When it competes in the Division IV state championship game at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Ohio State, the Hartley High School football team will try to become just the 13th program to win at least four titles.

When it competes in the Division IV state championship game at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Ohio State, the Hartley High School football team will try to become just the 13th program to win at least four titles.

The Hawks' opponent happens to be aiming for the same thing.

In one of three state final rematches, Hartley will meet Steubenville after beating the Big Red 31-28 for last year's title.

The other teams going for title repeats are Cincinnati La Salle in Division II, Akron Hoban in Division III and Coldwater in Division V.

Coldwater defeated Canton Central Catholic for the last two Division V titles after beating Hartley 24-7 in the 2013 championship game. In Division II, La Salle beat Massillon Perry 42-0 in last year's final.

The Hawks are 12-2 and the Big Red is 13-1.

"Some teams don't like to talk about (winning back-to-back titles), but we embraced that," senior linebacker Jack Baughman said. "Now we get a shot to do that against a great team."

Hartley previously won state titles in 1986 and 2010 as well as last season, while the Big Red's state titles came in 1984, 2005 and 2006.

On Nov. 25 in state semifinals, the Hawks beat Kettering Alter 14-7 at London and Steubenville defeated Perry 51-27 at Youngstown Boardman.

Marquette Dixon rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries to lead Hartley, including a 5-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

Alter nearly tied it with 13.6 seconds left in the third quarter, but quarterback Ryan Markoff was stopped at the 1 on fourth-and-goal.

Hartley then went on a 22-play, 92-yard drive that took 10 minutes, 46 seconds off the clock.

The Knights finished 13-1.

"It's the best feeling to get back (to the state final) and see what we can do," Dixon said. "I know what my team can do. I know what the coaches can do. We're going to have to play our best."

Steubenville was undefeated heading into last year's state final, but the Hawks got a go-ahead 40-yard field goal by Ben Hawk with 4:57 to play and became the first team all season to score more than 21 points on the Big Red.

On Sept. 30, Steubenville lost to Division III playoff qualifier Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 15-7 for its only loss.

The Big Red scored more than 50 points for the third time this season during its state semifinal as it finished with 485 yards of offense -- 249 rushing and 236 passing.

Junior running back Jake Bernard rushed for 86 yards but was injured late in the first quarter and did not return.

The status of the first-team all-East District player is uncertain heading into the state final.

Senior Jalen McGhee, a second-team all-district selection at linebacker, rushed for 80 yards while junior Jamaal Petteway added 46 yards rushing.

Junior quarterback Javon Davis, who was honorable mention all-district, completed 13 of 19 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

Neither of his touchdown passes, however, went to senior wide receiver Charles Reeves, who was named his district's Offensive Player of the Year.

The other first-team all-district selection on offense for Steubenville was senior lineman Drone Moore.

Senior Shyoun Petteway (DB) was the district's Defensive Player of the Year and was joined on the all-district first-team defense by seniors Ny'Juan Robinson (DL), Nick Scott (DB), Mark Smith (P) and Zane Zamish (LB).

While Hartley gave up just four first downs and finished with 17 against Alter, the Big Red built a 45-13 lead on a 41-yard touchdown run by McGhee as its state semifinal went to a running clock in the third quarter.

Steubenville was the second seed for the Region 15 playoffs and had its closest postseason game Nov. 18 when it beat Shelby 29-15.

Hartley also had to survive a comeback attempt during a 38-35 victory over Ottawa-Glandorf to win the Region 14 title.

"Steubenville is really good, and they're probably pretty hungry to play us," coach Brad Burchfield said.

"We'll have to play our best. I guess it's the rematch of the century."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek