Neighboring football teams could both bring home state championships

Neighboring football teams could both bring home state championships
Perry High School plays Hudson on Friday. If they win, they will head to the state championship for Division 2. (Source: WOIO)
Perry High School plays Hudson on Friday. If they win, they will head to the state championship for Division 2. (Source: WOIO)

STARK COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - They are practically neighbors, but two Stark County high school football teams hope to win the state championships, in two separate divisions. 

Central Catholic High School's football team is one of 28 teams to remaining in the playoffs.

1.2 miles down the street, Perry High School's football team has made it this far too.

Football in Perry Township, just outside Canton, is serious business.

"It's a dream of mine to be a Perry Panther. That's all I wanted to do. So it's awesome," said Logan Copeland, a football player. 

Copeland, a senior, hopes his team has what it takes to bring home a state championship.

"My team is the best team, couldn't ask for any better. Really happy to have those guys," he said.

The two high schools may be competitors, but there's no ill will here.

"They're a rival, they are a friendly rival, and what they've done is very exciting as well. A lot of community support for both schools," said Jason Conrad, the principal of Perry High School.

Perry High and Central Catholic play each other often, but they won't compete in the playoffs.

"It's a tremendous relationship. It's close, there's a lot of support. Last year we had a tremendous amount of support from the Perry community when we were making our run," said David Oates, the principal of Central Catholic High School.

"It's crazy to have a community and two schools so close to each other be able to be really successful, really good teams and have such great seasons at the same time," said John Colangelo, a senior and football player at Central Catholic High School.

Central Catholic made it to the state final game last year and their team captains say Perry-- down the street-- has pushed them to work harder.

"I think it's actually a little more motivating just seeing how good they were. And after we played them, just to know how good they are. We can compete with them, we can compete with anybody," said Luke Stuffel, a senior and football player at Central Catholic High School.

One is a private school, the other is a public school, but in the end a lot of the players and fans are all friends.

Conrad says it has been 15 years since Perry's football team has gone this far. They made it to playoffs last year. 

"I'm 100 percent behind them, and they're 100 percent behind us," Copeland said. 

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