Irishman representing Valley in state football final | News, Sports, Jobs

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Brady Shannon of the Ursulines runs away from a Port Clinton defenseman in the first half of their state semi-final game on Saturday night at Euclid High School. (David Dermer / Chronicle of Warren Tribune)

For the 32nd year in the 50-year history of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football tournament, the Mahoning Valley will be represented in the state final.

In this case, Ursuline will sport the Mahoning Valley banner during the 2021 Division IV State title match.

Last Friday, Ursuline beat Port Clinton 34-17 in a Division IV semifinal contest. The Irish (11-3) will now face Clinton-Massie (13-1), who qualified for the championship game with a 24-21 win over previously undefeated Bloom-Carroll.

The Irish and Falcons will play Friday morning at 10:30 am at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

Springfield and Warren John F. Kennedy were both eliminated this weekend.

Ursuline is no stranger to playing in state title games, having appeared in five games with a 4-1 record.

Ursuline won her first title in 2000 under Jim Vivo. After finishing second in 2007, the Irish won three consecutive State Championships from 2008-2010, all led by current coach Dan Reardon on his first stint at school.

Ursuline holds a 49-17 playoff record with 22 playoff appearances.

Clinton-Massie is certainly no stranger to the playoffs. The Falcons are in the playoffs for the 20th straight year. During that time, they appeared in three state title matches, winning back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013.

The 2013 final was a 27-21 victory over Youngstown Cardinal Mooney.

Clinton-Massie holds a 39-18 playoff record. Head coach Dan McSurley, now in his 26th year at school, is 248-65 with the Falcons.

Clinton-Massie has won 13 straight games since losing his first game of the season. The Falcons are averaging 43.7 points per game. In a four-game midseason streak, the Falcons have scored 69, 42, 79 and 70 points.

Ursuline hopes to end a four-game losing streak by area teams in the state playoffs. Warren JFK was the last team in the region to win a title (2016). Since then, Girard, JFK and Springfield (twice) have lost league games.

HISTORY OF THE ZONE qualifiers

When the playoffs were introduced to Ohio high school football in 1972, schools in Mahoning Valley had an immediate impact.

Warren Western Reserve won the very first Class AAA title in 1972 with a 37-6 victory over Cincinnati Princeton. The reserve would return to the title game the following year, only to lose to Cardinal Youngstown Mooney. It was the only time in playoff history that a pair of Valley teams met in a title game.

In 1974, Warren G. Harding completed the hat trick for area teams by winning his first state title with a resounding 41-8 victory over Upper Arlington.

From 1972 to 2020, Mahoning Valley was represented 42 times in state title matches. Nine different schools in the area combined to win 21 state championships.

The state championships were won by Cardinal Mooney (8), Ursuline (4), JFK (2), Warren G. Harding (2), Warren Western Reserve, Brookfield, West Branch, Poland and Lisbon.

Six schools in the area lost in their only final appearance. They understand; Girard, Boardman, Campbell, Youngstown Chaney, Canfield and Wellsville. McDonald and Springfield are 0-2.

Mahoning Valley sent two teams to the state finals in the same season on seven different occasions. A trio of regional teams progressed in both 1989 (Campbell, JFK, McDonald) and 1994 (West Branch, Wellsville, McDonald).

In 2009, Ursuline and Mooney both won trophies – the only time two regional teams have won titles in the same year.

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