COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — St. Francis DeSales has won three state championships in football and can make it four on Saturday when the Stallions face Chardon in Massillon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
DeSales won its last state title in 1998 and will play for the championship for the first time since 2009.
“We’ve had a tough schedule. Each and every week we were challenged playing our league opponents twice,” DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins said. “We’ve learned a lot this year so to me, we’re ready to play for a championship.”
One thing the Stallions learned by beating Bishop Hartley three times taking down Kettering Alter last week is how to slow down a powerful run game. To win a title, they will have to do that one more time against Chardon’s Wing-T, run-heavy attack.
“It’s an old-fashioned high school football style offense but they make you defend every part of the field,” Wiggins said. “We have a good idea of what we need to do. I don’t know there’s not a lot of secrets when you get to this point. It’s a matter of who can do it better.”
DeSales has done it better than 10 of the 11 teams its played this year with the Stallions only loss coming by one point to Bishop Watterson in week four. DeSales averages 30 points a game and it starts with Quintell Quinn — the leading rusher in DeSales history.
“He just runs so hard. He’s powerful,” Wiggins said. “Especially later in the season I feel like he’s taken our team and put them on his back. That’s what leaders do. I think he’s playing for more than just himself.”
Quinn is playing for his teammates and late brother Xavier who died in an accidental shooting last summer, just months before he would have joined Quintell on the Stallions’ football team as a freshman.
“Just trying to do everything for him throughout the whole season in everything that I do,” Quinn said. “All the stuff that he wanted to do, I’ll try to do it.”
Wiggins said Xavier was good enough to start as a freshman, and although Xavier’s no longer with them, Quintell and the Stallions still play for him as teammates brought closer together through tragedy.
“If there is any healing, it’s in that group and that team effort and the way these guys have come together,” Wiggins said. “It’s a blessing we get to play and now let’s do something with it.”
Kickoff is set for 6:15 p.m.