CANTON, Ohio — For the second time in four years, the Wyoming wagon train of Cowboys made the 232-plus mile trek from Pendery Avenue to Stark County's Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. After winning their first championship in since 1977 in 2018, coach Aaron Hancock's undefeated crew was after the hat trick.
Playing the top seed overall in Ohio Division IV, the Wyoming High School Cowboys fell short of a third state football championship Saturday night losing to Cleveland Glenville, 26-6. Wyoming was briefly tied with the Tarblooders but never led.
"We had to travel four hours to get some really good competition," Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock said. "They're a really good team. I told them (Wyoming) there was nothing to hang their head about. They're still a good football team. Not many high school seniors get to play their last football game in the state championship. That's something to be proud of."
It was Wyoming’s lowest-scoring output of the season. In the regional final, they had downed Taft 7-0.
In his final game, Western Michigan commit C.J. Hester gained 98 yards, with 81 of those coming on a first-quarter touchdown. It was the first time all season he had been held below 100. However, the decorated senior was held out most of the second half. Wyoming tried throwing the ball but junior Quaid Hauer was 11-for-21 for 93 yards while doubling at linebacker.
"I want it bad," Hauer said about hoping to reach this level next year.
Making his presence known for Glenville was junior running back D'Shawntae Jones, who plowed through the Cowboys for 176 yards and three touchdowns leading Glenville to their first-ever state title. Jones is the nephew of former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones.
Both teams came in unbeaten but coach Ted Ginn Sr.’s Tarblooders played a pair of Division I schools, four Division II teams and three Division III squads during the regular season. They didn’t face any Division IV teams until they began their 6-0 run through the OHSAA playoffs.
Their last appearance in Canton was a 2013 loss in the snow to Loveland in the Division II title game. Since then they dropped to Division III, then Division IV in 2021.
Arvell Reese, who had an interception in the game, is an Ohio State commit with an NFL body of 6 feet, 3 inches and 245 pounds. Jones, a Division I recruit, thrust his 240 pounds across the goal line three times.
The group of Wyoming seniors departing Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Saturday left with just four losses in 54 games, all coming against state champions. They never lost a Cincinnati Hills League game. But, none of the CHL teams are physically similar to the talented Tarblooders, who won in front of a crowd of 4,168 Saturday night.
Glenville had 14 players who weighed 250 pounds or more to Wyoming’s four. For a quarter, it was a game. Then the poundage took over.
"They've got big kids. They've got fast kids," Hancock said. "Our kids kept working hard and moving forward."
Said senior lineman Wyatt Metz, "Their defensive line is big and linebackers are really good. It was a war up front. We knew it was going to be a war and we tried as hard as we could."
Close for a while
Wyoming achieved a first down on their initial possession but turned the ball over when Hester caught a Hauer pass and fumbled. After a false start, Glenville’s Rucker threw to his 6-foot-3 tight end Damarion Witten for the game’s first score.
Finally, on Wyoming’s third possession, Hester cut loose scampering 81 yards down the Cowboys' home sideline to knot the game. The Cowboys would not score again.
Early in frame two, Jones hit pay turf from the 29. Glenville normally doesn’t kick extra points and a second 2-point attempt failed. Jones would run unscathed into the endzone before halftime. Wyoming threatened before the break but Reese picked off Hauer with the Cowboys at the 12-yard line.
Out of the half, the Jones show continued with a 45-yard scoring jaunt before the Cowboys had a possession. It would be the final score of the game. Hester left the game shortly thereafter under concussion protocol and the Cowboys couldn't regain momentum. Glenville outrushed them 240-102 and punted just twice in the game.
Wyoming finished the season 15-1. Glenville finishes a perfect 15-0.
GLENVILLE 6 12 8 0 - 26
WYOMING 6 0 0 0 - 6
G – Rucker 39-yard pass to Witten (two-point failed)
W – Hester 81-yard run (kick failed)
G – Jones 29-yard run (two-point failed)
G – Jones 1-yard run (two-point failed)
G – Jones 45-yard run (Gravely kick)
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio's DIV state football title goes to Glenville over Wyoming