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La Salle wins second straight state title

Posted at 11:58 PM, Dec 04, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There was already plenty of motivation for La Salle to conquer its second consecutive state title.

But earlier Friday, the Lancers found out star running back Jeremy Larkin was edged out for Ohio Mr. Football by opposite number Keishaun Sims of Perry.

That was all the fuel needed to add to Larkin’s fire. He was on a mission during La Salle’s opening drive, which culminated when offensive lineman Luke Doerger fell on a fumbled Lancers handoff in the end zone, less than four minutes into the contest.

The red and white were on a mission from that point forward.

A three-and-out by Perry and turnover in the red zone by La Salle, a takeaway by the Lancers and Larkin score seven minutes later, and La Salle was up 14-0 in the first quarter.

Larkin scored on a 10-yard run with 8:29 left in the second stanza, and life was good for the boys from North Bend Road, up 21-0.

Larkin had 10 touches for 73 yards and two scores just 15 minutes into this affair.

Perry would move the ball between the 30s for 8:11 of the second quarter’s final 8:25, only to come up empty on the scoreboard. Larkin’s nemesis Sims finished the first half with 84 yards on 16 totes.

The buzz in the press box about who was really the deserved Ohio Mr. Football was resounding loudly.

The second half was all La Salle. The Lancers defense continued to hold Sims in check: After 84 first-half yards on the ground, the Panthers senior could only muster 33 after intermission.

La Salle gave Perry a steady dose of Larkin, Jarell White and quarterback Nick Watson after the break.

Watson would throw a touchdown pass to White and run for a 32-yard score to extend the Lancers' lead to 35-0 with just under nine minutes left in the contest.

The final nail in the coffin for Perry came when La Salle defensive back Tre’Sean Smith return an interception 47 yards for the game's final score. It was his fifth pick in the last three weeks.

“I am very, very proud of our seniors -- their mark and their legacy. Every team at La Salle will be compared to them, there is no doubt about it,” head coach Jim Hilvert said.

Hilvert, in his first year at La Salle after a very successful tenure at the Division III college level at Thomas More College, got his team to perform at an even higher standard than they had done in 2014.

La Salle was not a one-dimensional team this season. As much as the spotlight was on the offense, the other side of the ball made a huge impact on this squad.

“Our defense has come such a long way. Winning 42-0 and holding Mr. Football in check says volumes about these kids,” Hilvert said.

Larkin ran for 62 yards, caught three passes for 57 yards and found the end zone twice. White had nine carries for 93 yards and a 9-yard touchdown reception. Watson had 131 yards passing, 44 more rushing.

La Salle won its 10th consecutive playoff game and second straight Division II title. The Lancers have been dominant during this run, winning eight of those contest by 32 points or more.

LA SALLE 14-7-7-14-42
MASSILLON PERRY 0-0-0-0

L: Doerger 0 rumble recovery (Chrisman kick)
L: Larkin 7 run (Chrisman kick)
L: Larkin 7 run (Chrisman kick)
L: White 9 pass from Watson (Chrisman kick)
L: Watson 32 run (Chrisman kick)
L: Smith 47 interception return (Chrisman kick)
Records: La Salle (13-2); Massillon Perry (12-3)