The journey was long and a bit bumpy along the ride, but in the end the Winton Woods Warriors would come home with the school's first-ever state championship.
A failed tax levy could have put an abrupt end to the year in Week 8. Fortunately, the community passed the levy and allowed the magical ride of this team to continue.
The Warriors did it with perseverance, style, class and a playoff run that saw them outscore their five foes by an average of five touchdowns per game. Offensively, this will go down as one of the highest scoring teams in the state's history. It was explosive from start to finish on both sides of the ball.
Let's take a game-by-game look at Winton Woods' 2009 campaign:
GAME #1 - MOELLER 45, WINTON WOODS 34
The Warriors were poised to shock the football world as they ran out to a 21-0 first quarter lead over GCL South powerhouse Moeller. However, third-quarter miscues by Winton Woods led to 28 Moeller points, enough for the Crusaders to take a 10-point advantage heading into the final 12 minutes. Jeremiah Goins would score from 13 yards out to pull Winton Woods to within four with eight minutes left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff the Warriors would allow Moeller kick returner Ethan McAlpine to go 96 yards to paydirt and put Moeller up for good, 45-34. Demond Hill returned the game's opening kick 91 yards to set the tone for Winton Woods. Moeller would score on a punt return, kickoff return and an interception in the second half.
GAME #2 - WINTON WOODS 67, WITHROW 6
Eight turnovers led to Withrow's self destruction as Winton Woods hung a 54-spot on the Tigers in the first half. Avery Cunningham and Chuck Wynn had interception returns for touchdowns in the second quarter. Wynn picked off a pass and took it 99-yards to thwart a Tigers' scoring opportunity as the half ended. Each player had two picks in the contest. One of five touchdowns the Warriors scored in the second quarter was on a blocked punt recovery by Jalen Bradley.
GAME #3 - WINTON WOODS 36, FAIRFIELD 0
For the second straight week the Warriors dominated a good Division I team. Winton Woods scored 27 second half points to break open a 9-0 game the half. Goins and quaterback Dominique Brown would each run for over 100 yards against the Indians' defense. Brown added three touchdowns rushing. The play that really broke Fairfield's back was when Warriors' defensive back Corey Webber intercepted a Justin McCray pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.
GAME #4 - WINTON WOODS 19, BISHOP WATTERSON 13 (OT)
Bishop Watterson did everything in their power to keep Winton Woods out of the end zone, but the Warriors would wear them down in overtime. Goins scored the game winner from two yards out in extended play. He led all rushers with 161 yards. Brown pitched in with 120 yards and a touchdown. Bishop Watterson quarterback Greg Hock threw two touchdown passes in at three minute span of the second quarter to give his team a 13-6 lead at the break. Sandwiched in between those scoring tosses was a Hill 93-yard kickoff return for the Warriors' lone score of the half. Winton Woods held a two-to -one advantage in time of possession and that proved to be the difference in the contest.
GAME #5 - WINTON WOODS 60, KINGS 25
The Warriors piled up 380 yards rushing and seven touchdowns as they improve to 4-1 on the season after knocking off a pesky Kings team. Goins had four touchdowns and 136 yards on the ground. Thomas Owens added two more scores and 80 yards rushing. Juan Glover caught his second touchdown pass of the season as he had three receptions for 83 yards in a winning effort.
GAME #6 - ANDERSON 52, WINTON WOODS 38
It was the game everyone in the FAVC had circled on their calendars since the day the schedule as announced and it did not disappoint. The FOX19 Friday Prep Rally was on hand for an instant classic in a contest that saw six lead changes and four ties. Anderson scored 21 unanswered points on three Kyle Slater touchdown runs in the games last 10 minutes to catch and beat Winton Woods. Slater ran for 226 yards and five scores. Goins tallied 245 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries for the Warriors. The two schools combined for 90 points and 856 yards of total offense.
GAME #7 - WINTON WOODS 35, HARRISON 12
The affair was a close contest as Harrison pulled to within nine at 21-12, shortly into the fourth quarter. Then Brown's third and fourth rushing touchdowns put the game away for Winton Woods. The senior ran for 220 yards and Goins chipped in with another 141 yards on the ground. The Warriors forced four Wildcat turnovers while yielding 172 yards of total offense.
GAME #8 - WINTON WOODS 48, MILFORD 17
Winton Woods scored five touchdowns in a 13 minute span from the beginning of the second quarter until a minute and a half into the third stanza to pull away from Milford. The Warriors rushing attack gained 442 yards scored six touchdowns while posting a lofty 12.6 yards per carry. Brown had seven carries for 153 yards and two scores. Goins led the team with 166 yards on 10 totes and two scores.
GAME #9 - WINTON WOODS 21, LOVELAND 7
The Warriors got quite the scare from a tough Loveland squad. The game was knotted up at 7-7 going into intermission. Winton Woods' defense was the difference in the second. Turnovers paved the way to two third quarter touchdowns to break things open. They held Lockland to 25 yards rushing and intercepted three passes in the contest. The offense did their part by tallying 360 yards rushing on the night. Brown was sensational, running for 178 yards and a score and passing for 101 and a touchdown through the air. Goins chipped in for another 131 yards on the ground.
