The Moeller Crusaders get amped up before kick off in the state semifinal match against Huber Heights Wayne at Mason High School Nov. 29.
The Moeller football team left everything it had on the field Saturday night.
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, Huber Heights Wayne made one more scoring play late in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors defeated Moeller 29-22 in the Division I regional final/state semifinal Saturday night at Atrium Stadium in Mason.
Moeller finished the season with a 10-4 record.
“I just told them I thought they should keep their heads up – it’s going to be tough to – it’s a bitter loss – but I thought they left it on the field,” Moeller coach John Rodenberg said. “I thought they played as hard as they could and I thought they gave Wayne everything they could handle.”
Wayne (13-1) plays Lakewood St. Edward (12-2) in the Division I state final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
A packed Atrium Stadium in Mason saw an entertaining game throughout the Division I, Region 2 final/state semifinal.
Moeller was able to move the ball on offense but often had trouble in the red zone.
Wayne led Moeller 14-12 at halftime. Moeller junior kicker Matt Coghlin made four field goals in the first half for all the Crusaders’ points.
Coghlin had five goals for the game, including a career-high and school-record 54-yarder with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
“Cogs is going to be special,” Rodenberg said. “He’s only a junior so it will be great to have him back.”
The Crusaders led 6-0 after the 54-yarder with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. That was his second field goal of the night after he made a 45-yarder at the 5:27 mark.
Wayne senior Tyree Kinnel scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and Nate Strong made the extra point to give the Warriors a 7-6 lead at the 10:36 mark of the second quarter.
Moeller took the lead again when Coghlin made a 25-yarder to make it 9-7. That completed a 14-play, 88-yard drive that took 4:58.
On the next drive, Wayne went ahead 14-10 when sophomore Matt Wilcox scored on a 54-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback D’Mitrik Trice at the 2:37 mark of the second quarter.
Moeller moved the ball quickly down the field on the next series as senior quarterback Matt Crable made a nice throw down the sideline to junior Kyle Butz for a 43-yard pass connection. Six plays later, Coghlin made a 29-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the second to close the gap to 14-12.
Butz had six receptions for 126 yards. Crable threw for 311 yards.
Wayne started its next drive at the 50 and went for it on fourth down but fumbled the handoff. Moeller senior defensive lineman Wolfgang Scholz recovered the fumble to stop the Wayne momentum at the end of the first half.
Moeller won the toss and deferred to the second half and the Crusaders capitalized. The Crusaders started quickly in the third quarter including a 33-yard run by sophomore Hunter Hughes which put Moeller at the Wayne 34.
That helped to set up Coghlin’s fifth field goal of the night. Coghlin made a 34-yarder to give the Crusaders a 15-14 lead at the 8:26 mark of the third quarter.
Hughes scored on a 3-yard touchdown run at the 3:21 mark of the third quarter. Coghlin added the extra point and Moeller led 22-14.
Hughes rushed for 118 yards for the game.
Wayne tied the game at the 1:12 mark of the third when Trice found Wilcox for a 12-yard touchdown pass connection. Trice found senior Ahmad Wagner in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion to tie the game.
The teams traded some punts early in the fourth quarter.
Wayne had a 62-yard touchdown run nullified by a holding call at the 5:13 mark of the fourth quarter.
But, the Warriors scored with 1:12 left when Trice found Wagner to help make it 29-22.
Moeller had a long drive after that but Wayne made an interception in the closing seconds.
The Crusaders made their 16th state semifinal appearance on Saturday night.
Saturday night was the sixth meeting overall between Moeller and Wayne. The series is tied at 3-3.
Moeller had 49 playoff wins as a program entering Saturday.
Rodenberg said the seniors left a significant legacy especially with the pressure this season of a possible third consecutive state title.
“I think they have everything to be proud of,” Rodenberg said. “I think they represented the school and their class so well. After a couple of days they are going to realize this was a great season for them.”