CANTON, Ohio — Taking on the Hamilton Badin Rams at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, the Chardon Hilltoppers made history in their efforts to win the team's second consecutive state title.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III championship game kicked off at 3 p.m., and before the end of the first quarter, the Hilltoppers took a 7-0 lead thanks to a 36-yard touchdown pass from Alex Henry to Nathanael Sulka and a successful extra point from Nathan Tager.
Hamilton Badin tied things up near the end of the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown run from Jack Walsh and extra point from Jackson Niesen.
Chardon took the lead again with nine minutes left in the third quarter after a 27-yard touchdown run from Andrew Bruce, but the Rams answered back shortly after with a six-yard touchdown run from Carter Russo, tying things up 14-14.
With just over a minute left to play in the fourth quarter, Sean Carr ran two-yards for another Chardon touchdown, giving the Hilltoppers a 21-14 lead that they held through the final seconds.
The Hilltoppers' win Friday marked the school's third football state title and their second consecutive.
But perhaps even more impressively, the win made Chardon the first team in OHSAA football history to go 16-0 on a season.
"Congratulations to the Chardon High School varsity football team on its phenomenal, history-making 16-0 season - an OHSAA first - that culminated with a thrilling 21-14 Division III State Championship win over Hamilton Badin on Friday evening at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton," Chardon Local School said in a statement. "While we often speak of hard work and talent when discussing the accomplishment of any of our student teams — both athletic and academic — we understand there truly aren’t words adequate to capture the hundreds of hours combined with teamwork and a commitment to practice that occur over a period of months in preparation for these competitions."
The district plans to formally recognize the players and coaches at the upcoming board meeting on Dec. 13.
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