Crusaders win inagural CHSAA State Title game
March 17, 2015
The Crusaders from Canisius High School made history in 2014, capturing the inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship. The Crusaders did so in impressive fashion from season’s beginning, to season’s end, defeating Archbishop Stepinac, 23-10 in the season’s culminating game.
Canisius, paced by their quarterback-running back duo of Jakob Loucks and Mitch Thomas, ran their way to victory to open the season, providing glimpses of what would eventually take them to the State Championship.
Aside from their QB-RB duo, a key trait for the Crusaders in 2014 was special teams. In their season opener, Josh Huffman returned the game’s opening kickoff 93 yards for the first points of 2014, en route to a 48-3 rout of McQuaid Jesuit. Loucks threw for two scores and Thomas ran the ball just four times for 67 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Avenging one of their two losses from 2013, Canisius scored early and often against Aquinas Institute before defeating the Little Irish, 34-0. A year prior, Aquinas had handed Canisius a 3-0 defeat.
Thomas ran in his first score of the game from 55 yards out, just over two minutes into the first quarter. Loucks threw for one score and rush for another and the Crusaders would receive six additional points from kicker and University of Connecticut commit, Michael Tarbutt, who connected on kicks from 28 and 52 yards away.
Two of Canisius’ next four games took place in the state of Ohio, traveling to take on Walsh Jesuit and Bishop Watterson.
Against Walsh Jesuit, the Crusaders saw Loucks toss three first half scores while Thomas ran for two scores himself en route to a 40-7 halftime lead. The lone seven points scored by the Warriors came off of a bad snap in the second quarter that was recovered for a touchdown.
Tarbutt added a 41-yard field goal in the second half to push the final score to 43-7.
After defeating Jamestown, 27-14 and St. Joseph’s Collegiate, 17-0, Canisius again traveled to Ohio, this time to Bishop Watterson, in Columbus. This game marked the fourth consecutive road game for the Crusaders.
The Eagles were able to force two Loucks interceptions in the game, but were unable to withstand the rushing attack of the Canisius offense. Thomas rushed 20 times for 159 yards and a touchdown while Loucks and Brad Zaffram added rushing scores of their own.
Despite Bishop Watterson QB Sam Maglicic’s best efforts – including a drive as time was dwindling to the Canisius 25 – the Eagles ran out of time and fall to the Crusaders, 21-14.
Playing a home game for the first time in over a month, Canisius welcomed Ohio’s Cardinal Mooney to Buffalo, a year removed from a loss at the hands of the Cardinals.
The 2014 contest proved to be another evenly matched game between the two schools, except this time, Canisius would come away victorious.
After opening up a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Tarbutt closed the gap for the Crusaders, drilling a 37-yard field goal to trim the lead to 17-10. With 2:40 left to play, Cardinal Mooney quarterback Jon Saadey fumbled the ball after being hit by Jack Seminara.
Mitch Thomas picked up the fumble and score on the play for the proverbial ‘scoop-and-score’ that tied the game, but he wouldn’t be done there.
Just six plays later after the Canisius defense forced a quick Cardinal punt, Thomas scored from 26-yards away, giving the Crusaders their first lead of the game, 24-17, with just 0:23 seconds remaining. The score was enough to exact revenge from a 9-7 defeat in 2013.
Canisius rode the momentum of the dramatic victory over Cardinal Mooney in the regular season’s final two games, a 37-8 victory over Bishop Timon-St. Jude and a 48-13 victory over St. Francis.
The CHSAA New York playoffs started two weeks later and present two very familiar foes to the Crusaders.
Head Coach Rich Robbins’ team faceed off against their two most recent opponents in the first two rounds of the playoffs, handling both St. Francis (62-19) and Bishop Timon-St. Jude (35-8) easily once again.
The inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship had been long awaited for prior to the 2014 season beginning. Mother Nature would make fans wait just a little bit longer as the snow storms in November delayed the game a whole week.
16 days removed from their last game, Canisius took on Archbishop Stepinac in a battle of teams nicknamed Crusaders.
Stepinac and Canisius both entered the game undefeated and both teams looked very much the part in the first half. The only points on the board in the first half came by way of the aforementioned special teams. Stepinac forced a safety on a blocked punt in the first quarter before Tarbutt connected on two field goals in the second quarter.
The first of the two field goals permanently etched Tarbutt in Canisius history as he drilled a school record 60-yard field goal. He followed that up with a 28-yarder and the Crusaders took a 6-2 lead into halftime.
Stepinac regained the lead to start the second half as dual-threat quarterback Brandon Coleman rushed in the game’s first touchdown from eight yards out.
