They are big-time standouts at the small-school high school state football power.
“Athletes like this don’t come around that often,” marveled Goodwin following last week’s 40-19 knockout of Midwest Athletic Conference rival Coldwater at Sidney. “That’s 6-6 and throwing to 6-4. They’re pretty special for our level.”
At 6 feet 4, Nick Tangeman (24) makes a big Flyers’ target. He had nine catches for 167 yards and two TDs in a 40-19 defeat of Coldwater at Sidney on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Marion Local (12-1) has extended another special season to the Week 14 Division VI state semifinals against Attica Seneca East (12-1) at Lima Spartan Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. Also on Friday it’s Alter (12-1) vs. Norwalk (10-3) in a D-III state semifinal at Wapakoneta. On Saturday, Fort Loramie (12-1) is paired against McComb (12-1) also at Wapak.
Marion Local will be heavily favored to win and play for another state championship. Here’s why:
»» RELATED: Area teams in state semifinals
»» RELATED: Quick start propels Marion Local
A two-time defending D-VI state champion, Marion Local has amassed 10 state football titles in 16 championship appearances. That’s just one title behind the state’s all-time leader, Cleveland St. Ignatius.
Thanksgiving Day practice is a given at the Flyers’ home base of Maria Stein in Mercer County. The Flyers have a streak of seven state-title appearances going. That’s 105 games in each of those seasons, 15 apiece. The seniors on the previous four Flyers teams all dressed for 60 varsity football games.
Marion Local QB Nathan Bruns completed 15 of 22 passes for 284 yards and three TDs in a 40-19 defeat of Coldwater at Sidney on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
That abundance of extra Friday night experience is invaluable to building and maintaining a football dynasty. Bruns, Tangeman and a talented cast of many take that to blue and gold heart.
»» PHOTOS: Marion Local vs. Coldwater, football playoffs
»» FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: It’s Coldwater vs. Marion Local
Bruns torched Coldwater, completing 15 of 21 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns.
Tangeman had nine catches for 167 yards, including TD receptions that covered 38 and 18 yards. His 41-yard catch-and-run set up another score.
Theirs is a special connection that has yet to be stopped. In the 2017 state title game, Tangeman was good for six catches from Bruns for 120 yards and two scores. Every team Marion Local faced this season knew what was coming and had no answer. Lean on the Flyers’ passing game and running backs Nolan Habadasz, Matt Rethman and Brandon Fleck take over.
»» RELATED: Top Southwest District honors for area players, coaches
»» RELATED: List of area seniors who signed
These are special times in Flyers’ sports history. Bruns will divert that take-charge ability to the University of Findlay, where he’ll play basketball. Tangeman is drawing small-school interest and remains uncommitted. Should he choose to pursue football, some program should pinch itself as lucky.
Flyers receiver Nick Tangeman had two TD catches. Marion Local defeated Kirtland 34-11 to win a D-VI high school football state title at Canton on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Both will be starters when basketball makes its annual delayed start. Marion Local is the defending D-IV state champ in hoop, too.
»» RELATED: UC lands Xenia standout
“It’s motivation,” Bruns said as Tangeman was lit up by Lima television cameras in the middle of Sidney’s Memorial Stadium. “You know it’s going to be your last year (of football). You’re out here with all your classmates, so you’ve got to make the most of it.”
»» RELATED: Football playoffs an Alter tradition
»» RELATED: Lebanon leaving GWOC
»» RELATED: Northmont falls to Pickerington Central again
»» PHOTOS: Northmont vs. Pickerington Central, football playoffs
»» RELATED: 7 things to know about the football playoffs
»» RELATED: Final football power rankings
»» FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton
»» TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
»» FACEBOOK LIVE: Hartsock and Pendleton on football playoffs
Marion Local (12-1) vs. Attica Seneca East (12-1) at Lima Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m.