Newark Catholic returns to State Final Four thanks to a dominant third quarter

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NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio (WOUB) – Newark Catholic and Shadyside met for the second year in a row for a chance at the state final four. Last year when these two met in the Region 27 championship the final score was 10-7 with the Green Wave coming out on top. This year both of these teams eclipsed last year’s totals by the midway point of the first quarter.

The stage was set at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia and the Green Wave got the party started. They received the opening kickoff and a smart and efficient drive, lead by Cole Canter, was capped off with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Canter to Brandon Buchanan.

On the ensuing kickoff Shadyside took no time getting on the board as Mason VanNest took the kickoff 88 yards all the way to the barn. After a missed PAT the score was 7-6 Newark Catholic on top.

On the next Green Wave possession, a Canter pass intended for Mason Hackett on an out route would be too high for him to handle. The ball tipped off of Hackett’s fingertips and would be intercepted and taken into the endzone by Korey Beckett. Before you could blink it was 14-7 Shadyside without the Tigers offense even taking the field.

Newark Catholic took two haymakers but did not even flinch. Canter shook off the interception and lead a drive, highlighted by a Mason Hackett 30-yard run, that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tristan Gorius to tie the score at 14 all with still 6:12 left to play in the first quarter.

The Shadyside offense was finally able to get the ball and put it in the hands of their start running back, Wyatt Reiman. Reiman had 46 yards on the Tigers opening drive that was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 20-14 after a failed 2-point conversion.

That score would hold until halftime. Penalties and turnovers would stall drives for both teams’ offenses as the defenses seemed to tighten things up. The best chance for a score came on the final two plays of the half as the Tigers had the ball on the Newark Catholic 16. Both of the passes would fall incomplete and both teams headed to the locker room.

Newark Catholic head coach Ryan Aiello had this to say about the Green Wave’s struggles in the first half and the message at halftime, “It was just keep our composure with what was going on. Obviously, credit to Shadyside for putting us in a very tough position, taking advantage of out turnovers and special teams game.”

The third quarter was then dominated by the Newark Catholic Green Wave. It started with a Mason Hackett interception that he took all the way for touchdown. The Green Wave took a slim 21-20 lead.

The Newark Catholic defense then stopped the Tigers on a 4th-and-10 from the Green Wave 25-yard line. Cole Canter and the offense took over and drove down the field. Brandon Buchanan got separation from his man and Canter found him for a 36-yard score to put the Green Wave up eight, 28-20.

With 34 seconds left in the quarter and Shadyside driving, the Tigers tried a deep pass down the right sideline and it was intercepted by Matt Kirk. Kirk played the ball perfectly by tipping it into the air and was rewarded by the ball falling right into his lap, he secured it in the endzone for a touchback and the Green Wave took over.

On the second play of the final quarter Cole Canter found a wide-open Grant Moore and Moore ran it into the end zone for Canter’s fourth passing touchdown of the night and putting the game seemingly out of reach going up by 15 points, 35-20.

With Shadyside driving in the middle of the fourth quarter, Anthony Dry picked off his third pass in the last two games and the Green Wave’s third interception of the second half. That interception sealed the game for Newark Catholic.

The Green Wave are your Region 27 champions and will head to the state final four. They will play the team they met in the state final four last year, Warren JFK. Warren JFK defeated the Green Wave 20-13.

Coach Aiello had this to say about Warren JFK, “Obviously again another program we have a tremendous amount of respect for. They did a great job last year obviously knocking us out, so there will be some familiarity there but I know we’re a different team they’re a different team losing the quality seniors that both teams did. So, it’ll be a new opportunity and new challenge for us.”

For the second year in a row the Shadyside Tigers season ends in the regional final against Newark Catholic. This is the end of the road for senior Wyatt Reiman, who finished the game with 26 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown.

Cole Canter finished the night going 14-18 for 210 yards and four passing touchdowns.

Grant Moore and Brandon Buchanan lead the way in receiving. Moore had five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Buchanan finished with three catches, 64 yards and two touchdowns.

Mason Hackett again led the way on the ground for the Green Wave as he had 20 rushes for 159 yards.

Newark Catholic will travel to Marlington High School in Alliance, Ohio to face off against Warren JFK who defeated Dalton in overtime after being down 13-0 at halftime. The winner will head to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio for the Division VII state championship