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Where the Wildcats Play: Fall Playoff Edition

By Eddie Dwyer, 11/07/16, 12:30PM EST


The State and Nationally Acclaimed Soccer Cats are just two victories shy of their eighth OHSAA State Championship and what would be a record three consecutive Boys State Soccer Championships. The first of those final two challenges takes place in a Division I State Semifinal matchup on Wednesday at 7 PM versus Medina at Strongsville High School.   

Saint Ignatius' Varsity Football Wildcats, riding a seven-game winning streak, will continue their quest for a 12th OHSAA Division I State Championship when they face the Solon Comets in a Region 1 Semifinal matchup on Fridaynight at 7:30 in Mentor's Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium.

By Mr. Eddie Dwyer, who just loves to tell the world "Where the Cats Play."

Cleveland, Ohio - Coach Mike McLaughlin's Soccer Cats will take a record of 19-0-2 and an unbeaten streak of 57 consecutive matches into Wednesday's matchup with the Battling Bees from Medina, who stand 18-1-2. 

The first touch on the pitch at Strongsville High School will be 7 PM.

Medina is making its first appearance in the OHSAA Soccer Final Four, while Saint Ignatius has advanced to the Final Four for the 12th time. The Soccer Cats are the two-time defending and record seven-time Division I State Champions.     

The Battling Bees from Medina advanced to Wednesday's State Semifinal encounter with the Wildcats by defeating Sylvania Northview, 3-1, in an OHSAA Regional Final match at Sandusky High School on Saturday afternoon.

Justin Libertowski showed the way for Medina by scoring a hat trick in the Elite 8 encounter with Northview.

Since a 1-0 loss to Shaker Heights on September 27th, Medina's Battling Bees have gone 8-0-1.

Medina finished eighth in the final state poll by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association and the Soccer Cats were ranked No. 1 in Ohio by the OSSCA and currently hold down the top position in the nation by USA Today's highly respected Super 25 rankings. Saint Ignatius is a defending and three-time National Soccer Champion.

If victorious on Wednesday night, the Soccer Cats will advance to the OHSAA State Championship Match on Sundayat MAPFRE STADIUM in Columbus. The first touch on Sunday was originally scheduled for high noon, but as of yesterday the starting time was listed as "to be announced" by the OHSAA.

The other half of the Division 1 Final Four Bracket matches Columbus St. Charles Prep (18-0-1), Ohio's second-ranked team, and fifth-ranked Beavercreek (19-1-1). That state- semifinal matchup also takes place on Wednesday at 7 PM on the pitch at Xenia High School.

As we reported on the corner Sunday, the Football Wildcats of Hall of Fame Head Coach Chuck Kyle '69 and Coach Jim McQuaide's Solon Comets will match their 10-1 records in an OHSAA Division I Regional Semifinal Playoff Game on Friday at Mentor High School's atmosphere-rich Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium. The kickoff from Center Street will be 7:30 PM.

Although they have maintained a solid preseason scrimmage relationship, the Wildcats and the Comets will be meeting in a game that counts for just the sixth time in the rich history of the programs.

All five of the previous encounters with the Comets have come in the OHSAA playoffs.

Record 11-time State Champion Saint Ignatius defeated Solon, 29-24, in a third-round playoff matchup in 1999. The Comets, in route to a State Runner-Up finish in 2000, snapped the Wildcats' nine-year reign as Region 1 Champions by defeating the 'Cats, 31-13.

Saint Ignatius defeated Solon, 42-14, in a second-round playoff matchup in 2001 and also handed the Comets a second-round playoff loss in 2004, 34-7.

The fifth and last time Solon and Saint Ignatius squared off for real came in 2005, a 24-14, first-round playoff victory by the Comets.

Coach Kyle's Wildcats are in the OHSAA playoffs for the 27th time since their remarkable playoff run began in 1988 and Solon qualified for the playoffs for the 21st time this fall and is making its fourth consecutive postseason appearance.

Along with its 11 State Championships, Saint Ignatius is a three-time National Champion (1989, 1993 and 1995), a National runner-up in 2008 and a State runner-up in 1996. The Cats rolled off five consecutive Division I State Football Championships from 1991 to 1995.

In response to an avid reader who inquired, the record for OHSAA Football playoff appearances is 35 by Newark Catholic. That is followed by Archbishop Moeller and Ironton, who each have 33.

Just think, in 1972 when the playoffs started there were just three Divisions, A, AA and AAA, and just one playoff qualifier from each region (12 total teams).

Now in its 45th season of the Football Playoffs, the OHSAA has seven divisions and qualified 224 schools to last weekend's Regional Quarterfinals.

The corner will be previewing Friday's Solon versus Saint Ignatius Region 1 Semifinal on Tuesday night.