SIDNEY — Marion Local quarterback Nate Bruns found 6-foot-4 wide receiver Nick Tangeman early.
Then, he found him again and again.
The combination of Bruns to Tangeman was too much for Coldwater as Marion Local posted a 40-19 victory over Coldwater in the Division VI, Region 24 championship football game Friday.
Marion Local (12-1) advances to the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday against Seneca East at a site to be named.
Coldwater ends its season 10-3.
“Their quarterback had a good night and they made too many big plays,” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said.
Coldwater had defeated the Flyers 26-20 in two overtimes in Week 10. It was a game in which Marion Local made five turnovers.
“We were pumped up and had a lot of energy today,” Tangeman said.
This time Bruns led the way, completing 15 for 21 for 284 yards. He three TDs and had one interception.
Bruns also had 12 carries for 64 yards, with a 14-yard TD run.
Tangeman had nine catches for 167 yards. He had TDs of 38 and 18 yards.
“We saw the matchups this week and we did our best to exploit them,” Tangeman said. “We had those one-on-one matchups and that’s what we were looking for.’’
Tangeman also had a 41-yard grab, where he broke a tackle and helped put the game away.
“Pretty much, every time we step on the field, Nick (Tangeman) is the best player on the field,” Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said. “If they are going to single him up, we have to win that matchup or else we’re going to struggle.
“We have to take advantage of our skill guys and today we were able to.’’
For Coldwater, quarterback Jake Hemmelgarn completed of 22 of 31 passes for 141 yards. He threw two TDs and had one picked off.
Mitch Niekamp had 10 carries for 44 yards.
Marion Local led 21-0 after the first quarter and 21-6 at the half.
“When we are ahead of 21-0, that’s going to be tough on the other team. That was huge,” Goodwin said. “We shot a couple shots and they connected.’’
“Digging a hole against Marion, it was going to be tough,” Otten said. “Credit to them. They kept making plays. We stopped the run. We just couldn’t stop the pass.’’
The Cavs came back within 27-13 when Hemmelgarn hit Noah Miller for a 5-yard TD with 10:57 left to play.
Coldwater then recovered the on-side kick.
The Cavs marched 42 yards for the score and when Ben Wenning carried it over from the 1, the Cavs got within 27-19 with 6:47 to go.
That’s when Bruns hit Tangeman for 41 to take the ball to the Cavs’ 15.
Tangeman bounced off two tacklers after he caught his slant pass.
“I caught the ball, saw him coming and jump cut to the right,” Tangeman said.
Three plays later, Darrin Hays bulled over from the 2 and the Marion Local lead grew to 33-19 with 5:08 to go.
Marion Local’s Bruns came out slinging the ball down the field.
On the Flyers’ third play from scrimmage Bruns hit a wide-open Tangeman down the left sideline for a 38-yard TD.
That capped a three-play, 65-yard drive to give the Flyers a quick 7-0 lead.
That came with 9:17 left in the opening quarter.
The Flyers then cranked out an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive.
Again it was Bruns teaming up with Tangeman for the TD. Bruns lofted the ball high into the left corner of the end zone.
Tangeman leaped and pulled it home for an 18-yard TD.
“That’s kind of my forte, as the student section likes to say,” Tangeman said. “Cole (Frilling) was right there and I got it over him.’’
That pushed the Flyers lead to 14-0 with 1:54 left in the first quarter.
On Coldwater’s next offensive play, quarterback Hemmelgarn threw a slant and it was picked off by the Flyers’ Peyton Otte at the Coldwater 45.
On the very next play, Bruns connected with Otte on a 45-yard slant pass TD.
That gave Marion Local a 21-0 lead with 1:32 left in the first quarter.
Coldwater got on the board at the 1:09 mark of the first half when Hemmelgarn hit Ben Wenning with a 22-yard TD pass.
That brought the Cavs within 21-6 at the half.
By halftime, Bruns completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and three TDs.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.