The PIAA football championships are still two weeks away but Ohio wrapped up its season this weekend. St. Ignatius out of Cleveland dominated Pickerington Central 34-13 to win the Division 1 championship. The Wildcats finished 13-2, with the only losses coming to Mentor 38-24 and St. Xavier 14-12. Ignatius defeated Cathedral Prep 42-7 earlier this year. Division 1 is the highest enrollment classification in Ohio.
Oil City graduate and former Franklin coach Tiger LaVerde earned a state title in Division 5. LaVerde is the head coach at Kirtland High School and led his team to a 28-7 win over Coldwater High School to finish 14-0. Also winning state titles were Trotwood-Madison (Division 2), Cardinal Mooney (Division 3), Norwayne (Division 4) and Marion Local (Division 6).
The PIAA semifinals are set with North Allegheny heading to Altoona’s Mansion Park to take on Central Dauphin on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Tigers are the defending Class AAAA state champions while the other three defending champions are still alive as well. The other AAAA semifinal is between North Penn and La Salle College. In Class A, District 7 power Clairton will take on Sharpsville, the last D-10 team in the playoffs, at Slippery Rock’s Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. Clairton eliminated Farrell the past three years in the semifinals.
Defending Class AA champion West Catholic can earn a trip back to Hershey with a win over Lancaster Catholic on Saturday. The winner will get either Tyrone, the team to eliminate Hickory, or WPIAL power Aliquippa. Class AAA features two big-time matchups. Powerhouse Archbishop Wood, who was the preseason pick to run away with the state title, has one more hurdle in defending PIAA champion Allentown Central Catholic on Friday night. The winner heads to Hershey to take on either District 3 power Bishop McDevitt or District 7 champion Montour, who eliminated Grove City 25-21. Allentown C.C. defeated Bishop McDevitt 28-27 in last year’s state championship.
– Tom Reisenweber