Freaky Friday. Nike pink-patent hi-tops? A twisted tale of two halves.
Shorts? Implosions and explosions. Meltdowns and get downs. A storybook
finish. The MVP HD Game of the Week, playoff style. A confluence of
circumstances beyond our control…
Viedo by Alex Sator
“THIS WAS THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN TE HISTORY OF REGION 8 FOOTBALL.”
By Tim Langevin
It wasn’t what Trotwood scripted, trailing 20-zip at the break, but
thanks to a bodacious second-half comeback which calmed the “Perfect
Storm”, the Rams were able to deliver a 35-20 storybook finish against
Kings Mills Kings to advance to
the D-II state semifinals.
“This was the greatest comeback in the history of Region 8
football,” Trotwood coach Maurice Douglass exclaimed. “What you
witnessed was belief. Belief in one another. The kids showed true
character. They were able to overcome adversity…It’s destiny. It has
already been written. Year of the Ram. State champs.”
Not quite as prophetic, Kings coach Andy Olds said, “This still was a
great season. This senior class left a legacy for the younger kids to
follow. I’m so proud of this team. I just wish we could’ve duplicated
our first-half performance in the second-half. Then we might have won.
Hats off to Trotwood. I hope they do their deal and win state.”
Last year, Trotwood defeated Kings 53-24 in this same regional final
matchup. However, this night would prove to be a different animal. The Knights dominated
first-half action, delivering on offense with eight first-downs and 162
yards of total offense, including two scores. The defense was punishing,
causing two interceptions, a fumble recovery,
three sacks, and a blocked punt. And Evan Berg added two field goals of
31 yards and 22 yards, to boot.
The tenor was set on Trotwood’s opening possession of the game when
DE Tom Schnee deflected back-to-back Michael Simpson pass attempts,
forcing a three and out. Trotwood’s second possession resulted in a Max
After a scoreless first quarter, Kings struck first with a 31-yard
field goal with 11:09 until half. The Knights drove 55 yards in nine
plays. Brian Huffman paved the way on the ground with 14 yards on two
carries and QB Jensen Gebhardt connected with Jamire Westbrook on a
35-yard slant across the middle on third down and eight. That play was
Kings scored again after a 16-play drive which ate up 75 yards and
6:57 of clock. Berg capped it with a 21-yard field goal and the Knights
led 6-0 with 2:26 until intermission. The drive was aided by two
Trotwood penalties for 30 yards, three third-down conversions, and a
Kings saved their best for last, scoring twice in a 2:10 span. After
an Austin Copeland interception, Simpson’s second of the half, the
Knights went for the daggar and Huffman delivered with a 37-yard TD
scamper. It was a beauty. The senior RB took the handoff, found a nice
crease cutting off the back-side flow, and dashed to paydirt.
Huffman finished the game with 80 yards on 11 carries and a swift 7.3
Totally stunned, Trotwood was forced to punt on fourth and 18 after a
Leher sack. The weakside LB had quite a night with six tackles, a pick,
and two sacks. Anyway, the punt was blocked by Nick Handorf and Kings
was back in business, starting from the Trotwood 15-yard-line.
Westbrook carried four straight plays for 14 yards. On a fourth and
goal from the one-yard-line, Kings decided on a field goal. But when it
rains, it pours. Trotwood was off-sides and the ball was placed on the
1/2-yard-line. Forget the field goal. Westbrook plunged forward and
Kings led 20-0 to end the half.
The Trotwood swagger was lost.
Held in check most of the game, Westbrook finished with 90 yards on
26 carries (3.5 avg.). The Miami (OH) recruit concludes a brilliant
career with over 7,000 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 1,698 yards and
18 TDs this season.
Olds said, “Our defense deserves a lot of credit. They absolutely smacked Trotwood in the mouth
the first half. I think we got their attention, their respect.”
The Rams offense simply imploded with turnovers, sacks, miscues, and
blunders. Trotwood gained 48 total yards and three first downs. Simpson
was 1-of-10 for 11 yards and two picks. He sorely missed his prime
target Trai Mobley, who injured his foot and couldn’t go. The senior WR
has caught 49 passes for 796 yards and seven TDs.