Loucks answered with a 16-yard rushing touchdown of his own to put Canisius back in the lead at 13-10. Tarbutt hit his third field goal of the game after that, a 35-yarder to push the Canisius lead to 16-10.
Coleman subsequently drove the Stepinac offense down the field, nearly scoring on a 50-yard rush that took the ball all the way to the Canisius 25 yard line. However, two Michael Kenefick sacks pushed the Stepinac offense to a 3rd and long. After gaining only six yards, Coleman would be intercepted by Jerome Brundidge on a 4th and 16 play.
Brundidge’s interception might have ended the game had he simply caught the ball and gone down, however 74 yards of green grass called his name as he returned the interception for the game-sealing touchdown. His pick six pushed the final score to 23-10 for Canisius.
The Crusaders were crowned the 2014 CHSAA New York Football State Champions.
Over the past three years, Canisius has combined for a 32-2 record but will have their work cut out for them in the years to come as they will graduate several seniors this summer including the quarterback-running back duo of Loucks and Thomas.
Among others, most notably the Crusaders will also be without the services of Tyrone Wheatley who signed his letter of intent with Michigan. Zaffram also signed a FBS letter to play at UTEP while Tarbutt will play at Uconn at the next level and Huffman will play at Maine next season.
Despite the challenges of losing many great players, coach Robbins and his staff will undoubtedly have the 2015 Crusaders ready to defend their inaugural CHSAA State Title.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Mitch Thomas (1580 yards)
Passing: Jakob Loucks (1112 yards)
Receiving: David Thomas (316 yards)
All-Purpose: Mitch Thomas (1777 yards)
Touchdowns: Mitch Thomas (16)
Rush attempts: Mitch Thomas (167 carries)
Receptions: David Thomas (19 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total Tackles: Brad Zaffram (47/5)
Tackles for loss: Tyrone Wheatley (14)
Sacks: Tyrone Wheatley (9)
Interceptions: Jack Seminara (5)
Interception yards: Josh Huffman (132 yards)
Fumbles forced: Jacob Chaas (2)
Total scoring: 419 points
Opponent scoring: 119
Total offense: 3817 yards
Total rushing yards: 2688 yards
Total passing yards: 1129 yards
Opponent offense: 2062 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 769 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1293 yards
Third down conversions: 43/114 (37.7 %)
Opponent third down conversions: 33/137 (24.1 %)
Turnover differential: +16 (22 interceptions, 8 fumbles)
Dutch dominate their way to a 14-0 record, first Championship
January 29, 2015
The 2014 season was a dominant season for schools across the country. Some dominated on offense while others dominated on defense.
In Iowa, the Pella Dutch dominated on both sides of the ball last year, leading the way to the school’s first ever 3A State Championship.
Pella finished the season with a flawless 14-0 record and defeated defending champion Bishop Heelan Catholic, 38-17 to wrap up the perfect season.
The Dutch performed on all cylinders in every game in 2014 en route to the school’s first championship. In all but two games during their championship run last season, Pella’s defense allowed 0, 6 or 14 points. They recorded five shutout victories while allowing no more than 14 points to any opponent until the season’s culminating game.
While their defense was playing lights out, their offense would nearly equal that stellar play, averaging over 49 points per contest.
The offense and defense put together impressive games like their week one victory over Washington. Despite allowing 314 yards to Demons, Pella forced two opportune turnovers and quarterback Noah Clayberg accounted for five touchdowns in the 35-0 victory.
Their week one shutout announced that the Dutch were a team to be reckoned with in 2014 as they followed that up with a 45-14 victory over Dallas Center-Grimes. Clayberg threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another while running back Nathan Henry accumulated 101 total yards and three rushing touchdowns.
The season continued to roll along with wins against Oskaloosa (61-6), Norwalk Community (38-14) and Knoxville (28-0).
In their closest game of the regular season, Pella traveled to Carlisle in week six. The Dutch fell behind 3-0 early but would take the lead in the second quarter when Clayberg forced a fumbled, recovered and returned it for a touchdown. Despite a Carlisle field goal before halftime, Pella led 7-6 at the break.
Neither team could muster much in terms of moving the ball after that. Scoring was sparse in the second half, as the only points put on the board in the first 20 minutes of the final quarters were a 25-yard field goal from Seth Johnson that increased Pella’s lead to 10-6.
However, Clayberg would put the game out of reach for Pella, intercepting a Jordan Pierce pass himself and turning the change of possession into points of his own. After intercepting the pass, Clayberg led the Dutch on a seven play drive, rushing in the game-sealing touchdown from 17 yards away. The Dutch’s 17-6 victory would remain as the closest game of the season, in terms of final score, in 2014.
