Too big, too fast, too strong, too experienced.
Anything elseTrotwood-Madison might have had over Tippecanoe? Sure, the only thing that really matters: 25-7.
Trotwood’s pursuit of its fourth straight state title appearance became one game closer on Friday night when the Rams handed the overmatched and previously unbeaten Red Devils their only defeat in a Division III, Region 10 high school football playoff showdown.
A crowd of about 5,000 stuffed Alexander Stadium. Tipp was hoping against tradition, trying to extend its deepest postseason run in program history.
The Rams countered with two words to that: No chance.
“It was extremely tough,” Tipp two-way lineman Tyler Hunter said. “That’s a state-caliber team. They just got to keep it up and keep doing what they do.”
Trotwood (10-2) was just a No. 7 seed, courtesy of a forfeited win and relatively weak schedule. The Rams didn’t even qualify for the playoffs until after the final regular-season game. No matter.
In contrast was Tippecanoe (12-1), the No. 1 seed and the beast of the Central Buckeye Conference. The Red Devils have been to nine straight playoffs. Loaded with veteran seniors, they expected to be in this game.
It was an intriguing matchup of programs that both dropped a division with the statewide realignment this season. And there was old-school history; both were Southwestern Buckeye League members back in the day but hadn’t played since.
Trotwood also hadn’t been pushed in two months. Tipp would be no easy out, and wasn’t.
Trotwood defensive back Kei Beckham landed the knockout blow. The junior picked up a Jacob Hall fumble and rumbled 84 untouched yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Tipp seemed ready to push in for the go-ahead score.
“That was the big play,” Tipp coach Charlie Burgbacher said. “If we punch it in it gives us the momentum. We were that close to making the dream and the reality to come true.”
Beckham’s run bumped the Rams’ lead to 18-7. A Marc Raye-Redmond 64-yard TD run followed. That capped a game-ending 25-0 run after Tipp was spotted a 7-0 lead on Cameron Johnson’s 11-yard first-quarter TD dash.
“We came out and hit them in the mouth and I don’t think that they were expecting it,” said Tipp quarterback Ben Hughes.
Hall had 150 yards rushing and Johnson 91. Raye-Redmond had 127 yards rushing on 10 carries.
So it’s Trotwood that moves on to the D-III state semifinals, the fourth straight time the Rams have done that. Trotwood will not have a rematch with 2012 state champ Toledo Central Catholic. Clyde saw to that with a 42-41 Region 8 win to earn a state semifinal game against Trotwood next Friday. The neutral site will be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Conference on Sunday.
Trotwood long ago quit talking for the record. No matter; their best talking is on the field.
“This is an indication of how close we were and how close we are,” Bergbacher said. “We were that close to making the dream and the reality to come true.”