Trotwood-Madison, Toledo Central Catholic back together again in D-III football state semifinals

It’s been all good for unbeaten Trotwood-Madison’s football team. But if the Rams are to fulfill their destiny and win a state championship, they’ll have to get past a familiar postseason foe.

Trotwood (13-0) will play Toledo Central Catholic (11-2) in a Division III high school state semifinal at Piqua Alexander Stadium on Friday. If this matchup sounds familiar, it should.

Joining Trotwood in Friday’s Week 14 state semis are area teams Clinton-Massie (D-IV), Middletown Madison (D-V), Marion Local (D-VI) and Minster (D-VII). All the games will start at 7:30 p.m. at neutral sites. The winners advance to next week’s state championships at Canton’s new Tom Benton Hall of Fame Stadium in Stark County.

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Trotwood and TCC are state final roadblocks to each other. This is the fourth consecutive season the teams have been paired in a state semifinal. Their first matchup in this relatively recent sizzling series was in a 2012 state final.

The Fighting Irish are members of the Three Rivers Athletic Conference in Lucas County, which evolved in 2011 following a merger of Toledo City League teams.

More noteworthy, TCC had owned Trotwood. First, there was a stinging 16-12 defeat of Trotwood in the 2012 D-II state final. That was one of four straight state title games Trotwood played in under former coach Maurice Douglass.

There would be more postseason heartache for the Rams. In the 2014 season, TCC hung a 17-14 loss on Trotwood in a D-III state semi. Central Catholic won a state title that season. Trotwood also lost to TCC the next season in another D-III state semi, 21-13.

But the playoff luck of the Fighting Irish vs. the Rams ran out in 2016. Undefeated TCC appeared to have its best team yet and had Mr. Football Michael Warren in the backfield. He would de-commit to the University of Toledo and now is getting reps as a freshman at Cincinnati.

Trotwood limited Warren to 18 yards on 15 carries. How dominant was Trotwood’s defense? How about one first down and 40 yards of total offense for TCC. That added up to a resounding – and unlikely - 36-0 defensive gem by the Rams. Shutting down Warren was significant, because he ended his career as Ohio’s fifth all-time leading rusher (7,619 yards).

All that defensive momentum came crashing to a halt the following week for Trotwood. Akron Archbishop Hoban landed an equally impressive 30-0 blanking of Trotwood in the D-III state final at Columbus.

That loss hiked up Trotwood’s offseason demeanor. Trotwood has had just three close games and none in three playoff wins, overwhelming Elida, Dunbar and most recently Chaminade Julienne 44-14 last week. This will be the eighth consecutive state semi contest for Trotwood.

TCC has been just as dominant in the playoffs, taking out Cleveland Glenville, Clyde and previously unbeaten Bay last week, 35-0.

Hoban (12-1) plays Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (10-3) in the other D-III state semi. All four teams are established state powers with a combined 10 state titles, including six by Akron SVSM.

Here’s five other things to know about the football playoffs:

• Midwest Athletic Conference members Marion Local (13-0) and Minster (9-4) both knocked out MAC rivals in last week’s regional finals. Marion Local eliminated Coldwater 33-0 and Minster did the same to Delphos St. John’s, 20-0. Minster also  had walloped St. John’s 41-14 in Week 3 of the regular season.

A red-button theory among MAC fans is the Ohio High School Athletic Association intended to break up the conference’s recent surge in state title appearances with its competitive balance initiative that began this fall. Pairing Marion Local and Coldwater in D-VI was proof, they insist.

“It’s out of our control,” Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said after beating Coldwater. “No one at the OHSAA was scheming and trying to manipulate numbers or anything like that. It just happened. Once we saw this last spring we knew it was going to come down to Coldwater and Marion Local. We didn’t know what week, but we had an idea we were going to have to go through them if we were going to get to where we want to go.”

• The state title games will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Canton. There will be one game on Thursday, Nov. 30. Depending on the matchup, it’ll be for the D-I, D-II, D-V or D-VII title. Whichever of those divisions doesn’t play that day will play the next day. Divisions III, IV and VI championship games are set for Dec. 2.

• There are 11 unbeaten teams remaining in the playoffs and three 13-0 matchups on Friday. The most unlikely is Steubenville vs. Shelby in a D-IV state semi at Akron. It’ll be the 18th state semi for Steubenville and the first for Shelby. That winner gets the Clinton-Massie (12-1) vs. New Concord John Glenn (11-2) winner in the D-IV title game.

• Spectrum will televise two live games on Friday: Colerain (11-2) vs. Pickerington Central (12-1) in a D-I state semi at Springfield’s Evans Stadium (Ch. 314) and Cincinnati Winton Woods (12-1) vs. Massillon Washington (10-3) in D-II at Columbus DeSales (Ch. 311).

• Purchasing a state semi ticket in advance benefits participating schools. A percentage of presale proceeds is given back to the schools by the OHSAA, but none purchased at the gate.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton


7:30 p.m. Friday

D-III: Trotwood-Madison (13-0) vs. Toledo Central Catholic (11-2) at Piqua

D-IV: Clinton-Massie (12-1) vs. New Concord John Glenn (11-2) at Hilliard Darby

D-V: Middletown Madison (11-2) vs. Wheelersburg (13-0) at Chillicothe

D-VI: Marion Local (13-0) vs. Findlay Liberty-Benton (12-1) at Wapakoneta

D-VII: Minster (9-4) vs. Norwalk St. Paul (13-0) at Lima Senior

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