Styling with hot-pink hi-tops (breast cancer awareness) and black,
baggy shorts, Douglass explained, “That was Simpson’s go-to receiver
all season. I think he was tight to start the game. I think our offense
was out of sync…I told the kids at half, losers go home. God gave you
these gifts and talents, but its up to you to do something with them.”
His message served notice.
Trotwood’s up-tick offense exploded for 35 second-half points, including 28 in the fourth
quarter and the defense pitched a shut-out as the Rams staged a most
improbable comeback in regional history. If you left early for this one,
shame on you.
On the opening possession of the second half, Kings continued its
trend, rushing for 20 yards and two first downs. Then on second and
eight from their own 46-yard-line, Westbrook dashed 11 yards, but was
hit and fumbled and Darion Heath pounced on it.
Nine plays later, Trotwood cashed in on a one-yard TD plunge by
Isreal Green. The 57-yard drive was kept alive on a fourth down
conversion with a five-yard toss and catch from Simpson to freshman Eric
Cospy. The Rams trailed 20-7 with 6:14 left in the third quarter. Game
The Knights were forced to punt and Trotwood started from its own
20-yard-line. Ram QB Michael Simpson found his groove, scrambling for 18
yards on five carries and completing 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards,
including a five-yard TD lob to Bam Bradley. Trotwood trailed 20-14 with
11:56 left in the contest.
The Trotwood swagger was found.
Kings was forced to punt again and Trotwood wasted no time, scoring
three plays later on a brilliant 33-yard TD romp by Green. The junior RB
catapulted forward, spinning and twisting, shedding tacklers, not to be
denied until he crossed the goal line. Boom Baby. Just like that,
Trotwood led for the first time, 21-20 with 9:09 left in the game.
Green struggled in the first half, but finished the game with 129
yards on 19 carries and two scores. He has 1,627 yards and 20 TDs on the
“The kid (Green) is determined to be great,” said Douglass.
“Sometimes he is overlooked, but that cat works his butt off in the
weight room, the classroom, the practice field, and game day.”
Another forced punt and Trotwood took over from their 46-yard-line.
Three plays later, sophomore TB Ashton Jackson skirted the edge on a
four-yard TD run. The Rams lead expanded 28-20 with 7:08 left. Jackson
carried the ball on the previous play 39 yards. He finished the night
with 71 yards on eight carries for a snazzy 8.9 average.
Olds said, “To be honest, I thought Trotwood would self-destruct
after that first half. No disrespect, but they hadn’t experienced
adversity the whole season. We definitely gave them a dose of adversity,
but they responded. Hats off to them. They are a great program.”
Highly-touted junior LB Michael McCray tacked on another score with a
39-yard interception return. McCray has five picks on the season, two
for TDs. This game he was all over the field with 14 tackles and a
His partner in destruction, safety Bam Bradley recorded seven tackles
and one interception. The recently named D-II Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year has
four interceptions and 53 tackles on the season. Bradley visited Stanford November 12 to watch the Cardinal play Oregon. He
has narrowed his decision to four schools
– Ohio State, Pittsburgh (where his brother plays), Penn State, and
Senior QB Gebhardt ended his career with 7-of-19 passing for 93 yards
and one interception. He finishes
the season 116-of-208 for 1,504 yards and 12 TDs.
Gebhardt said, “The cards fell our way in the first half and their
way in the second half. We left our legacy at Kings. It was a heck of a
game and a heck of a season.”
Trotwood finished with 292 yards of offense with 18 first downs.
Kings accounted for 269 total yards and 12 first downs. The Knights had
four turnovers, all in the second half and the Rams had three turnovers,
all in the first half.
Kings season ends at 12-1. Olds is 123-35 in 13 years as head coach.
He graduated from Capital University, the same place as his long-time
friend Jay Sharrett, the coach at Pickerington Central graduated. Sounds
like Capital is the new “cradle of coaches”.
Trotwood remains undefeated at 13-0 and squares off against 13-0
Marion-Franklin Friday in the state semi-finals at Northmont Good
Samaritan Stadium. The Red Devils defeated Dresden Tri-Valley 48-42 in
And so, Trotwood advances to the final four for the third time in
school history. The final four, a sports phrase synonymous with a sense
of accomplishment. The Rams aren’t looking for a sense of
accomplishment. They want “…to hoist the big trophy at the end of the