The third time was a charm for Trotwood. After suffering a state
final loss in 1981 as a Ram player and a state final loss in 2010 as the
Ram coach, Maurice Douglass was granted retribution with a 42-28 win
against Avon in the D-II final. Some things do change.
The third time was a charm for Trotwood. After suffering a state final loss in 1981 as a Ram player and a state final loss in 2010 as the Ram coach, Maurice Douglass was granted retribution with a 42-28 win against Avon in the D-II final. Some things do change. Politician, Minister, Counselor, and Coach, Douglass had plenty to say on an array of topics: “We needed this. For the school, for the community. We didn’t pass our levy. We need votes…It was our season. A part of God’s plan for this team…Bam Bradley showed people (college recruiters) that he is one of the best…Urban Meyer wants Bradley and he indicated that Trotwood would be a pipeline for recruiting. No more Trotwood kids going to Michigan.” Junior RB Isreal Green set two goals – rush for over 2,000 yards and win a state title – pretty lofty goals for a 17-year-old. He accomplished both with a record-setting performance of 326 yards (9.3 avg.) and six TDs. He ran inside, outside, and “…wherever he wanted to go.” – By Tim Langevin
Video by Alex Sator
JUNIOR RB ISREAL GREEN SCORES SIX TDS, RUNS FOR OVER 300 YARDS IN LEADING RAMS TO D-II TITLE
(Division II Championship at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium)
By Tim Langevin
MASSILLON – Tom Petty wrote the lyrics, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
Well, the hardest part is over for Trotwood as the Rams punished Avon with a ground-control offense 42-28 Friday night. Last year Trotwood blew a 19-point lead and lost to Maple Heights in the title game. Since then, the team vowed to make amends.
Well, the hardest part is over for RB Isreal Green, who sat the bench behind two-time, 2,000-yard RB Antwan Gilbert. This night, the soft-spoken junior sparkled with six TD runs and dazzled the 6,699 on-lookers with 326 yards on 35 carries for an insane 9.3 average. Even brighter than the Holiday season, Green surpassed 2,000 rushing yards on the season.
“This means a lot. Two of my goals were to win state and rush for over 2,000 yards,” Green said. “My bigs were determined. I ran hard and gave it my all.”
Green’s six-touchdowns performance set an all-division title game record and his 326 yards was the second-most in title game history behind Tony Franklin’s 393 yards in the 2001 championship game.
Trotwood’s 436 rushing yards are the fifth-most in any title game. Sophomore RB Ashton Jackson added 81 yards.
Avon coach Mike Elder said, “We knew it would take a tough effort. Our kids never quit. No matter what the scoreboard said, they never quit.”
It was an easy day at the office for QB Michael Simpson. He threw just nine passes and completed six for 56 yards.
Simpson said, “I knew all I had to do is hand off to number 3 (Green).”
It wasn’t the best start for Simpson as he threw an interception to Avon CB Ralph Smith, who returned it 65 yards for the score with 8:48 left in the opening quarter. But the Rams answered with four straight scores to take a commanding 28-7 lead with 31 seconds until half.
The Eagles struck quickly with a two-play, 60-yard spurt to narrow the gap 28-14 seconds before the break. QB Justin O’Rourke completed a 14-yarder to Jacob Mullins, a 29-yarder to Matt Eckahrdt, and a 17-yard TD strike to Mullins. Wow!
Douglass said, “They were a hard team to prepare for because they give you so many different offensive looks.”
Avon wouldn’t go away despite trailing 35-14 after Green’s fifth TD run, a 38-yarder down the sideline. The Eagles soared back with two quick scores to make it 35-28 with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Trotwood coach Maurice Douglass said, “There was no panic this time. We knew it was all a part of God’s plan. 15-0 and a state championship.”
What Trotwood was able to do on the ground, Avon replicated through the air. O’Rourke completed 27-of-50 passes for 325 yards and three TDs, including a six-yarder to Eckahrdt and a 15-yarder to Mullins to make it real interesting.
The Trotwood faithful started to moan, thinking “not again”.
The moans turned to cheers after Green punched it the endzone from one-yard, capping a 13-play, 56-yard march. The Rams led 42-28 with 6:35 left in the game and held on for the win.
Douglass said, “The talk on the internet said our offensive line is fat, slow, and undisciplined. Those fat, slow guys opened up a lot of holes. I’ll take those fat, slow guys any day.”
O’Rourke connected with seven different receivers on a night in which perhaps, he was overshadowed by the brilliant performance of Green. Mullins caught 11 passes for 135 yards and two scores and Eckahrdt made nine catches for 102 yards and one score.
“Our game plan was to be balanced on offense. It didn’t happen that way,” Elder said. “They were too big for us to move out so we did everything we could to put this team in position to win. That’s why the hook and ladder plays and onside kicks.”
The Trotwood defense was led by Freshman DB Harrison Johnson with 51/2 tackles, including two for minus 15 yards. Cameron Burrows recorded 41/2 tackles. Another Freshman in the secondary was Kei Beckham, who had 11/2 tackles.
The team leader Bam Bradley had four tackles on defense and caught one pass for nine yards. Bradley had plenty to say at the post-game press conference, “I believed in those two freshmen or else coach wouldn’t have put them in. These kids lifted weights with us in eighth grade so they understand what its all about…A lot of people are ranked higher than me at my position. I wanted to show people I’m better than half those kids ahead of me. Marcus Foster and Devon Bogard aren’t better than me. They home now…People downplay the GWOC North. Who has the only two state titles? Us and Piqua. Our division was the best again this year…I know Urban Meyer wants me. I will make my decision January 3 at the All-American game. It is between OSU, Pitt, Stanford, and Michigan State.”
Avon ends with a 13-2 record and Trotwood finishes 15-0 and the state champions.
The third time was a charm for Douglass. What he couldn’t achieve as a player in 1981 or as a coach in 2010, he accomplished this December evening in 2011.