Its starting quarterback sidelined with a knee injury in an already offensively challenged showdown, Trotwood-Madison leaned on its deep high school football playoff experience.
“What happened with (QB) Cooper Stewart going out, it was next man up,” assured Trotwood senior Carl Blanton Jr. following a 20-7 defeat of red-hot Badin in a Division III, Region 12 final at Miamisburg on Friday night. “(Keon’tae Huguely) came in a delivered what we needed.”
»» PHOTOS: Badin vs. Trotwood-Madison, Week 13 football
Blanton had two long touchdown catches and Sammy Anderson returned an interception 35 yards for a late touchdown to propel Trotwood (10-3) into the D-III state semifinals against Columbus Bishop Hartley (12-1) at London’s Bowlus Field next Friday. Hartley advanced by defeating previously unbeaten Jonathan Alder 27-14 at Hilliard Darby in the D-III, Region 11 final.
That sets up a matchup of proven state football powers. Trotwood won a D-III state championship in 2017 and Hartley did the same in D-IV in 2015-16. A private school, Hartley has since been elevated to D-III because of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s competitive balance initiative.
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Scoreless at halftime, Trotwood struck first when Stewart lofted a 78-yard touchdown strike to Blanton less than three minutes into the third quarter. Badin needed less than a minute to answer on a nifty Josh Hegemann-to-QB Zach Switzer 18-yard, fake-run pass to tie it at 7-all.
However, Cooper was soon knocked out of the game. Trotwood backup QB Huguely responded by heaving a 69-yard TD strike to Blanton for his second score and the go-ahead points late in the third quarter.
“That was beautiful,” gushed Huguely, also a starter on Trotwood’s defending D-II boys state basketball team.
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Anderson added his pick-6 with 2:35 left in the game to end Badin’s comeback bid.
Trotwood will be playing in its ninth state semifinal in the last 10 seasons, missing only last year’s rare one-and-done playoff appearance. Badin (9-4) eliminated Ross and rival Alter in its tourney journey. It was the first time Badin had played in a regional final since 1998.
“We were going against a tradition-rich program that was used to being in this situation,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “The seniors should be proud of themselves for what they were able to accomplish. We’ve laid the foundation for what we want to do here in the future.”
»» RELATED: All-Southwest District football teams
Trotwood nearly doubled Badin in offense with 396 yards. Blanton had four catches for 170 yards and those two scores and Stewart threw for 150 yards. Badin QB Zach Switzer had 104 yards passing and that receiving score. Alex DeLong led Badin with 94 yards rushing and finished the season with 1,501 yards.
“They had a lot of athletes who slowed down our passing game,” Switzer said. “I thought we did a great job of pounding the ball when we needed to. We were in the right position. It all comes down to a couple plays. It was a tremendous game.”
»» RELATED: Valley View vs. defending state champ
The defensive struggle was similar to Trotwood’s Week 12 defeat of St. Marys Memorial. Trotwood led that game 7-0 at halftime and won 41-7.
“There were adjustments we had to make,” Trotwood coach Jeff Graham said of Badin. “They have a high-powered offense, so we wanted to make sure it became a field-position thing. We were able to make two big plays by Carl Blanton.”
Springfield 7, Dublin Coffman 3: Te’Sean Smoot scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter and the Wildcats extended their history-making season in a D-I, Region 2 offensively challenged final at London. Springfield (12-1) will make its first appearance in a state semifinal against Cincinnati Elder (11-2) in Week 14. Elder defeated Cincinnati Colerain 28-21 at Mason.
»» RELATED: It’s a first for Badin, Trotwood-Madison
Springfield is seeking Clark County’s first state football championship. Catholic Central played in a final four twice and was state runner-up in 1991. Springfield Shawnee lost to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney in a 2011 title game.
Mechanicsburg 42, Covington 26: Sophomore Jake Hurst ran for two touchdowns and scored twice more on receptions in leading the Indians in a D-VI, Region 24 final at Piqua. Mechanicsburg (11-2) will make its second state semifinal appearance since 2013 against Anna (12-1) at Wapakoneta.
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Also a linebacker, Hurst had 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and blocked two extra points. Covington quarterback Cade Schmelzer went 13-for-18 for 222 yards and had two TD passes to Kleyton Maschino for the Buccs (10-3).
Anna 42, Archbold 7: Riley Huelskamp rushed for 150-plus yards and had three touchdowns in leading the Rockets to a D-VI, Region 23 final at Lima. It’s the first time for Anna (12-1), out of the Midwest Athletic Conference, to advance to the state semis.
»»RELATED: Badin takes out Alter
»»PHOTOS: Alter vs. Badin, Week 12 football
»» MIKE & MARC: The boys address Weeks 11-12 playoff football
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