Huron football coach Tony Legando could have blamed a lot things — the stiff wind, the biting cold, the strain of a long and arduous schedule — for his Tigers' 60-13 loss to Coldwater in the Division V, Region 16 final at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium on Saturday.
But Legando doesn’t deal in excuses, just the facts.
“The only factor in that game was their quickness,” Legando said. “That was something we could not simulate in practice. Their speed and their quickness took us by surprise.”
Huron ended its 13-week season with a 9-4 record and regional runner-up trophy. Coldwater (11-2) advances to the Division V state semifinals to face West Jefferson (12-1) at a site to be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday.
The Cavaliers knocked out the Tigers in their last two trips to the regional championships, in 2004 (19-6) and 2005 (28-0).
Coldwater has outscored Huron by a combined 107-19 in the three meetings, and the Tigers hold a record of 16-16 all-time in the playoffs.
Coldwater quarterback Brody Hoying had been named Northwest Ohio’s Division V Offensive Player of the year in all-district voting released on Thursday.
Saturday, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior lived up to that honor.
Hoying ran for three touchdowns and passed for three more in a dominating first half that saw the Cavaliers open a commanding 40-0 lead. Hoying finished with 157 yards on 16 carries and 161 yards on 10 of 16 pass completions.
“I have to credit our offensive and defensive lines tonight,” said Coldwater coach Chip Otten.
“But having a player like No. 15 (Hoying) running things, sure makes things a lot easier.”
“The offensive line was awesome,” Hoying said. “When they’re doing their job like that, it creates those gaps that I can take advantage of.”
Coldwater won the toss and deferred. Huron took the ball, and Coldwater took the wind at its back.
That game-opening sequence proved pivotal.
On Huron’s first snap of the game, quarterback Cody Thompson couldn’t get a handle on the low snap and fell on the ball for a 7-yard loss. Two plays later, his punt into a stiff north wind went 27 yards, setting Coldwater up at the Huron 47. Hoying covered 40 of the 47 yards on two plays, a 25-yard dash on second-and-6 and 15 yards for the score.
A false-start penalty hurt Huron on its next possession, Thompson slipped and fell for an 8-yard loss on third down and again he punted. Huron again started in Huron territory, covering the 45 yards in six plays, the last a 27-yard strike from Hoying to Drew Otten.
Coldwater’s defense made sure Huron never recovered, limiting the Tigers to two first downs, 14 yards total offense and a minus 3 yards rushing the entire first half.
“Getting off to a quick that start was important for us,” Otten said. “One of our goals was to start fast and grab the momentum and we were able to do that.”
Hoying added 12- and 3-yard touchdown runs in the first half, and fired TD passes to Mitch Schoenherr (11 yards) and Adam Klosterman (16 yards) as the Cavaliers surged ahead 40-0.
Coldwater pushed the lead to 47-0 before Thompson rallied Huron. The University of Toledo recruit fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Dowell midway through the third quarter, then scored on a tackle-busting 9-yard run in the fourth.
Thompson threw for 87 yards, and led Huron with 60 yards rushing.
“I know every coach says this, but I’m proud of these kids and what they accomplished,” Legando said.
“Being able to get to the regional final is something special. We played a real tough schedule and battled through it. We came up short in this game, but there are a lot of things we can look back at and be proud of what these kids have done.”