Cincinnati Moeller senior tight end Evan Jansen and his teammates reached their preseason goal of winning the Ohio Division-I state title Saturday night, when they defeated Toledo Whitmer 20-13.
Jansen, 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, spoke about what this victory means to the program. The title is Moeller's eighth, but first since 1985.
"This means a lot, because there was a time at Moeller that this was expected, but it's been so long that we don't know what this feels like," Jansen stated. "We had a tough road through these playoffs, but this is what we have been working for the last four years since we were freshmen, and we did it. This is both relief and happiness, especially because of how hard it is to win the championship coming out of our region."
The state title certainly did not come easy for Jansen and his teammates, and there were several people doubting this team after three mid-season losses.
"There was a little pressure, especially after the start we had against Gilman on ESPN when we crushed them," he explained. "We had the three losses, including blowing a 21-point lead, and I think we lost the respect of people and they wrote us off. We had a players-only meeting on a Saturday, and we spent about an hour talking about trying to fix some things and just regroup as a team. We emphasized that nothing would be given to us, and we would have to earn it out on the field. Which is just what we did."
Jansen committed to Indiana last July, and is excited about the future of the Hoosier program.
"Coach (Kevin) Wilson told me I have a chance to play early and that's what I'm shooting for," he stressed. "We have a great recruiting class coming in and it's a step up for Indiana football. Things are definitely headed in the right direction, and four of the losses were very close, including to Ohio State. It seems defense has been a struggle, but they have four highly-rated defensive players committed, which is definitely going to help get things turned around."