“Our older kids and the kids who are seniors now remember that situation. That’s what catapulted them to come into this season and the offseason and have a plan and a goal. This is what we’re going to do and just be overly prepared.”
Trotwood has everything going for it that Tri-Valley doesn’t: Deep playoff tradition (eight straight state semifinals), championship-game experience (it will be the Rams’ sixth), an all-world running back (senior Ra’veion Hargrove has 7,000-plus career rushing yards) and a shutdown defense (a 692-164 scoring advantage and seven games of allowing seven points or less).
It’s the first championship game appearance for Tri-Valley, located near Zanesville. The Scotties rallied to win all three previous playoff games and are the first Muskingum Valley League team to play for a title since 1987.
“We’ve seen a lot of teams formationally that are similar to Trotwood, but we haven’t seen anybody who does it with those types of players,” Tri-Valley coach Justin Buttermore said. “They obviously are an incredibly talented team, maybe the most talented team in the state regardless of division. We know what we’re up against. Certainly, they provide a little different challenge than what we’ve faced.”
MAC attack: Minster overwhelmed Cuyahoga Heights 32-7 in Friday's opener to win a D-VII title. That was the first of four games involving area teams.
Defending state champ Marion Local (14-0), the other Midwest Athletic Conference rep, plays Kirtland (14-0) in Saturday’s D-VI opener at 10 a.m. It’s the only No. 1 (Marion Local) vs. No. 2 (Kirtland) showdown. It’s the sixth state title appearance in seven seasons for Kirtland, which edged Marion Local 22-20 in the 2015 D-VI title game.
Mighty Massie: Clinton-Massie (13-1) is looking to add to its 2012-13 title teams against top-ranked Steubenville (14-0) in the D-IV championship at 3 p.m. Saturday. Steubenville has multiple state-title appearances, but has lost championship games the last two seasons.
Akron Archbishop Hoban 42, Cin. Winton Woods 14: Hoban connected on a 73-yard touchdown pass on its first play from scrimmage and returned a blocked punt for another score less than two minutes into Thursday night's D-II championship opener. All the scoring occurred in the first half.
It was the third straight state title for Hoban (14-1), which previously won consecutive D-III state titles. It was Winton Woods’ (13-2) first state title appearance since winning the D-II championship in 2009.
TV coverage: All seven state title games have and will be aired lived on Spectrum cable channels 99, 311 and 1311. Check the Spectrum daily listings for replays.