Trotwood-Madison isn’t just taking on St. Marys Memorial in the second round of the high school football playoffs on Friday. The Rams also must overcome the Roughriders’ Cowbell Mafia.
That was a memorable storyline that played out in the 2016 postseason after Trotwood hung a 34-27 loss on St. Marys in a Division III, Region 12 final. Trotwood's next two games included an abundant – and loud – St. Marys Memorial cheering section that christened itself the Cowbell Mafia. If something was worth cheering, it also earned repeated cowbell clangs.
Started by a few cowbell-toting Roughriders fans, it now boasts a Facebook page of 1,245 members. Guess what they’ll bring to Friday’s D-III, Region 12 semifinal at Sidney’s Memorial Stadium?
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Trotwood (8-3), a No. 7 seed, disposed of another Western Buckeye League nemesis in Wapakoneta 33-21 in last week’s playoff opener. That was clutch by the Rams, who ended the regular season with close Week 9-10 setbacks to Springboro and Springfield and were bounced by Wapak in last season’s first round.
This is the 11th consecutive postseason appearance for Trotwood and 15th overall. The Rams played in eight straight state semifinals from 2010-17 and won state championships in 2011 and ’17. St. Marys Memorial (9-2) overcame a 1-2 season start by mounting an eight-game win streak.
• It’s only the second round of the postseason, but a state title-worthy showdown has emerged. That would be Marion Local (9-2) vs. Fort Loramie (10-1) in a D-VII, Region 28 semi on Saturday at St. Marys.
»HS PLAYOFFS: Regional semifinal pairings
Marion Local owns 10 small-school state championships and has played for state titles the previous eight seasons. Fort Loramie advanced to a D-VII state semifinal last season. Both teams lost to Minster in the regular season.
Don’t be surprised if the Roughriders’ Cowbell Mafia serenades that game, too.
• There were 224 teams throughout seven divisions that played in Week 11 first-round games. Among those where five No. 8 seeds that landed stunning knockouts of No. 1 seeds.
That included Alter’s 10-7 defeat of Chaminade Julienne in a D-III, Region 12 opener and New Bremen’s 45-15 rout of previously unbeaten New Miami in D-VII, Region 28. Other No. 8 seeds to post first-round upsets were Clyde (D-IV, Region 14), Carey (D-VI, Region 22) and Sherwood Fairview (D-VI, Region 23).
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Alter (7-4) earned a rematch with Greater Catholic League Co-Ed rival Badin (8-3) on Friday at Monroe. Badin battered Alter 42-7 in Week 6.
New Bremen (8-3) is the surprise Midwest Athletic Conference rep, having lost only to Anna (10-1), Minster (9-2) and Coldwater (8-3) in the regular season. This is only the third playoff appearance for New Bremen and first since 2004. Up next for New Bremen is Lima Perry (8-3) at Piqua on Saturday.
• Seventh-seeded Valley View (9-2) eliminated the highest ranked team, Clinton-Massie (9-2), in the D-IV, Region 16 first round. Massie was No. 3 in the final D-IV state poll.
Valley View’s two losses were in Weeks 6-7 to Bellbrook (8-2) and Franklin (9-2). However, Valley View is the only one of four Southwest Buckeye League teams still playing following first-round losses by Franklin (D-III, Region 12), Waynesville (D-IV, Region 16) and Milton-Union (D-IV, Region 16).
• How accurate are the Associated Press state polls, which are voted on by media throughout the state? All 70 teams that were among the top 10 in the final seven polls qualified for the playoffs. Of those, 58 won first-round games.
• Only four schools have won football and boys basketball state titles in the same school year: Marion Local (2017-18), Cleveland Benedictine (1996-97), St. Henry (1990-91) and Marion Pleasant (1972-73).