Following their thrilling victory over Carlisle, Pella ended the regular season on an impressive tear, consecutively scoring a season-high in points, a 69-14 victory over Newton followed by a 77-6 over Saydel.
Not to be out done by the offense’s season highs in points, the Dutch defense would shut out the next two opponents, 54-0 over Chariton and 41-0 over Fairfield.
In the second round of the playoffs, Pella would take on Newton once again. After dispatching Fairfield in the first round, they would handle their business against the Cardinals, jumping out to a 56-0 lead through three quarters. Newton would score twice in the final quarter before falling 56-14.
The Dutch would face another familiar opponent in the state quarterfinals when they squared off against Washington. Pella used a 28-point second quarter before shutting out Washington in the second half to win 31-14 and advance to the state semifinals.
Xavier, Pella’s state semifinal opponent, would prove to be no match for the Dutch in 2014. Henry ran for two first quarter touchdowns while Johnson would connect on two second quarter field goals to give Pella a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Dutch defense would shut the door after that, limiting the Saints to just 58 total yards of offense, just eight yards on the ground. Pella advanced to the state championship game with their 27-0 victory.
In the State Championship game, Pella would be pitted against the defending champion Bishop Heelan Catholic. In fact, the Crusaders had played in six of the past eight state championships and 13 all-time.
The Dutch would not be deterred however, not in the face of playing a storied program like Bishop Heelan, nor in the face of a 17-7 deficit that they found themselves in during the second quarter.
Despite allowing 17 consecutive points to the Crusaders, Pella turned to their leader. The junior signal-caller answered a Bishop Heelan field goal with an impressive 10-play drive that covered 60 yards before Clayberg would punch the ball in from four yards out.
Clayberg’s drive spanned just under three minutes off the clock and successfully took the momemtum away from the Crusaders in favor of Pella.
The Dutch would take the lead back from Bishop Heelan on their first possession of the second half when Clayberg touted the ball in for a score from 14 yards out. His second rushing score of the game put Pella back in the lead, 21-17.
The Dutch would maintain the lead forcing two Crusader punts before Henry took a carry 72 yards and an empowering touchdown. Henry’s score increased the lead to 28-17. Again, the defense would clamp down for the Dutch, forcing two punts and an interception on the Crusaders’ next three possessions.
Meanwhile, Pella would score on two of those turnovers, a 28-yard Johnson field goal and Clayberg’s third rushing score of the game with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter. Clayberg’s score increased the lead to a comfortable 38-17 for the Dutch.
However, after forcing a Bishop Heelan turnover on downs, Pella fumbled the ball away, breathing life into the Crusaders. That was until Quinton Murphy delivered a hit to Bishop Heelan receiver Tucker Spears that jarred the ball loose. When Pella’s Payson Vande Lune recovered the ball, the Dutch faithful in attendance would erupt.
Two quick kneel downs by Clayberg would be all that was left as Pella would be crowned Iowa 3A State Champions for the first time.
Clayberg, behind his three rushing touchdowns and 154 rushing yards would be named the game’s most valuable player. Henry ran for 150 yards himself and another score while Murphy finished with a touchdown on the ground and having forced the game’s sealing fumble.
Pella finished the game scoring 31 unanswered points en route to the 3A Title.
With Clayberg and Henry returning for their senior seasons, it is no doubt that the Dutch will open the fall camp of 2015 as the preseason No. 1 as they will look to successfully defend the school’s first state crown.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Noah Clayberg (1637 yards)
Passing: Noah Clayberg (1256 yards)
Receiving: Will Warner (652 yards)
All-Purpose: Noah Clayberg (1784 yards)
Touchdowns: Noah Clayberg (22)
Rush attempts: Noah Clayberg (172 carries)
Receptions: Will Warner (42 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Garret Jansen (59.5)
Tackles for loss: Garret Jansen (25.5)
Sacks: Garret Jansen (6)
Pass break ups: Will Warner (13)
Interceptions: Will Warner (5)
Fumbles recovered: Logan Heerema (5)
Total scoring: 617 points
Opponent scoring: 107
Total offense: 5513 yards
Total rushing yards: 4109 yards
Total passing yards: 1404 yards
Opponent offense: 2729 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1244 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1485 yards
Third down conversions: 40.2% (49/122)
Opponent third down conversions: 28.9% (57/197)
Turnover Differential: +20 (19 INT, 16 FR)
Congratulations to HSGC users across the state of Ohio
By: Cameron Mellor
January 7, 2014
In light of the annual high school All-American games that took place over the weekend, signifying the culmination of the high school football season, we see no better time than the present to unveil the first-annual, All-HSGC Award List for the 2013 football season.
