up five times.
Division VI State Semifinals
McComb vs. Marion Local
WHEN & WHERE: Harmon Field, Wapakoneta, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
RECORDS: McComb 13-0, Marion Local 11-2.
LAST WEEK: McComb scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally past Delphos St. John’s 28-21 in the Region 22 championship game. Marion Local built a big lead over St. Henry and held on for a 28-21 win in the Region 24 final.
COACHES: McComb, Kris Alge (15th year, 133-41); Marion Local, Tim Goodwin (13th year, 151-40).
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: McComb 16th, Marion Local 15th.
PLAYOFF RECORD: McComb 17-14, Marion Local 46-9.
NEXT OPPONENT: Newark Catholic (11-2) or Mogadore (13-0).
LAST MEETING: Marion Local won 41-20 in a 1999 regional quarterfinal.
NOTES: Both teams have been regular participants in the postseason, but this is as far as McComb has gone since the Panthers won a state championship in 1983. Marion Local, meanwhile is making its sixth semifinal appearance in the past seven years. The Flyers have won five state championships, all since 2000, including last year.
EXTRA POINT: Marion Local has won back-to-back state titles two times and is gunning for a third run of consecutive championships this season. The Flyers won the Division VI crown in 2000 and 2001, and won Division VI in 2006 and Division V in 2007.