MASSILLON -- During the opening possession of the Division V state football championship game Dec. 7 in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium against Coldwater, Hartley High School senior running back Sam Mackowiak came up 1 yard short of a first down on fourth-and-3 from the Cavaliers 16.
It was the first of several examples of how difficult it would be for the Hawks to gain traction offensively against the defending state champions.
Hartley was stopped inside the Coldwater 30 without points four other times and ran out of answers in slowing down Cavaliers quarterback Brody Hoying as it lost 24-7.
Hoying passed for 83 yards and rushed 24 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair of fourth-quarter scores, to give Coldwater a final record of 13-2 and its fourth state championship.
The Hawks finished 13-2, with their other loss coming 41-16 to the Cavaliers on Sept. 6.
“Every yard was kind of like a battle,” coach Brad Burchfield said. “It was so physical. In some respects you know it’s going to be hard when you’re going against a great football team.”
After Hartley’s second possession ended with an incompletion by Jared Brandewie on fourth-and-8 from the Coldwater 23, the Cavaliers drove for the game’s first points, a 30-yard field goal by Matt Kramer with 7 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half.
The Hawks got to the Coldwater 26 on the ensuing drive, but Mackowiak was stopped for a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-3 from the Cavaliers 26.
Coldwater then moved 77 yards on nine plays, with Hoying completing a 23-yard pass to Mitch Schoenherr to the Hartley 9 and running for a touchdown on the next play to give it a 10-0 halftime lead.
On the first play of the third quarter, Hartley’s Tayron Washington forced Schoenherr to fumble and recovered the loose ball at the Coldwater 45.
The Hawks’ Alonzo Saxton then took a handoff from Brandewie on the next play and connected with Jacob Mercier for a 30-yard pass. Three plays later, Brandewie ran in for a 7-yard touchdown to cut it to 10-7.
Brandewie lost a fumble at the Coldwater 19 with 6:03 left in the third quarter, but Mercier intercepted a halfback pass from Kramer on the next play.
Hartley then drove to the Coldwater 16, but Brandewie was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Nick Clune before being intercepted by Hoying.
The Cavaliers drove 64 yards on 10 plays on the ensuing possession, including a 3-yard touchdown run by Hoying with 5:26 left, to make it 17-7.
Hoying added a 32-yard scoring run with 2:46 to go to round out the scoring.
“They did a great job of getting pressure on us,” Brandewie said. “They’re really well-coached and are just relentless.”
Saxton rushed for 75 yards on eight carries and Brandewie had 51 yards on 15 rushes. Mackowiak, who entered the game with more than 2,000 yards rushing, was held to 60 yards on 20 carries.
Coldwater limited Hartley to just 3.7 yards per rush.
Hoying, who intercepted a pass on Kirtland’s final drive to seal a 10-9 win for Coldwater in last year’s state final, passed for 21 touchdowns and rushed for 32 in his first season at quarterback this fall.
“He’s really good,” Burchfield said. “I thought a lot of the time until the end we did a pretty good job on him. He’s a great football player.”
C--Kramer 30 FG
C--Hoying 9 run (Kramer kick)
H--Brandewie 7 run (Barringer kick)
C--Hoying 3 run (Kramer kick)
C--Hoying 32 run (Kramer kick)