“A lot of people want to doubt what they can do as far as their ability,” explained Trotwood coach Jeff Graham. “Sometimes when you look at other things, you can’t judge a person about size or character or heart. Those two twins, they really believe in that.”
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The Huguelys and their teammates will make a final salute to Rams football this week. Trotwood (11-3) will play upstart Mansfield Senior (13-1) for the Division III state championship on Friday.
That will be one of seven season-ending state title games that will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. The D-II title game kicks off championship week at 7 p.m. Thursday between top-ranked Massillon Washington (14-0) vs. Cincinnati La Salle (12-2).
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Anna (13-1) opens Friday’s tripleheader at 10 a.m. by playing New Middletown Springfield (14-0) for the D-VI title. Marion Local (12-2) will play in Saturday’s opener against Lucas (12-2) for the D-VII championship at 10 a.m.
Graham said the twins quickly won the coaching staff over as can-do freshmen. Now, they’re instant-result plug-ins. Ke’shawn rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns in a regional semifinal blowout of St. Marys Memorial. His backfield presence the last three weeks has been invaluable as teams lock in on freshman sensation Hezekiah Hudson-Davis. Ke’shawn also is a force on the defensive line.
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Keon’tae had 71 yards passing and a TD in relief of injured starter Cooper Stewart in the regional final defeat of Badin. Nothing unusual in that. He was Trotwood’s starter at QB last season until an injury forced him out and Stewart in. Keon’tae also excels wherever needed on defense.
As usual, the twins were instrumental in last week’s 24-19 state semifinal defeat of Columbus Bishop Hartley at Piqua.
“A lot of people get me mixed up with my brother,” said Keon’tae.
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That’s just the way Graham likes it.
“They’re the meat and guts about what our Trotwood program really believes in, which is putting those kinds of people in the position to be able to succeed and be successful,” said Graham.
• Graham and former Ohio State University quarterback Greg Frey hooked up again during Monday’s state-wide media conference.
“Twenty-four fade, baby, 24 fade,” gushed Graham. “That was our route.”
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Both were standouts on early John Cooper teams at OSU. They also were instrumental in an improbable 41-37 win at Minnesota in 1989. OSU trailed 31-0 and completed the comeback with Frey’s 18-yard winning TD toss to Graham with 51 seconds left on that 24 fade route.
“I was going to ask you who was the best quarterback you ever played with, but I thought you might not answer that correctly,” chided Frey.
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Frey has been a frequent high school football color analyst for Time Warner Cable and now Spectrum. He’ll work several title games.
• There were 710 teams divvied among the seven divisions that played football in Ohio this season. Four are playing in a state championship for the first time: Mansfield Senior (D-III), Anna (D-VI), New Middletown Springfield (D-VI) and Lucas (D-VII).
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Four of the Associated Press state poll champs advanced to title games: Massillon Washington (D-II), Kirtland (D-V), Anna (D-VI) and Marion Local (D-VII).
Clyde (10-4) is the only No. 8 regional seed that will play for a title (D-IV) and also has the most losses among the final 14 teams, having entered the postseason at 6-4. Clyde derailed previously unbeaten Cincinnati Wyoming and its Mr. Football candidate Evan Prater 35-14 in last week’s state semifinal. Wyoming eliminated Valley View in a reigonal final.
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Trotwood is the only No. 7 seed still alive and Anna the only No. 5 seed.
• This will be Marion Local’s ninth consecutive state-title appearance and 14th overall, which ties an all-time record that Newark Catholic initially set in 2012. Cincinnati Moeller and Cleveland St. Ignatius each have played in 13 championships.
By playing 15 games each of the last nine seasons, Marion Local will have played in 45 playoff games, or the equivalent of 4.5 extra regular seasons, in that span.
»» PHOTOS: Valley View vs. Cin. Wyoming, D-IV regional final
• All the state title games will be shown live on Spectrum News 1 (Ch. 1). The games also are available free to Spectrum subscribers on OHSAA.tv and available to non-subscribers for a fee.
• Anna senior Riley Huelskamp, Marion Local senior Matt Everman and Fort Loramie junior Max Hoying shared the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association football All-Ohio players of the year in their respective divisions.
A running back, Huelskamp shared the D-VI offensive player of the year with three others. Everman and Hoying were among three players to share the D-VII defensive player of the year. Everman is a defensive lineman and Hoying a linebacker.
»» PHOTOS: Badin vs. Trotwood-Madison, regional final football
Other area players on the D-VI first team offense were quarterbacks Bart Bixler (Anna) and Cade Schmelzer (Covington) and receiver Trent Roetgerman (Minster). Area first-team D-VI defensive players were linemen Nick Wolfe (Greeneview) and Wil Luthman (Anna) and linebacker Jake Hurst (Mechanicsburg).
Defensive back Mark Seger (Fort Loramie) also was a D-VII first-team pick.
The Divisions I through V All-Ohio teams will be released this week along with Ohio’s Mr. Football on Wednesday.
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