The Trotwood-Madison Rams came up just short on their bid to win a second straight OHSAA Division II state championship as they lost to the Toledo Central Catholic Fighting Irish 16-12 on Friday night at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Trotwood-Madison (12-3) struggled to move the ball through three quarters before making a late surge. The Rams had just 46 total yards of offense in the first half and trailed at the break 14-0.
Amir Edwards sparked the Irish early as he scored twice and had 114 of his 185 yards on the ground before intermission. He accounted for all but 36 yards of the team's offense on the night.
The first points of the second half came after a DeShone Kizer punt pinned the Rams at their own 1-yard line. One play later Toledo Central Catholic (14-1) came up with a safety to take the lead to 16-0 in favor of the Irish with 7:27 left in the third quarter. It would be the final points of the night for the victors.
Sophomore wide receiver Ryon Lucas came alive late in the game as the Rams rallied, catching three balls for 83 yards and a touchdown all in the final quarter and half of play. His 13-yard TD reception from freshman Messiah DeWeaver less than three minutes into the fourth quarter trimmed the lead to 10 points after a failed two-point conversion. The score capped off an 11-play, 87-yard drive. That was more total yards than the Rams had amassed the entire game up until that point.
The Rams' defense came up with another big stop and got the ball back. That set the stage for a second scoring drive as Trotwood-Madison marched 67 yards in five plays and scored on a 24-yard TD strike from Austin Howell to Demarcus Johnson. They failed to convert the two-point conversion again though, keeping the deficit at four points.
Trotwood-Madison couldn't come up with the onside kick, but did get the ball back one last time with less than a minute on the clock. It was not enough time for the Rams to mount another scoring drive though as the Irish survived.
Toledo Central Catholic held Trotwood-Madison to 3-of-12 on third-down conversions and sacked the Rams four times.
Isreal Green netted 56 yards on 14 carries and Michael McCray led the Rams' defense with 8.5 sacks (7 solo) to lead the Rams in the loss. Trotwood-Madison has lost in the state championship game in two of the last three years, but did win the title a year ago. The win gave the Irish their second-ever title in two state championship game appearances with their last one coming in 2005.