Marion Local routs Newark Catholic for record 12th state title

Cutline: The Marion Local High School football team hoists the trophy after beating Newark Catholic 42-7 in the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

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Cutline: The Marion Local High School football team hoists the trophy after beating Newark Catholic 42-7 in the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

CANTON — After falling to eventual state champion New Bremen in a Division VII regional final game last season, the Marion Local High School football team had something to prove this fall.

16 perfect weeks later, the Flyers are state champions for the second time in three years.

Marion Local dominated Newark Catholic 42-7 in the D-VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, earning an Ohio High School Athletic Association-record 12th state championship.

“The day after we lost that game (last season), we were back in the weight room,” said senior lineman Robby Buschur. “We didn’t want to stop playing football because that’s not what we were used to doing, so we just kept putting in that work. Our motto all season has been ‘Something to prove.’ We felt after that loss, we had something to prove. We wanted to come out and play football to the best level we could and I think that’s what we did.”

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Marion Local High School senior Peyton Otte throws the ball during the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Marion Local High School senior Peyton Otte throws the ball during the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

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Marion Local High School senior Peyton Otte throws the ball during the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

Senior quarterback Peyton Otte went 13-for-18 for 252 yards and three TDs and rushed for 65 yards and two TDs for Marion Local (16-0).

“As a kid, that’s what you dream of, going to the state finals and coming out on top,” said senior Brady Ronnebaum, who caught six passes for 124 yards and two scores. “It’s an unexplainable feeling. It’s awesome.”

Junior running back Darren Meier scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter to give Marion Local an early 7-0 lead. They took a 21-0 lead after Otte hit senior Ronnebaum on touchdown passes of 19 and 51 yards.

Newark Catholic (14-2) responded with a 10-yard TD pass from Cole Canter to Mason Hackett to pull within 14 points.

After forcing the Flyers to punt, Newark Catholic drove to midfield, but Canter was intercepted by Marion Local’s Aidan Eifert. The Flyers responded with an 11-play, 50-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard TD run by Otte to make it 28-7 at the half.

“That was a huge swing right there,” said Flyers coach Tim Goodwin. “They had the momentum. The score we had right before half had to be deflating for Newark Catholic.”

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Cutline 1: Marion Local High School senior wide receiver Brady Ronnebaum catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter of the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Cutline 1: Marion Local High School senior wide receiver Brady Ronnebaum catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter of the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

caption arrowCaption
Cutline 1: Marion Local High School senior wide receiver Brady Ronnebaum catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter of the Division VII state championship game on Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

In the second half, the Flyers scored on a 54-yard run by Otte and a 39-yard pass from Otte to senior Darren Fleck to start the running clock and start the celebration.

With the victory, the Flyers surpassed Cleveland St. Ignatius for the most in OHSAA history.

The senior class grew up coming to state championships, dreaming of one day playing for their own state title, Fleck said.

“We just wanted to be in their shoes,” he said.

The victory was even more special for the Flyers senior class after falling short last season, Otte said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better team to play with or a better coaching staff,” Otte said. “It’s hard to digest your last game in a Flyer uniform, but this is the way we wanted to go out.”

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