CANTON — Good teams don’t beat themselves. Really good teams will make you pay for your mistakes. Great teams do both, which describes Toledo Central Catholic’s performance in winning a second straight Ohio High School Athletic Association football state championship Friday.

What You Need To Know

  • Toledo Central Catholic beat Columbus Bishop Watterson 27-7 in the Division III state championship game

  • It's the second straight and fifth football championship overall for the Fighting Irish
  • Marquan Braswell ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns

The Fighting Irish (16-0), winners in Division II last year, topped Columbus Bishop Watterson (15-1) 27-7 in the Division III title game played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

Central Catholic’s first three touchdowns came following miscues by the Eagles. After trailing 7-0, the Irish’s Kevin Arnold intercepted a pass, which led to a Marquan Braswell 6-yard touchdown run, evening the score. 

It appeared that would hold up at halftime, but a fumbled punt return gave it back to Toledo Central Catholic at the Watterson 19 with 1 minute and 10 seconds left in the second quarter. Terry Collins tossed a six-yard score to Sharard Vaughn III, and it was 14-7 at the break. 

In the third quarter, a dropped snap of an Eagles punt again gave the Fighting Irish excellent field position at the opponents 25-yard line, which set up Braswell’s second touchdown, and it was 21-7.

For the game, the senior running back had 22 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns, helping Central Catholic to a 247 to -6 advantage in rushing yards in the game. 

The Irish’s defense was also exemplary, holding Watterson to 139 yards and seven points, to go with three forced turnovers, four sacks and eight tackles for loss. 

The Eagles' Dominic Purcell made an OHSAA state championship game-record (all divisions) 21 tackles, breaking the previous mark of 18 by Paul Cost from Newark Catholic against Tiffin Calvert in 1981. 

The Irish have now won 31 consecutive games, going back to the 2022 season opener against St. Edward, which plays Friday night for a third consecutive state title. Only one game this season was decided by less than 20 points. 

It’s the fifth state championship for Toledo Central Catholic, which also won it all in 2014, 2012 and 2005, with head coach Greg Dempsey (252-53 in 24 years) at the helm for all of them. 

It’s the seventh football state championship for schools from Toledo (St. Francis won in 1984 and 2001).