BY MIKE POPOVICH
Repository sports writer
The streak was put to the test this season.
Coldwater said goodbye to 23 seniors last year after they helped lead the Cavaliers to a Division V state title. They were part of a team that appeared in four straight championship games and played in an OHSAA-record 60 games in four seasons.
The tradition lives on in Coldwater even when the Cavaliers are thought to be rebuilding.
Despite returning just two full-time starters, the Cavaliers not only made the playoffs an 18th straight time — the longest active streak in the state — they reached the title game again. Coldwater will face Columbus Bishop Hartley on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the Division V championship.
“The talk around town was this would be the team that breaks the streak,” Cavaliers head coach Chip Otten said. “These guys really bought in, worked hard, played well and most importantly, got better, better and better.”
Coldwater will see Hartley for the second time this year. After losing their season opener to Kenton, the Cavaliers rolled past the Hawks 41-16 on the road. It started a six-game winning streak.
Otten believes the Cavaliers would not have made the playoffs if they lost to Hartley.
“That was a great win for us because we were so inexperienced,” Otten said. “We had come off a loss to a good Kenton team, and we weren’t quite sure how we were going to be this year at that point. That’s the game that at least got us believing we could be a pretty good football team.”
Hartley led 16-13 at halftime before Coldwater took control in the second half.
Quarterback Brody Hoying ran for a touchdown. Mitch Schoenherr caught a TD pass from Hoying and also ran for score. Adam Klosterman put the finishing touches on a decisive win with an interception return for a touchdown.
“We had weathered the storm a little bit early,” Otten said. “They probably had 150 yards rushing the first two drives. Fortunately we stopped them on fourth-and-1 on the second drive.
“It was a heck of a battle. Hopefully, we expect the same this week.”
Hoying is Ohio’s Division V Offensive Player of the Year and the first cousin of former Ohio State players Bobby Hoying and Ross Homan. He was a receiver in the 2012 title game against Kirtland and also plays safety.
“I don’t care who it is in the state, I wouldn’t trade Brody Hoying for anyone,” Otten said. “... He has all the skills. He’s quick. He’s fast. He’s strong. He will hit you like no other 180-pound guy.
“He kind of has the whole package, and then he has a toughness to him that’s unbelievable.”