Xenia football coach Trace Smitherman blinked back tears as he explained what the program-defining moment meant.
“Anybody who plays this game knows what Trotwood means and what they’re about and what they’ve done in the past,” said Smitherman following a 29-28, double-overtime defeat of Trowood-Madison in a Week 9 high school football game on Friday night.
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“All the work (the Buccaneers) put in, it’s amazing when they finally put it together and it’s a night like this that we actually get it done, finally. It’s fantastic.”
Xenia converted a two-point pass to end the thriller. That was part of a wacky – and rainy – night that was full of Greater Western Ohio Conference surprises. Springfield also defeated Wayne 33-26 in OT and Centerville earned its first win with an equally stunning 17-0 shutout at Fairmont.
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Trotwood had never lost in 11 previous GWOC American South games since the 20-team, mega-conference was realigned in 2016. It also was the first time Xenia (6-3, 3-0) had beaten Trotwood (6-3, 3-1) since anyone could remember. However, the Buccaneers likely were eliminated from Division II, Region 8 playoff contention.
Trotwood, the D-III defending state champion, had a five-game win streak snapped and dropped to No. 7 in the D-III, Region 12 computer rankings. The Rams will clinch a playoff spot should they win at Wayne in Week 10.
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Trotwood appeared to be in control when Dae’Vontay Latimer’s 21-yard touchdown run put the Rams up 21-14 with 1:44 left.
Xenia quarterback Christian Severt hit Johnzel Gray on a deep pass in the Rams’ red zone, then Gray drew an interference penalty on the Rams to put the Bucs at the 4-yard-line with 16 seconds left.
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That was enough time for Severt to hit Brett Russell with a TD pass. Hayden Falvey’s line-drive kick barely missed the crossbar and the teams were knotted at 21-all to complete regulation.
Falvey missed a 36-yard field goal in Xenia’s first OT possession. The Rams could do no better, stalling at the 11.
Trotwood went first in the second OT and Latimer zig-zagged in from 19 yards and a 28-21 lead. Severt hit Gray on 4th-and-goal from the 6-yard-line to pull Xenia within one. Severt then connected with Nick Willis for the game-winning, two-point conversion pass.
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That set off an emotional Xenia celebration that spilled onto the field while the Rams dejectedly walked toward their sideline.
“They’ve got a lot of athletes and a lot of big dudes and they hit hard. We had to find the mismatches and take advantage of that,” said Severt, who had 82 yards rushing and completed just five passes, but three went for scores.
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Latimer had 71 yards rushing to lead the Rams. Trotwood QB Cooper Stewart, a sophomore transfer from Miamisburg, completed 5 of 6 passes for 96 yards, including a 65-yard TD strike to Justin Stephens.
“Coach (Smitherman) did a great job of having those guys prepared,” Trotwood coach Jeff Graham said. “They came in and executed well and they scored in the red zone. I can’t take nothing away from Xenia. Our kids need to learn from the mistakes we made. Even us coaches have to go back and evaluate ourselves as well.”
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