GAME #10 - WINTON WOODS 37, GLEN ESTE 14
Goins became the first player in Winton Woods' history to rush for 4,000 yards. The Warriors finished the regular season with a convincing win over Glen Este. The senior would end up with 109 yards and a score on the ground. Brown ran for two more scores. Winton Woods' only two losses during the regular season came to the hands of Division I Moeller and Anderson, who both made the playoffs in Region 4.
GAME #11 - WINTON WOODS 59, ROSS 7
Winton Woods went on to score 52 unanswered points and cruise to a 59-7 victory over Ross in round one of the playoffs. It was total domination by the Warriors as they won the ground attack by a 423-3 margin. Five different players rushed for at least 59 yards and the team had eight rushing touchdowns. Five more players combined for 10 carries, 65 yards and two touchdowns. Goins paved the way with 103 yards and three scores.
GAME #12- WINTON WOODS 40, TECUMSEH 7
Brown ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries as Winton Woods advanced to the Regional Finals after a 40-7 victory over Tecumseh. The senior did all his damage in the first three quarters. Goins ran for three scores. Owens broke the ice when he broke free for a 75-yard touchdown that put Winton Woods ahead, 6-0. The senior would end up with 91 yards rushing on four totes. The Warriors ended up with 290 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns in the first 24 minutes of the contest.
Game #13 - WINTON WOODS 28, TROTWOOD-MADISON 7
Winton Woods held Trotwood-Madison running back Antwan Gilbert to a season-low 40 yards rushing on 13 carries as the Warriors flexed their muscles on defense. The victory gives the Warriors the Southwest Regional Championship as they advanced to face Marion-Franklin. Offensively, Brown (163) and Goins (127) ran for 290 of Winton Woods' 344 yards on the ground and all four of the team's touchdowns. The Warriors built their 28-0 five minutes into the second half.
GAME #14 - WINTON WOODS 69, MARION-FRANKLIN 35
Brown put on a legendary performance in the state semi-finals. The Winton Woods' quarterback ran for seven touchdowns as the Warriors advanced to the school's first ever state championship appearance. The Division II Co-Offensive Player of the Year posted a career-high 249 rushing yards in his team's 69-35 victory. By the time the dust had cleared the team would run for 645 yards on 64 carries. Goins tallied 264 yards and two scores. It would be the senior's 70th and 71st rushing touchdowns of his career. Marion-Franklin quarterback Verlon Reed (Ohio State commit) ran 216 yards, three touchdowns and passed for 213 and two scores in a valiant effort in defeat.
GAME #15 - WINTON WOODS 42, MAPLE HEIGHTS 12
Brown was not going to be denied in his final game. The senior tied a state finals record with four rushing touchdowns. They were all scored in the first three quarters as the Warriors ran out to a 35-6 lead and never looked back on the way to their first state championship, a 42-12 victory over Maple Heights. Brown would end up with 182 yards rushing. Goins had 155 more as the Warriors posted a state-title game record 376 yards on the ground. The Mustangs racked up 190 yards rushing in the first half, but the Winton Woods tightened down the clamps giving up just 23 more after halftime. The Warriors were the only Cincinnati-area team to bring back a title in '09. It is the second time in three years that an FAVC Buckeye team has won the Division II state title, Anderson won it 2007.
MILESTONES AND MORE:
--The Warriors 633 points were the eighth most in Ohio history. They scored 10 touchdowns in a game twice, nine and eight each once.
--Dominique Brown was named the Ohio Division II Co-Offensive player of the year after running for 1,998 yards and 32 touchdowns. He had 16 scored in five post-season games. The senior finishes his career with 4,685 rushing yards, 64 rushing touchdowns, 1,691 yards passing and 15 touchdowns through the air.
--Jeremiah Goins an All-State First-Team Division II selection ran for 2,141 yards and 24 touchdowns. He ends his career as the school's all-time leading rusher with 4,708 yards and 71 touchdowns
--The senior class finishes their varsity career 31-8 including 24-4 the past two seasons.
--The Warriors were all about making the most of returns. The team had three kickoffs, one punt, one fumble recovery and four interception returns for scores during the regular season.
--It was the fifth straight playoff appearance for Winton Woods under head coach Troy Everhart. The school had been to the post-season just once before his arrival.
**The Winton Woods Warriors have been nominated as one of six finalists for QueenCityHigh.com's Cincinnati Team of the Year. The award will be handed at our Cincinnati Year In Review show at Buca di Beppo at Rookwood Commons in Norwood on Thursday, January 12th, 2010. The event is open to the public. Cost for admission is $15 per person and includes family-style Italian buffet. For further details and to RSVP to the event CLICK HERE**