Talk about a match-up of tradition.
Newark Catholic and Maria Stein Marion Local are small-school state powerhouses with a combined 13 state championships. When Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin was a kid, he vividly remembers watching NC dominate the 1980s.
The Green Wave, under coach J.D. Graham, won seven state championships, including four in a row from 1984 to ’87.
“When I was young, I remember going to the (state championship) games with my dad, and I just remember Newark Catholic winning state championships all the time,” said Goodwin, 41.
In all, NC (12-2) has eight state titles and is making its state-record 14th state championship appearance against the defending Division VI state champion Flyers (12-2) at 11 a.m. Friday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Green Wave are first in games played (90), playoff wins (67) and appearances (32). NC’s last state title was in 2007 under current coach Bill Franks, who played on the back-to-back-to-back state title teams.
While NC dominated the 1980s, Marion Local has been the team to beat in the past decade. The Flyers will be making their seventh state championship game appearance since 2000.
During the time, Marion Local has won five state titles, all under Goodwin, including in 2011 when it defeated New Washington Buckeye Central, 61-21.
The Flyers won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001, and then accomplished that same feat in 2006 and 2007.
“We always watched what Marion Local was doing from afar,” Franks said. “We admire how they do things, and they are a lot like us in they are fundamentally sound, and they have balance. We have very similar programs. They are kind of the new kid on the block.”
Franks was quick to point out the Green Wave have won a state title in every decade, with their first coming in 1968.
“We take great pride in winning state championships, and the fact we’ve won at least won in every decade since the 1960s, is something we are very proud of,” Franks said. “It’s always a big program goal for us to compete for a state championship.”
Friday’s game is the first time the two schools have met in the state championship game. Marion Local defeated the Green Wave, 21-14, in a state semifinal in 2003.
“We are well aware of Newark Catholic and the great tradition that they have,” Goodwin said. “We have a lot of respect for them.”
Franks said: “Marion Local is well-coached, they are disciplined, and they don’t beat themselves. We feel good where our team is at right now, and we are excited to compete for another chance at winning a state title.”