About six months ago, Trotwood-Madison High School football players lifted up trees and other debris from city neighborhoods to help the community in the immediate aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes.
In the months since then, those players have lifted the spirits of the Trotwood community with a season that will end Friday in the state championship.
“I know there were a lot of people who were doubting them based on what we have been through,” longtime city resident Tony Smith said. “But by them putting in the work and seeing their effort and their grind, their determination, everyone in the city should be rooting for them. This is huge for the city, and really all of Montgomery County. It’s bringing people together.”
Trotwood (11-3) will play Mansfield Senior (13-1) in the Division III state championship at 3 p.m. Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Trotwood will be making its eighth state title appearance in school history and seventh since 2010.
Trotwood was at the center of one of the worst natural disasters in Montgomery County history. Fifteen tornadoes destroyed homes, businesses and lives in southwest Ohio on Memorial Day. The cleanup is ongoing, and many wonder if life will ever be the same.
Smith said his neighborhood is still rebuilding. The effort by players on the field is inspiring, he said.
“They have taken our focus off it for just a little bit, and we can cheer that they bring another state championship to Trotwood. That’s huge,” Smith said.
Trotwood-Madison Acting Superintendent Marlon Howard said he doesn’t believe the tragedy has propelled the student-athletes to success, but instead the adversity has shown the character of the team and the school.
“They are our kids, they are our champions,” Howard said. “They believe in this community, and it’s not just the football team. The choir, the band, ROTC, all the kids came together and helped and volunteered after the tragedy. Everyone got a real chance to see what this community means to our students.”
He said the school won’t be hosting a community pep-rally before the game, electing to instead conduct a spirit walk for the team inside the school before they board the buses and head to Canton.
»» RELATED: It’s state championship week
“There is a lot of community support,” Howard said. “We are selling tickets at the high school, and we expect a nice crowd. The kids have a good following.”
Darrell Crenshaw is a resident of Trotwood and a professional barber at Headliners Barbershop in the city. He said the football team is constantly discussed at the shop, and the city is proud of their success.
“There is excitement. There’s been a lot of sadness with people losing homes, but the team has brought a lot of community pride,” he said.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.