Girard did its community proud in defeat.
The high-flying Indians finally met their match in their first state championship appearance in school history, losing Saturday night to Cincinnati Wyoming, 42-14.
“It’s crazy for our school, and it was amazing to be here,” said Girard student Dominic Catello, who along with his friend Vincent Dierbach braved rainy weather wearing Indian garb that wasn’t fit for cold weather.
Girard (13-2) was trying to join West Branch, Poland, Warren G. Harding, Lisbon, Brookfield and the now-defunct Warren Western Reserve as Mahoning Valley public schools that have won a state title on the gridiron. The last area public school to win a title was Poland in 1999. Seven years earlier, Girard made its first playoff appearance.
“That team was like us. They stayed strong. They stayed a family and they were motivated,” said Troy Napier, who was a part of the first playoff football team and 1993 state champion basketball team. “It was mainly about fighting for brotherhood and toward the same goals and same vision. It’s hard to beat a group of guys with the same vision.”
The state finals appearance was the brainchild of head coach Pat Pearson, who
absorbed two losing seasons developing this year’s senior class. A lot of the seniors on the 2018 team started as freshmen in 2015.
The All-American Conference is an OHSAA-sanctioned league, created in 2008 as the result of the merger between the Trumbull Athletic Conference and the Metro Athletic Conference in Ohio. The league has 21 different member schools, with 17 sports offered throughout fall, winter and spring sports seasons.