Trotwood loses shot at state title game

Trotwood-Madison high school football seasons are defined by state championship runs. They haven’t always ended with titles, but just getting to Week 15 is the new norm that has stoked Ram Nation the past four years.

But all great runs must end, and so too has Trotwood’s.

Nemesis Toledo Central Catholic saw to that, pinning a 17-14 loss on Trotwood in a Division III state semifinal at Donnell Stadium on Friday night.

That snaps a streak of four straight state title appearances by Trotwood. Instead, TCC is headed to “The Shoe,” its players barked at midfield. That would be Ohio State University’s Ohio Stadium, otherwise known as “The Horseshoe.”

Central Catholic (12-2) will play Athens (14-0) in the title game. Athens advanced by knocking out defending state champ Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 34-31.

If TCC beating Trotwood (12-2) sounds familiar, it should. Trotwood lost to Central Catholic 16-12 in the 2012 D-II state title game.

Trotwood’s offense never slipped into gear, finishing with 134 total yards. Too many dropped passes and an assortment of other breakdowns were its undoing, along with a knockout Central Catholic defense.

“They’re very disciplined and they game-planned us very well,” said Trotwood senior leading receiver Ryon Lucas, who had one catch for five yards. “They stuck to their game plan and came out on top.”

The loss hit the Trotwood seniors like Lucas especially hard. It’ll be the first time in their careers they haven’t finished a season playing for a state title.

“It’s painful. It’s hard,” said Rams standout defensive lineman Lamont Ragland, who transferred from Jefferson as a senior. “Ram Nation, if you’re a part of Ram Nation, you’ll always be a part of Ram Nation. You gotta win as a champion and lose as a champion.”

TCC started the season 1-2 and looked a long shot just to make the playoffs. One of those losses was to a Michigan power that won a state title Friday. The Irish have won 11 straight games.

Powered by a strong running game (TCC has three backs who have surpassed 1,000 yards rushing), the Irish had just enough punch to make Trotwood play catch-up throughout.

Scoreless in the first half, Trotwood pulled within 14-7 on promising freshman Raveion Hargrove’s 25-yard touchdown run. Less than one minute later the Rams’ vaunted defense gave up an 80-yard TD run.

Trotwood’s Breland Cospy added a 3-yard TD run late in the third quarter to close the scoring. When a final Messiah DeWeaver pass sailed over De’Shawn Gay’s head on fourth down with 1:50 left, it was over. DeWeaver was 6 of 21 passing for 36 yards.

“It always hurts,” Trotwood coach Jeff Graham said. “Hey, losing’s not easy. But the one good thing about losing is you learn from it. We’ll just continue to build on some of the things that we can build on. If you want to stay on top, you’ve got to continue to compete like champs.”

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