Springfield one win away from Clark County’s first state football championship

Springfield High School quarterback Te'Sean Smoot runs the ball during their game against Dublin Jerome on Friday night in Springfield. Smoot threw four touchdowns and ran for another as Springfield won 34-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Springfield High School quarterback Te'Sean Smoot runs the ball during their game against Dublin Jerome on Friday night in Springfield. Smoot threw four touchdowns and ran for another as Springfield won 34-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

Wildcats face Lakewood St. Edward in Division I title game at 7:30 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield High School football program is one win away from claiming Clark County’s first state football championship since the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff era began in 1972.

The Wildcats (13-1) will play Lakewood St. Edward (14-1) in the Division I state championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

After falling in the state semifinals each of the past two seasons, the Wildcats were finally able to break through, beating Cincinnati Moeller 22-21 last week to advance to Week 16 in Canton.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to be in this situation,” said Springfield coach Maurice Douglass, who is in his eighth season with the program. “We haven’t been there the last two years prior to this one. We’ve been knocking at the door being in the final four and not getting in. We’re excited about the opportunity to play (in the state finals).”

ExploreWhat to know about today's state championship game

One of Ohio’s most successful programs stands in Springfield’s way. Lakewood St. Edward is making its eighth appearance in the state championship game, winning four state titles with its most recent coming in 2018.

The Eagles have won six straight games since falling to Moeller 28-21 in overtime on Oct. 16.

Offensively, St. Edward averages 36.7 points per game. The Eagles are led by dual threat quarterback senior Christian Ramos, who’s thrown for 2,003 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 720 yards and 15 TDs. Senior running back Danny Enovitch has rushed for 1,425 yards and 15 TDs. The St. Edward receiving corps has five players with 15 or more catches, led by senior wideout Rayshawn Manning, Jr. (36 catches, 499 yards, 4 TDs).

The Eagles’ defensive unit is allowing just 9.2 points per game. They’re led by senior linebacker Zyion Freer-Brown (128 tackles) and two strong defensive ends — senior Matt Kilbane (96 tackles, 16 sacks) and junior Wyatt Gedeon (96 tackles, 9 sacks).

“We’re going to have our hands full on both sides of the ball,” Douglass said.

When asked what he’s concerned about with Springfield, Lakewood St. Edward coach Tom Lombardo said, “a lot of things,” but especially Wildcats quarterback Te’Sean Smoot. The senior has accounted for 3,617 yards of total offense and 42 total TDs this season.

“He’s a dual threat in the true sense of the word,” Lombardo said.

The Wildcats have won six straight games since falling to Miamisburg 22-21 in Week 9. They’ve allowed just 28 points throughout the playoff run, including three three shutouts.

“They’re definitely very formidable and it should be an excellent game,” Lombardo said.

The key will be taking care of the ball in a game where every possession will be precious, Douglass said. The Wildcats fumbled twice in last week’s state semifinal victory over Moeller.

“We can’t give the ball up this week,” Douglass said. “We have to be mindful of every situation that we have an opportunity to score. We can’t leave points on the board without taking advantage of it.”

After finally advancing to Week 16, the Wildcats will now set their sights on bringing the state championship trophy back to Springfield.

“It’s so huge for the city and the people that are involved in the community,” Douglass said. “We’re so happy for them to be able to get an opportunity where they can play for a title. Now that we’re here, there’s nothing like finishing the deal.”

TODAY’S GAME

Who: Springfield (13-1) vs. Lakewood St. Edward (14-1)

What: Division I state football championship game

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton

TV: Spectrum News 1 or ohsaa.tv.

Tickets: ohsaa.org/tickets

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