State football: Trotwood-Madison players looking to add to Rams’ legacy

Playing football at Trotwood-Madison High School means contending for conference titles, qualifying for the postseason and contending for state championships. That’s not all.

“These kids really want to leave a legacy for what they have done and what they have accomplished,” assured Rams coach Jeff Graham.

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Trotwood (11-3) will play Mansfield Senior (13-1) in the Division III state championship at 3 p.m. Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. That will be one of seven state title games: one on Thursday and three each Friday and Saturday.

Joining Trotwood at Canton will be Midwest Athletic Conference members Anna and Marion Local. Anna (13-1) will make its first state title appearance against New Middletown Springfield (14-0) in the D-VI championship at 10 a.m. Friday. Marion Local (12-2) will make its ninth straight state title appearance against Lucas (12-2) for the D-VII championship at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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Trotwood advanced by withstanding Columbus Bishop Hartley 24-19 in a D-III state semifinal on Friday at Piqua. The Rams led 24-0.

Trotwood will be making its eighth state-title appearance and seventh since 2010. The Rams were 15-0 to win a Division II state title in 2011 and matched that 15-0 effort to win a D-III championship in 2017.

“We want to go in there and do what it takes to come away with a victory, but we know it takes 48 minutes and a week of preparation,” said Graham.

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Trotwood had a streak of eight consecutive state semifinal appearances snapped last season at Wapakoneta. That fueled the Rams for this season and they delivered.

A No. 7 seed in D-III, Region 12, Trotwood eliminated Wapakoneta (33-21) in a first-round rematch and St. Marys Memorial (41-7), both of the Western Buckeye League. Trotwood defeated Hamilton Badin (20-7) in a regional final first-time matchup.

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Like several other Montgomery County communities, Trotwood was rocked by the devastating spate of tornadoes – 19 were confirmed - that ravaged the Miami Valley last Memorial Day. Two major Trotwood apartment complexes were extensively damaged. That displaced scores of Trotwood residents and students at all levels.

The Rams’ football program participated in clean-up efforts and none of the returning varsity players left the program. However, lower-grade numbers were affected and are a concern moving forward.

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Trotwood opened the season with a loss to Cincinnati Winton Woods (36-7), but recovered with seven straight wins. However, the Rams ended the regular season with losses at Springboro (28-25) and Springfield (21-20). Springboro (9-2) and Springfield (12-2) advanced to the D-I, Region 2 playoffs; Springfield lost to Cincinnati Elder in a state semifinal.

Overseeing Trotwood’s success is Graham. An Alter grad and former Ohio State University and NFL receiver, he has maintained a high level of Rams football success that initially was started by another NFL vet and Trotwood grad, Maurice Douglass. He resigned in 2014 to become Springfield’s coach.

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Hezekiah Hudson-Davis is a rare freshman starter and leads Trotwood with 1,268 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Cooper Stewart, a junior quarterback, has 1,775 yards passing, good for 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Senior Carl Blanton Jr. leads Trotwood in receiving with 34 catches for 782 yards (23.0 per catch) and 10 scores. Senior Sammy Anderson has 20 catches for 442 yards (22.1) and nine TDs. He commited to Cincinnati as a defensive back.

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Senior twins and linebackers Keon’tae and Ke’shawn Huguely lead an undersized Rams’ defense that has allowed just seven points or less in six games. Keon’tae also is an effective backup QB.

Trotwood, also an established boys basketball state power, is looking to sweep both basketball and football state titles in the same calendar year. The Rams are the defending D-II boys state basketball champions and several of its key returning basketball players also are football standouts, including Blanton, Anderson and Keon’tae Huguely.

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This is the final season for Trotwood to be in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Trotwood was not invited to the rejuvenated Miami Valley League that consists of 10 former GWOC teams and began play this fall. Trotwood eventually was voted out of the GWOC following the 2019-20 school year after Lebanon announced it would leave the GWOC for the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.

Previously 20 teams, that leaves the GWOC with eight for next fall and Trotwood an independent.

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