For the second consecutive year, the Cuyahoga Heights football team is a state runner-up.
One year after finishing in second place in Division VI, Cuyahoga Heights (12-2) fell to the Minster Wildcats (11-4), 32-7, in the 2017 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division VII State Championship Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Friday morning.
The game turned in favor of Minster late in the second quarter.
With the score tied at 7-7, Minster scored 12 points in less than five minutes and took a 19-7 lead into halftime, an advantage the Wildcats would not relinquish.
Minster’s Jared Huelsman capped off a 14-play, 94-yard drive when he rushed for a three-yard touchdown with 4:45 remaining in the first half. Although the point-after try was no good, the Wildcats were far from deterred.
After forcing a three-and-out from Cuyahoga Heights on the ensuing drive, Minster needed just nine plays to cover 83 yards, the final three of which came on a fourth-and-goal run from Huelsman on what was the final play of the second quarter.
On the scoring drive, Huelsman carried the ball seven times for 57 yards, including a 12-yard gain that moved the ball from midfield to Cuyahoga Heights’ 38-yard line. Then, on the next play, Huelsman rattled off a 30-yard gain that put the Wildcats into a goal-to-go situation from the eight-yard line.
Huelsman added a third rushing touchdown, this time from nine yards out, with 8:06 to play in the third quarter. Minster’s first second-half touchdown came after Cuyahoga Heights quarterback Ryan Polk had a pass intercepted and returned to the 26-yard line.
In addition to his 221 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, Huelsman completed 12 of his 20 throws for 141 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The one touchdown was a 44-yard throw to Austin Brown with 7:07 to play in the first quarter.