After scrimmaging, both Tippecanoe (11-0) and Thurgood Marshall (7-3) figured they could meet again in the high school football postseason. Sure enough, they’re matched up in a loaded Division III, Region 10 semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Northmont.
“There’s going to be a lot of talent on the field,” assured longtime Tipp coach Charlie Burgbacher.
And the other half of the Region 10 bracket is its equal. At Piqua, also on Friday, it’s Trotwood-Madison (8-2) vs. Shawnee (10-1). The winners will play next week in the regional final, meaning one of those four teams is guaranteed a spot in the state semifinals.
Tipp and Thurgood have scrimmaged each other for four consecutive preseasons. Playing in the postseason wasn’t a possibility until the Ohio High School Athletic Association realigned the divisions this season. Thurgood, king of the Dayton City League, stayed in D-III, but Tipp dropped from D-II.
Trotwood also fell one division and Shawnee, like Thurgood, stayed put. That set up the area’s strongest division for at least two years until enrollment figures are recalculated. Shawnee’s only loss was to Tipp.
Top-seeded Tipp advanced by beating CBC rival Kenton Ridge for the second time, 42-7. Thurgood detonated previously unbeaten Western Brown 76-40.
Tipp has benefited from a core group of two-way seniors, all of whom were starters as sophomores. Alex Demers (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) was named the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail defensive lineman of the year. He’ll be a preferred walk-on at Miami University next summer.
Offensively, the Red Devils continue to lean on senior running back Jacob Hall. And why not? A 6-2, 210-pound senior, he’s the CBC Kenton Trail offensive back of the year after going for 1,622 yards (9.2 per pop) and scoring 30 touchdowns.
Hall has verbally committed to Brown and is drawing additional interest from other Ivy League programs.
Tipp has never advanced past this round in two other attempts, losing to Valley View in 2002 and St. Francis DeSales in ’09.
Thurgood has its own dynamic duo in running back/kick returner/defensive back Vayante Copeland and defensive end Landon Brazile. Copeland, 6-1, 185, has rushed for 1,203 yards and 16 scores. He’s the City League offensive player of the year and has committed to Michigan State as a DB.
Brazile, 6-6, 255, is the City League defensive player of the year and is uncommitted.
Tipp will be looking for its seniors to lead once again.
“It’s a group of kids who want to leave a mark on our program and set a standard and set the bar high and represent the team well,” Burgbacher said. “We’ve had some good teams in the past. This is the farthest that we’ve been.”