Coaches and players from both teams looked on in shock as physicians and trainers worked on Blanton. Among the onlookers was his father, Trotwood assistant boys basketball coach Carl Blanton Sr.
“It’s a tough one,” said a glum Trotwood coach Jeff Graham. “We really don’t know exactly everything that went on. We know his pulse is doing well and he’s responsive, so that’s good. That’s a life-changing aspect. That’s a learning experience for us all.”
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Blanton apparently was unaffected during the game. He had three catches for 32 yards. Defensively, he had five tackles and an interception.
None of the attending medical personnel would comment.
Although located just five miles apart, it was the first time the Greater Western Ohio Conference teams had played since 2007 following a game-ending altercation that year at Northmont. The teams are not contracted to play again next season because the GWOC will realign again following the ouster of Trotwood and Lebanon opting to leave.
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It was the fourth straight Rams win and secures Trotwood among the top eight in the Division III, Region 12 playoff field. Trotwood hasn’t lost since falling 36-7 to unbeaten Cincinnati Winton Woods in the opener.
Northmont (2-3), beset by injuries to a depleted defense and now without its best offensive lineman, dropped its second straight and likely has fallen out of D-I, Region 2 playoff contention.
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Thunderbolts senior defensive end and Northwestern University commit Jaiden Cameron is likely lost for the season with a knee injury. Senior play-making linebacker Andrew Knick is indefinitely out with an ankle injury. Seth Frantz, the only returning starter on the offensive line, will sit out Week 6 after being ejected against Trotwood.
“It’s tough,” Northmont coach Tony Broering said. “Every week it’s a playoff team. Trotwood is a state power. There’s no break and there’s no letup. The margin for error is so razor thin, you can’t make any mistakes.”
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GWOC rushing leader and Trotwood freshman running back Hezekiah Hudson-Davis was limited to 80 yards and dropped to third among conference rushers. Northmont senior QB Keaton Kesling had 176 yards passing and two touchdowns, but also was picked twice. Michael Franklin had 71 yards rushing for the T-Bolts and Justin Golson four catches for 97 yards and a score.
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Northmont was in great position to secure the win when defender Xavier Vuong pounced on a fumble on Trotwood’s 4 with 2:30 left. Four plays and minus six yards later, fate awaited the Rams.
“It was a humble moment and we just pushed through it,” said Huguely, like Blanton a starter on Trotwood’s D-II state championship basketball team last March. “Everyone was just poised to (score).”
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