‘It’s that way every week’ — Tight games the norm in rugged GWOC

Winning football games in the Greater Western Ohio Conference demands resiliency and sticking together. Teams across the league are playing that way. But they can’t all win.

Winning and losing in the GWOC often comes down to a play or two late in the game. The latest examples of you win some, you lose some happened Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, Miamisburg (4-2, 1-2 GWOC) scored with 11 seconds left to beat Northmont (3-3, 0-3) 36-33 and hand the Thunderbolts their third straight league loss in crushing fashion. T-Bolts coach Tony Broering has been on both sides of it. When his team went 8-0 in 2020, six games were decided on the last play or in overtime.

“I told them that story just two days ago in practice,” he said. “It’s no different this year except we’re coming up on the short end of it. We have a good team, we have some very talented players, but we just don’t make those plays at the end. And it’s going to be the same thing next week against Wayne. It’s that way every week.”

Springfield (2-4, 1-2) played for the Division I state title last year, losing both times, and knows how hard it is to keep your record clean in the GWOC. In 2021, the Wildcats were upset 22-21 at Miamisburg. Last year Fairmont got them 24-21 at home. On Friday, the Wildcats tried to rally in the second half with Ohio State-bound cornerback Aaron Scott trying to make big plays at quarterback. He scored once but threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter and lost 10-7 at Fairmont.

The Wildcats are waiting on the return of junior quarterback Brent Upshaw who led them to a season-opening win over Cleveland St. Ignatius. He injured a knee the next week in a loss to DeMatha Catholic, a national power from Maryland. Upshaw played some two weeks ago in a last-seconds loss to Wayne but tweaked the knee. Wildcats coach Maurice Douglass said Upshaw is likely to return in two weeks.

“We just got to work,” Douglass said. “Get back at it on Monday and see what we can get done.”

That Wayne and Centerville are tied for first at 3-0 is not a surprise. But after the way Trotwood-Madison handled Fairmont 38-8 in Week 2, coupled with a 14-7 loss to Cincinnati La Salle, the Firebirds are the surprise team at 3-0. Two weeks ago, they rallied from a 14-0 deficit to beat Northmont in overtime.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Fairmont senior defensive back Stevie Doty. “Those losses in the past. We’re on to GWOC.”

Dave Miller has elevated the Fairmont program into a yearly contender since he became head coach six years ago. Doty has been there for most of it.

“Brotherhood,” he said. “Coach Miller, he’s built it into us. In my opinion, one of the best coaches you’d want. It’s a senior-led team. If we see underclassmen messing around, we’re going to make it stop before the coaches have to. Even the new guys from other schools, I can’t think of a single person that’s not bought in.”

Next week it’s Fairmont at Miamisburg, Springfield at Springboro and Northmont at Wayne. Expect more of the same.

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