Darren Tracy, Cleveland High School Sports Examiner
With the Ohio state football playoffs winding down, it isn't just coincedence that you see more than a few familiar faces that seem to hang around every year, making a deep run in the playoffs.
High school football in Ohio isn't all about TEAMS, it's more about PROGRAMS. It's building a winner year after year. After examining teams from Ohio, including state championship wins, state championship appearances, playoff appearances, and overall record, these are the top ten football programs in Ohio:
Others who just missed the cut: Cincinnati Elder, Mogadore, Massillon, Toledo Whitmer, Columbus Bishop Hartley, Mentor, Trotwood-Madison, Kenton, and Avon Lake
10. Cleveland Glenville.... The alma mater of the 49ers Ted Ginn Jr., Donte Whitner, and current Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones. Tarblooders have made annual appearances in the state playoffs. Runners-up to Hilliard Davidson in 2009, Glenville has produced some truly great teams over the last decade or so. A questionable kicking game, and having to go through a brutal Region 1 playoff bracket keep the Tarblooders from being ranked higher.
9. Hilliard Davidson.... The Wildcats of Davidson come in number nine. They have won two Division 1 state championships (2006,2009) defeating Glenville in 2009. Ranked in the top 25 in Ohio for the years 2004-2006 and 2008-2011. They will play in the Region 2 final for the 5th time in the last seven years. They run the old fashioned "Full House " and Winged T" offense, that drives opponets crazy.
8. Cincinnati Moeller.... While the "Moeller Mystique" from the 1970's and 80's may not be there, the Crusaders have made annual trips to the state playoffs since. A state runner-up in 1988, Moeller has continued to remain a team that gets everyone's attention when scheduled. The lowest they have ever been ranked in the last 20 years is 26th in 2005. How can a team with zero state titles in the last 20 years be ranked ahead of Davidson, who has won two? Moeller plays a brutal schedule, and still manages playoff apperances year after year.
7. Lakewood St. Edward.... The Eagles have made the state playoffs seven of the last nine years. They won a state title in 2010 (defeating Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in the championship game), and have had numerous regional final appearances. Playing in the loaded Region 1, they have defeated teams such as St. Ignatius, Glenville, Mentor and Solon on the way to those finals. Despite losing last weekend to Mentor , the Eagles were the state's top ranked team, and in the top five for most of the season.
6. Cincinnati Colerain.... The Cardinals won a state title in 2004, and have been ranked in the top 25 of all Ohio schools the past eight years. In that time, they have played in six regional finals, and two state championship games. They are currently the #2 ranked team in the state of Ohio, and will be playing in another regional final this Saturday. The lowest they have ever been ranked is 14th in 2009.
5. Youngstown Mooney.... Despite missing the playoffs this year, Mooney still comes in at number five. The alma mater of Ohio State's John Simon and Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, the Cardinals have had quite a playoff run as of late. Three time state champions (2004, 2009, 2011), and two time state runners up, the Cardinals were actually voted Ohio's best team in 2009, despite being a Division III team. It's a football factory that comes out of Mahoning County and the old Steel Valley Conference.
4. Cincinnati St. Xavier.... The Bombers act like being on top of the polls belong to them. Two time state champions (2005 and 2007) and two time state runners up, the lowest the Bombers have been ranked in the state of Ohio is an amazing 7th, in 2008. They made their 7th straight playoff appearance this season, despite playing arguably the state's toughest schedule. Being in the same playoff region as Moeller and Colerain every year keeps the Bombers from reaching even more state championship games.
3. Coldwater.... Surprised? Never heard of Coldwater?. You will now. The Cavaliers play in the toughest conference in Ohio, the Midwest Athletic Conference . How tough is the conference? Of the eleven teams in the conference, FIVE made the state playoffs, including the team that is ranked #2 on this list. The Cavaliers won three state titles in a row in Division IV (2005-2007), and have been the runners-up three straight years in Division V. That is state title games in six of the last seven years. Coldwater plays for another regional championship this Saturday.
2. Marion Local.... Located in the tiny town of Maria Stein , and another member of the Midwest Athletic Conference, this Division VI school has made quite a run in the last decade or so. FIVE time state champions (2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, and 2011), a state runner-up finish in 2003, and two final four appearances in 2008 and 2009. They don't come much more consistent than the Flyers. They will be gunning for another final four appearance this Friday. In most states, those kind of results would usually get you the top spot on our list. Unfortunately for Marion Local, most states don't have a presence like....
1. Cleveland St. Ignatius.... Anyone surprised? You shouldn't be. The Wildcats have been a model of consistency for the last 25 years. Where do I START? How about eleven state championships since 1988? That is almost half of the Division I championships. That is mind boggling enough, but to think that they have gone 11-1 in state championship games? That should be illegal. They are the defending state champions going into yet another regional final this Saturday against Mentor. They have been voted the "National Champions" three times over the last 25 years. They are admired as much for the things they do off the field as to what they do on it. Coach Chuck Kyle runs one classy program that has stood the test of time, for the longest and most consistent time. That is why the Wildcats are the best football program in the state of Ohio.
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