Rare Trotwood-Madison freshman starter? ‘He was the next man up’

It’s no surprise that Trotwood-Madison has leaned on a strong running game to make it all the way to another high school football state championship. Although the Rams have been led by outstanding quarterbacks through the years, it’s the running game that stood out.

That’s the way it was when then-senior Ra’veion “3-K Ray” Hargrove led Trotwood to an unbeaten season and the Division III state title in 2017. Tony Cosby was the Rams’ go-to guy way back in 1981 when Trotwood made the first of what soon will be eight state-title appearances.

»» RELATED: State final MAC attack

Hezekiah Hudson-Davis inherited that role this season. What sets him apart from all others isn’t his stats, he’s a freshman.

“We didn’t want to rush that for him, but he was able to perform and play for us and did well,” Trotwood coach Jeff Graham said this week. “He’s learning the game and understanding the magnitude of the playoffs now. Each week he’s getting better and we’re very proud of his success. What he can do on the field is very special.”

Trotwood (11-3) is paired against Mansfield Senior (13-1) in the D-III state title game at 3 p.m. Friday. That will be one of seven state championships, all at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

»» RELATED: “It’s a monster challenge”

Top-ranked Anna (13-1) will play New Middletown Springfield (14-0) for the D-VI title at 10 a.m. Friday in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. On Saturday, Marion Local (12-2) will make its ninth consecutive state title appearance, this time against Lucas (12-2) to decide the D-VII championship at 10 a.m.

The D-II championship was scheduled to kick off the season-ending series on Thursday night between Massillon Washington (14-0) and Cincinnati La Salle (12-2).

All the games will be televised live on Spectrum News 1 (Ch. 1).

»» RELATED: Trotwood-Madison twins deliver

Hudson-Davis became a surprise starter by default after injuries to seniors Keon Hamilton and Keon’tae Huguely. Both has since recovered but couldn’t bump Hudson-Davis. A 5-foot-8, 165-pounder, Hudson-Davis rushed for a career-high 193 yards in a Week 3 defeat of Wayne. He leads the Rams with 1,268 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.

“He was the next man up,” Graham said. “That’s the philosophy we believe in here at Trotwood. There’s no 1, 2, 3 backup. “He’s well ahead as far as being a freshman. His ability to be able to run the ball and do different things is impressive.”

»» RELATED: Legacy at work for Trotwood players

Jeremiah Hudson-Davis, Hezekiah’s freshman brother, is a reserve receiver/DB for Trotwood.

• Anna and Marion Local will be looking to add the Midwest Athletic Conference’s astonishing 38 state football titles since the playoffs began in 1972. Marion Local (10) has the most.

Coldwater, Delphos St. John’s, St. Henry and Versailles all own six titles apiece, although five of Versailles’ titles were when the Tigers were not in the MAC. Minster (three) and Fort Recovery (one) also have had title teams.

»» RELATED: It’s state championship week

Only Anna, New Bremen and Parkway have not won state football championships in the current 10-team MAC lineup. Anna, Marion Local and Minster all shared the MAC title this season. Anna’s only loss was to Marion Local 17-14 in Week 5.

• Springfield senior Larry Stephens and Trey Baker of Fairmont, also a senior, were named first team All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Wednesday.

A receiver, Stephens led the Wildcats (12-2) with 58 catches for 1,127 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is verbally committed to the University of Toledo.

»» RELATED: All-Area football teams

A four-year starter at linebacker, Baker reset most of Fairmont’s single-season and career individual defensive records. He led the Firebirds every season in tackles and was credited with 315 career stops and seven interceptions.

Fairfield senior running back and Kentucky commit JuTahn McClain was the co-offensive player of the year. Hamilton senior Luke Mattia also was first team as a defensive lineman.

• Cincinnati Wyoming senior quarterback Evan Prater was named Ohio’s Mr. Football by OPSWA. It was only the second time since the award made its debut in 1987 a Cincinnati-area player had been named. Mark Edwards of Norwood was Mr. Football in 1992.

»» RELATED: Anna eliminates Mechanicsburg in state semi

Wyoming was 40-2 with Prater as its starter the last three seasons and won a D-IV state title in 2018. For his career, he had 5,699 passing yards, rushed for 4,124 yards and accounted for 146 touchdowns (72 passing and 74 running). That includes rushing for five touchdowns in a 33-0 blanking of Valley View in a D-IV, Region 16 final this postseason. Clyde upset Wyoming (13-1) in last week’s state semis.

Prater, 6 feet 5 and 190 pounds, is committed to Cincinnati. He also was first team All-Ohio D-IV.

»» PHOTOS: Anna vs. Mechanicsburg, state semi

»» RELATED: Trotwood OK with boys basketball delay

»» RELATED: All-Area football teams

»» RELATED: Trotwood-Madison returns to playoff form

»» PHOTOS: Valley View vs. Cin. Wyoming, D-IV regional final

»» PHOTOS: Badin vs. Trotwood-Madison, regional final football

»» RELATED: Final football power rankings

»» RELATED: MAC teams state poll champs

»» SOCIAL MEDIA: You should like Marc Pendleton on Facebook and Twitter

About the Author