PIQUA — Coldwater’s Tanner Muhlenkamp returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown 51 seconds into a Division VI state semifinal Nov. 27, setting the tone in a 35-13 win over West Jefferson.
The sixth-ranked Cavaliers improved to 13-2 and will play eighth-ranked Carey for the state championship at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. The Blue Devils improved to 14-1 by defeating seventh-ranked New Middletown Springfield 26-13 in the other semifinal.
“Tanner made a really good play,” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. “He had the flat coverage but we told them all week that they don’t throw to the flat that often so he was able to sink right underneath. ... He’s fast, and he took it to the house.”
The Cavaliers built a 21-6 halftime lead, with the ninth-ranked Roughriders scoring on field goals of 34 and 37 yards by Mason Cordetti.
“They are athletic,” said West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher, whose team finished 13-2. “They can match up with us and run with us.
“They did a good job of mixing up coverages, and they are more coverage-oriented than we have seen from them in the past. They do some different things and do them well.”
Coldwater, which improved to 5-0 in the series, held West Jefferson scoreless in the second half until senior quarterback Tyler Buescher connected with senior wide receiver M.J. Book on a 2-yard scoring pass with 8 seconds remaining.
“We knew we had to make some plays and that they were extremely athletic on the back end,” coach Buescher said. “We thought there were some things we could take advantage of schematically. That (opening interception) was the same play we ran for a touchdown later.”
Tyler Buescher was 16-for-27 passing for 94 yards with two interceptions. Junior running back Tanner Salyer rushed for 69 yards on 19 carries.
“Our senior players have made the playoffs all four years with two league championships and two final four appearances,” coach Buescher said. “They have added a lot to program and they should be proud of themselves.”
Running back Isaac Fullenkamp led the Cavaliers with 104 yards rushing on 19 carries with touchdowns of 4 and 7 yards. Quarterback Reece Dellinger had two touchdown passes, a 29-yarder to wide receiver Marcel Blasingame and a 52-yarder to tight end Jesse Meyer.
WEST JEFFERSON: 0-6-0-7--13
CO—T. Muhlenkamp 82 interception return (Ju. Kaup kick)
CO—Fullenkamp 4 run (Ju. Kaup kick)
WJ—Cordetti 34 FG
CO—Blasingame 29 pass from Dellinger (Ju. Kaup kick)
WJ—Cordetti 37 FG
CO—Meyer 52 pass from Dellinger (Ju. Kaup kick)
CO—Fullenkamp 7 run (Ju. Kaup kick)
WJ—Book 2 pass from Buescher (Cordetti kick)
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Division VI state semifinal: Coldwater shuts down West Jefferson