The D-II State Championship has arrived. Whether you’re headed to Stark County or headed to the couch to watch on TV, here’s what you need to know…Keys, Two Cents, Stories, Stats, Top Players, Quotes, Notes & More.
D-II STATE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
TROTWOOD-MADISON (12-2) vs TOLEDO CENTRAL CATHOLIC (13-1)
DIVISION II STATE FINAL
Trotwood-Madison (12-2) vs Toledo Central Catholic (13-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m. @ Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
LISTEN LIVE: Click Here to Listen Live to the D-II Final
Background: Trotwood-Madison was No. 1 and Toledo Central Catholic No. 2 in the Ohio National Guard JJHuddle D-I Preseason Power Poll…This is the only game that features Ohio State recruits: Trotwood’s Cam Burrows and TCC’s Jayme Thompson. Both are DBs…Trotwood-Madison is trying to become just the third team in D-II to win back-to-back titles (Akron Buchtel and St. Marys Memorial).
Trotwood-Madison (12-2/ONG JJH #2/AP #9)
Head Coach: Maurice Douglass
Affiliation: Greater Western Ohio Conference
2012 Regional Seed: 6 (Region 8)
2012 Regional Tournament: Cincinnati Mt. Healthy (W, 48-0); ONG JJH #10 Cincinnati Winton Woods (W, 27-20 OT); ONG JJH #6/AP #1 Cincinnati Turpin (W, 42-14)
State Semifinal: ONG JJH #7 New Albany (W, 33-32)
State Championships: 1 (11)
State Semifinal Appearances: 4 (12, 11, 10, 81)
State Final Appearances: 4 (12, 11, 10, 81)
All-Time Tournament Record: 18-6
The Difference Makers:
*RB Isreal Green, sr.: Needs 268 yards to reach 2,000 for a second consecutive season. Out of the question? Consider…in last year’s state final Green ran for a D-II finals record 327 yards and an all-divisions record six TDs. Green has 24 TDs.
*RB Ashton Jackson, jr.: “Back-up” has offers from Illinois, Toledo and Cincinnati. Has rushed for 1,060 yards and 20 TDs.
*LB/TE Michael McCray, sr.: Michigan commit is two-way standout with four receiving TDs and 111 tackles.
*DB Cam Burrows, sr.: Ohio State commit has just 12 tackles this year. Did we mention no one throws at him?
*DL Jarod Clements, sr.: Illinois commit missed the first eight games with injury. Since return in Week 9 he’s had 30 tackles.
*DB Reon Dawson, sr.: Illinois commit has 22 tackles.
*DL Verdontae Wilkinson, jr.: Standout has offers from Illinois, Toledo, Kentucky, Buffalo and Ohio. Has registered 75 tackles.
*OL Cody Collins, sr.: Marshall commit.
*QB Messiah DeWeaver, fr.: During the first academic quarter this year, DeWeaver had seven classes and got seven As. In six starts he’s thrown for 11 TDs and three INTs.
The Story: The Rams have beaten three straight ranked teams (ONG JJH Power Poll) to get to their third straight D-II state final…Trotwood has played three QBs this year…Trotwood started the season 1-2 and has won 11 straight since…The Rams have won five straight GWOC North Division titles.
Key: Experience. Trotwood has played in 45 games the last three years. This year the Rams needed to win in Week 10 to make the playoffs and to get back to Massillon survived Winton Woods in overtime and New Albany by a point in the postseason. Said Douglass: “Because our kids have been blessed enough to go to three straight state championships, they know what it takes to play on a big stage and that’s it’s no different than playing in a scrimmage. The stakes are a little higher, but the field’s still a 100 yards long. That’s allowed them to keep their composure when faced with some adverse situations.”
Two Cents: Four years ago Douglass turned down college coaching offers to remain at Trotwood and told this senior class specifically he would be with them throughout their high school careers. They’ve repaid him with three state finals. Said Douglass: “I made them a promise I would see them through. We have a great relationship. They are a group of kids that I love to be around.”
Coach’s Quote: “(Getting to three straight finals) means we’re headed in the right direction. Before I got here I think they went 2-8 or 1-9 for like 14 years in a row. With us to be on the stage we’re on now it says a lot about our program and what we’ve been able to do. When I got here my vision was to get these guys to the next level and to get back to where we were when I was in high school. We’re thankful to have another opportunity on this stage.”
Toledo Central Catholic (13-1/ONG JJH #3/AP #4)
Head Coach: Greg Dempsey
Nickname: Fighting Irish
Affiliation: Three Rivers Athletic Conference
2012 Regional Seed: 2 (Region 6)
2012 Regional Tournament: Grafton Midview (W, 50-7); Mansfield Madison (W, 45-7); AP #8 Avon (W, 42-14)
State Semifinal: ONG JJH #4/AP #5 Aurora (W, 20-13)
State Championships: 1 (05)
State Semifinal Appearances: 3 (12, 05, 77)
State Final Appearances: 2 (12, 05)
All-Time Tournament Record: 13-12
The Difference Makers:
*RB Amir Edwards, sr., RB: Has rushed for 1,284 yards and 22 TDs.
*DB Jayme Thompson, sr., DB: Ohio State commit has made 37 tackles.
*QB DeShone Kizer, jr., QB: Top prospect has offers from Toledo, Syracuse, Bowling Green, Boston College, Illinois, Louisville, Nebraska, Michigan State, Akron, Penn State and Kentucky. Has thrown for 1,240 yards and 14 TDs. Was starting PG as a freshman on D-I Final Four basketball team. Said Dempsey: “This is the type of test he likes.”
*DL Jon Perrin, sr.: Monster inside with 41 tackles.
*OL Jeff Dew, sr.: Outstanding OL.
*TE Keith Towbridge, sr.: Louisville commit.
The Story: Led by then-senior Dane Sanzenbacher, TCC won the state title in 2005. Dempsey sees some similarities, but one big difference. Said Dempsey: “(In 2005) we were picked to finish fourth in our league and we were more like a Cinderella. This year there were a lot of expectations from the preseason on. It’s not easy to have that label put on you and live up to it. But our kids have done a good job of that. We have a lot of tough kids that I’m proud of.”
Key: Tackling. TCC must limit big plays, slow the run game, force the freshman to throw and wrap. That’s it. Said Dempsey: “They are as dangerous a team as you are going to face.”
Two Cents: Trotwood has more D-I commits on its roster than any other team in the state finals. TCC however has plenty of horses of its own. Both teams have Buckeyes. Said Dempsey: “We have some big name players.”
Coach’s Quote: “I think (Trotwood-Madison) has everybody’s attention. It’s a team everyone follows. They are an elite team when it comes to talent. This is definitely a tough opponent. They have game-breakers on offense, and on defense they’re huge up front with very good cover corners.”
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