Marion Local, Fort Loramie Roll Into State Semifinals

Staff Writer

The Fort Loramie and Marion Local football teams are a win away from the Ohio high school football promised land.

Marion Local advanced to Friday's Division VI state semifinal game at Lima Spartan Stadium against Seneca East while Fort Loramie will now face McComb on Saturday at Wapakoneta.

FORT LORAMIE 48, CRESTVIEW 20

The Redskins are regional champions and headed to the state semifinals after a dominating second half led to a 48-20 win over Crestview in a Division VII regional championship game at Spartan Stadium in Lima. The sizable Loramie crowd roared with approval as Fort Loramie football hoisted its helmets to the fight song and then lifted up its first regional title football trophy.

In head coach Spencer Wells’ first season and just the 14th season of the program’s existence, the Redskins have made the leap from a perennial playoff qualifier to a championship contender thanks to a dominating defense and big-play offense. After 12 straight wins since a season-opening loss Minster, they’ll play McComb on Saturday night in Wapakoneta for a chance to play in the state championship game for the first time in the program’s history — which only began in 2005.

“I just love them,” Wells said. “They’ve bought in from the get-go. They’re a very special team. I’m so honored to be their coach and let’s keep it rolling. It’s crazy. It’s been so much fun.”

Fort Loramie’s defense played a bend-but-don’t-break first half as the teams played to a 14-14 halftie standoff, stopping the Knights’ high-powered offense on fourth downs deep inside Redskin territory three times. Those defensive stands gave way to a dominant second half in which Fort Loramie piled up 34 points.

Carter Mescher jumpstarted the big second half with an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead, one of two touchdowns Mescher scored in the game.

“Carter is such an electric player and we talked at halftime that we thought we took their best punch in the first half and we hadn’t thrown ours yet,” Wells said. “And with that opening kickoff, we threw our punch.”

Fort Loramie found great success in the running game with quarterback Collin Moore. It was nothing fancy, just great blocking up front and simple single-wing plays that Moore turned into long touchdown runs that put Crestview away. Moore finished the game with four rushing touchdowns and 132 yards on the ground.

Fort Loramie extended the lead to 28-14 with a 21-yard Collin Moore touchdown run.

A 54-yard touchdown run down the right sideline midway through the third quarter made it 34-14.

“They really adjusted to one of our formations, so we decided to run it with Collin,” Wells said. “He’s run it well all year. It was just something we saw during the game and we rolled with it.”

Fort Loramie kept the game tied in the first half with a Mescher 60-yard touchdown run on an end-around and a seven-yard Moore touchdown run.

MARION LOCAL 40, COLDWATER 19

The Marion Local Flyers are quite a team in the regular season. At one point this season, they were carrying a 36-game winning streak and again captured a piece of the Midwest Athletic Conference title.

They're another level of incredible altogether when it comes playoff time.

Marion Local avenged a  Week 10 loss that ended that long win streak and are once again a win away from another berth in the state championship game with a 40-19 win over the Coldwater Cavaliers on Friday night.

It's the second straight season Marion Local has ended Coldwater's playoff run after the two small-school superpowers were placed in the same division heading into the 2017 season.

Again Marion Local posted 40 points in a win over the Cavs. Again they hoisted the regional championship trophy afterwards.

After losing to Coldwater 26-20 in double overtime back in Week 10, a game where Marion Local turned the ball over five times on a messy weather night, the Flyers played a cleaner game in this postseason match-up.

Nathan Bruns threw for three touchdowns, Nick Tangeman caught two touchdown passes and Marion Local scored the game's first three touchdowns en route to the win.

Coldwater made a late dash to try to get back into it, scoring twice in the matter of four minutes after a Noah Miller touchdown catch, a recovered onside kick and a Ben Wenning touchdown run got it to 27-19 with just under seven minutes left.

Marion Local calmly responded and put the game away, capping a touchdown drive with a Darrin Hays touchdown run with five minutes left.