With extensive parameters and essential criteria to be considered for the coveted list, the All-HSGC Awards signify excellence on the field of key offensive positions and defensive players as a whole. The quintessential component of the list was basic and to-the-point – your team must utilize the HSGameCenter program being delivered by Digital Scout. From there, the grading criterion included, but was not limited to, yards and touchdowns, team winning percentage, percentage of team total offense and much more.
After careful deliberation and hours of scouring over statistics from programs far and wide, the list of the first ever All-Ohio HSGC Awards are here.
All-Ohio Player of the Year:
Gus Ragland, Archbishop Moeller High School (14-1)
Quarterback No. 14
3488 total yards, 47 total touchdowns
All-Ohio First Team Quarterback:
Evan Wyse, Archbold High School (6-4), No. 10
3280 total yards, 38 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Second Team Quarterback:
Jake Matwiejczyk, Woodmore High School (6-4), No. 3
3085 total yards, 40 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Third Team Quarterback:
Tyler Stoyle, Centerburg High School (10-1), No. 10
2798 total yards of offense, 34 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Honorable Mention Quarterback:
David Murray, Nordonia High School (8-3), No. 8
2603 total yards, 31 total touchdowns
RJ Jacobs, Garaway High School (7-3), No. 18
2675 total yards, 32 total touchdowns
Brenton Colabella, Catholic Central High School (9-3), No. 10
2099 total yards of offense, 32 total touchdowns
All-Ohio First Team Running Back:
Sam Mackowiak, Bishop Hartley (14-2), No. 24
2150 total yards, 30 total touchdowns
Manny Tullius, Belpre High School (7-3), No. 9
2366 total yards, 26 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Second Team Running Back:
D.D. Clark, Hilliard Davidson High School (13-1), No. 12
2024 total yards, 20 total touchdowns
Parris Campbell, St. Vincent St. Mary High School (15-0), No. 21
2061 total yards, 27 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Third Team Running Back:
James Cochran, Highland (Sparta) High School (7-3), No. 42
1607 total yards, 29 total touchdowns
Austin Glasscock, Centerburg High School (10-1), No. 25
1307 total yards, 16 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Honorable Mention Running Back:
Trey Quilin, New Albany High School (11-2), No. 21
998 total yards, 17 total touchdowns
Daryian Davies, Olentangy Liberty (5-5), No. 3
1311 total yards, 14 total touchdowns
Cody German, Danbury High School (3-7), No. 4
1785 total yards, 15 total touchdowns
All-Ohio First Team Wide Receiver:
Connor Troyer, Garaway High School (7-3), No. 32
1327 total yards, 14 total touchdowns
Evan Ulinski, Woodmore High School (6-4), No. 4
1263 total yards, 12 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Second Team Wide Receiver:
Isaiah Gentry, Archbishop Moeller High School (14-1), No. 7
979 total yards, 10 total touchdowns
Jacob Mercier, Bishop Hartley High School (14-2), No. 31
1535 total yards, 18 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Third Team Wide Receiver:
Ryan Fletcher, Catholic Central High School (9-3), No. 22
1272 total yards, 18 total touchdowns
Logan Allison, Gallia Academy High School (5-5), No. 4
1259 total yards, 17 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Honorable Mention Wide Receiver:
Darius Shackleford, Newark High School (1-9), No. 2
946 total yards, 11 total touchdowns
DeJon Bedgood, Belpre High School (7-3), No. 6
1290 total yards, 14 total touchdowns
Jim Chamberlin, Danbury High School (3-7), No. 12
1146 total yards, 12 total touchdowns
All-Ohio Defensive Player of the Year:
Nick Conner, Dublin Scioto High School (6-5), No. 42
129 total tackle, 80 solo, 19 tackle for loss, 7 sack, 3 interception
All-Ohio Defensive Honorable Mention:
Dylan Weigel, Pickerington North High School (10-2), No. 7
103.5 total tackle, 67 solo, 18.5 tackle for loss, 10.5 sack
Dante Booker, St. Vincent St. Mary High School (15-0), No. 47
95 total tackle, 75 solo, 20.5 tackle for loss, 3.5 sack, 2 interception
DJ Leftwich, Belpre High School (7-3), No. 44
121.5 total tackle, 76 solo, 20.5 tackle for loss, 3 sack, 2 interception
Adam Green, Celina Senior High School (7-3), No. 1
86.5 total tackle, 84 solo, 7 tackle for loss, 13 sack