Ra’veion Hargrove quickly passed the learning curve on what it took to be the next great running back at Trotwood-Madison High School. And he hasn’t been above some helping reminders.
“Our coaches harp on it all the time,” Hargrove said following a 14-7 Week 10 defeat of visiting Wayne on Friday night. “Take it one game at a time and buy into the program. We’re our biggest opponent.”
Hargrove ran for 213 yards and one touchdown to personally help the unbeaten Rams make program history. The state’s top-ranked Division III team, Trotwood (10-0) went unbeaten in the regular season for the first time since the 2011 Rams completed a 15-0 run by winning a D-II state title.
It also vaulted Trotwood into next week’s first round of the playoffs with a signature final tune-up win after crushing the rest of its schedule from Weeks 4-9. Its No. 1 seed in D-III, Region 12 assured, Trotwood will host the No. 8 seed, which apparently will be Elida (8-2) of the Western Buckeye League.
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Trotwood joined Belmont (D-II), Valley View (D-IV), Greeneview (D-V) and Marion Local (D-VI) in posting unbeaten regular seasons. Wayne (7-3) already had clinched its D-I, Region 3 playoff spot. The Warriors likely will host Pickerington North (8-2) in the first round.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association will release first-round playoff pairings on Sunday. All Week 11 games will be on Friday.
Among the area’s all-time most dynamic running backs, Hargrove was at his best in a constant driving rain against Wayne. He gouged the Warriors’ defense for 213 yards, scored on a 7-yard run and had a long dash of 43 yards. That was the fifth time he surpassed 200 yards rushing and pushed his season totals to 1,680 yards and 27 touchdowns.
For his career, Hargrove has 6,579 yards rushing and 92 touchdowns.
Wayne’s Trace Kinnel, hampered by an ankle injury much of the season, went for 106 yards rushing and scored on a 12-yard run. But Wayne couldn’t get its spread offense going in the rain. Warriors junior quarterback Rashad McKee completed just 4 of 17 passes for three yards. How key was that? McKee retained his status as the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s leading passer (2,312 yards and 21 TD passes).
“The weather didn’t bode well for us, but we’re never going to use that for an excuse, especially in Ohio this late date,” Wayne coach Jay Minton said. “They’re pretty much a run team and they’ve got one of the best running backs in the state. We’re more spread. We zing it and fling it around a little bit. That just didn’t bode well to us.”
Trotwood’s defense also was a factor in Wayne’s demise. Wayne had just 118 yards of total offense and seven punts. That’s the kind of defensive might that has carried the Rams. It was Trotwood’s fifth game of allowing seven points or less.
This GWOC crossover series restarted with Wayne winning 17-6 in Week 10 last year.
“It feels great to go 10-0 because last season we didn’t end it off well,” said Trotwood senior QB Markell Stephens-Peppers, whose 11-yard TD strike to Dallas Daniels with 35 seconds left in the half held up for the final points. “This season, it looks like we’re on the right track.”