COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Canton Central Catholic finally beat Coldwater in a state championship game after losing to the Cavaliers in the final for the past two seasons. But it took some last-minute heroics to do it.
Jack Murphy threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Tee Rupp with 58 seconds left to spur Central Catholic to a 16-13 win Saturday night, breaking Coldwater’s string of four straight Division V titles.
“It is an amazing feeling, I can’t even describe it,” Murphy said. “We came out here the past two years and we lost to them. The one thing that has been on our mind has been coming down here to beat them, and we did that.”
Coldwater (13-2) rallied in the fourth quarter and went ahead 13-9 on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Dylan Thobe before Central Catholic’s 11-play, 92-yard drive to clinch it.
“We believed we could do it the whole time,” Rupp said. “We got that ball back with 2 minutes left and we said ‘we are going to win this game.'”
After the score, Coldwater drove to Central Catholic’s 39 yard line, but a last gasp Thobe pass into the end zone was intercepted by the Crusaders’ Brady Thompson as time expired.
Central Catholic (11-3) had scored in the third quarter on 12-yard TD pass from Murphy to Cameron Ruffin. Dan Mills, who broke a state Division V record when he kicked a 48-yard field goal at the end of the first half, missed the extra point.
Murphy was 18 for 29 for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Ruffin picked up 72 yards on the ground on eight carries for Central Catholic.
Thobe completed 15 passes on 29 tries, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Neal Muhlenkamp in the third quarter. But he also threw three interceptions, two of which led to points for Central Catholic on the subsequent drives.
“If you’re gonna beat Coldwater, something special is gonna have to happen, you gotta keep after them,” Central Catholic coach Jeff Lindesmith said. “They never die. You have to put a couple daggers in them, not just one.”
The only scoring in the first half was the 48-yard field goal by Mills, which eclipsed the 42-yard shot by Bluffton’s Chad Koontz in 1991.
Yards on the ground in the first half were hard to come by, with Coldwater rushing for 36 and Central Catholic managing just 28. Both teams had 98 yards passing in the half.
“If you’re a fan, that’s the kind of game you want to see,” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. “A lot of good plays, a lot of big plays. Unfortunately, a lot of missed opportunities for us.”
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