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December 2010

Canton McKinley rewind: ‘You go out and play the best’

Canton McKinley dropped a 64-51 decision at Dunbar Tuesday night. Assistant coach Dave Thompson subbed for head coach Greg Malone, who stayed home because of illness.

In Bulldogs coach Thompson’s words:

“(Coach Greg Malone) was sick and was under doctor’s orders to stay home. I didn’t get a chance to talk about that, nor would I share that. He gave me a long list of things that we had to do to get prepared to come, and that’s what I did.

“(When did you hear?) At about 11:28 (a.m.).

“We wanted to play Dayton Dunbar because they have a rich history of winning. You could see that spread all over their walls. We have that same rich history and we wanted to challenge ourselves against a state champion. That’s what happened.

“We’re going to learn from this and we’ll be better by playing better teams. Our coach has that philosophy. You go out and play the best, so when it’s tournament time, it’s not foreign to you.

“We believe defense wins championships, so that’s our emphasis.

“That’s state tournament basketball. When we went down there in our first trip with a very good group with Raymar Morgan was a sophomore, we played against Hamilton. What we learned from losing that game was, it’s physical when you get to the Final Four. We learned from that and were fortunate to respond to that and win back to back.

“It’s a three-and-half-hour bus ride (back to Canton). We have a good bus driver.”

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Dunbar coach Pete Pullen rewind: ‘That was a grinder’

Dunbar defeated visiting Canton McKinley 64-51 Tuesday night to improve its record to 7-1. It was the first time the programs had played since the 1987 Class AAA state championship game at UD Arena, which the Wolverines won, 70-65.

In Dunbar coach Pete Pullen’s words:

“We needed a game. We were supposed to play this game at Berlin Hiland. They wanted a doubleheader. McKinley really didn’t want to go to Berlin. I said, well, let’s play, but you’ve got to come to me first. He agreed to that, so I’ll take a senior bunch up to him next year.

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When Dunbar coach Pete Pullen (center) talks, everyone listens. Photo by Marc Pendleton

“And Benedictine, which would have been a great matchup. They were a little disappointed that McKinley just wanted to come down here. That’s how it started. We’re just going to try and keep it going between two great programs.

“That was a grinder for us. Especially when we were missing a little piece. Everybody had to step up. … Damarion Geter started in place of Akbar. … He showed a little toughness that he hadn’t been showing in the other games. I told him that he had to step up this game because we were missing a family member and he did a great job for us.

“This kind of game helps and it sends a message up to those people in the northeast, too. We’re still alive.

“Our kids have a heart that you just can’t measure. We’ll do some silly stuff to dig ourselves in a hole, but we always come through a majority of the time to get us out of the hole. It is frustrating as a coach.

“Keontae (Brown) shot a three right in front of me that we really didn’t need. I said, don’t shoot that shot, don’t shoot that shot. And he blamed me for missing it. I said, naw, you shouldn’t have shot that at all.”

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Dunbar’s Keontae Brown rewind: ‘We’re hungry’

Senior Keontae Brown scored a game-high 21 points as Dunbar beat visiting Canton McKinley 64-51 in a boys high school basketball game Tuesday night.

Brown took over in the fourth and game-deciding quarter, scoring 10 points. He was especially effective off an isolation play. Brown sets up at the free throw line, everyone backs away and Brown attacks the basket.

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Dunbar senior Keontae Brown tallied a game-high 21 points in a 64-51 defeat of visiting Canton McKinley on Tuesday night. Photo by Marc Pendleton

“He scored three on sone side, then we went to the other side and scored,” said Dunbar assistant coach Albert Powell.

In Brown’s words:

“We knew they had some height. We couldn’t let them go down low. We just had to bang with them.

“It was physical. We just had to keep our composure and keep our heads on the right track.

“That’s iso(lation). … It’s for me, but, really, it’s for anybody who can work it out.

“We’re hungry. We’re trying to get back to Columbus. I’m having a good time. I’m just happy to be out there on the floor.”

Dunbar is 7-1 and hosts Beavercreek on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

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Taylor Decker’s top 3: OSU, Notre Dame, UC

VANDALIA - Butler junior Taylor Decker is a 6-8, and 275 pound highly recruitable two-way lineman. And he was all set to pursue a childhood dream of playing football at Ohio State University.

Then Notre Dame came calling.

In his words:

“I realized that football has a lot higher roof for me to be successful (than basketball).

“The only school that has offered me is Cincinnati. Northwestern said they’ll offer once I visit. Some other schools who said that they’re interested are Ohio State, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Virginia, pretty much a lot of the Big Ten.

“I always grew up being an Ohio State fan, but some of the visits to Notre Dame have just been amazing. I visited Michigan … a lot of schools.

“My top three are Ohio State, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.”

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Jeff Kreill: ‘Lucky and fortunate’ to be Butler’s head coach

VANDALIA - Butler boys basketball coach Jeff Kreill took the long way to get where he’s at.

Standout guard at Beavercreek for one of the first really great Larry Holden teams, Kreill (‘85 grad) played with UD recruit Steve Pittman for the Beavers. Kreill spent the next season playing at Sinclair, then dropped out of school - the day after the season-ending banquet - for 10 years.

I know that long and winding road. Physically, you’re fit to play college ball. Mentally and emotionally, you’re light years away from handling the academic life.

Like Kreill, I also spent a long weekend in college, then dropped out for many years. I like to say I was on Wright State’s 16-year undergrad program. My only problem is I’m not kidding.

Anyway, all his players unashamedly gave Kreill a heartfelt nod for helping give the Aviators’ recent downtrodden hoop program new life. I liked what I heard. I think you will, too.

Jeff Kreill, in his words:

“Fortunately, (last year’s seniors) were willing to buy into to what we wanted to do and take a backseat to some other players. … Throw in AJ Pacher and you know we had a pretty good mix. It was a phenomenal first year at Butler.

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Key members of the Vandalia Butler H.S. boys basketball team are, front left: Sam Hershberger, Ryan Pugh, Chris Mayhill, Jake Greer, Taylor Decker and Taylore Cherry. At right is coach Jeff Kreill. Photo by Marc Pendleton

“We’ve got a goal, a direction. I still don’t think we’re one of the best teams in the area. We’re in that mix of some good teams, but we’ve got some growth to do to get where we want to be.”

On beating Tipp in double-OT in the season opener: “That set the tone. … Now we know that we can win against a good team. We hadn’t beat them in years. To get that monkey off our back was big.”

On junior Ryan Pugh, who swished the game-winning FT vs. Tipp with 0:00 left: “I’ve tried different things. How they’re shooting; their form. Now, I just don’t say anything to them. There’s nothing that I’m going to say to them that changes what they do. I don’t want to mess them up. Anything that I say just screws them up. At that time, they’re on their own; they’ll talk with their buddies; they’ll be OK.”

On pursuing a college degree and coaching: “Athletics is what got me back into … college and to get through college. You just learn so much through athletics. How to work hard, communication, relationships, how to get through adversity. All that stuff.

“Obviously, I’ve always had a passion for sports. Being in a position to have an opportunity to repay some of that and develop relationships with players and students and community members, that’s an honor. I’m lucky and fortunate to be here.”

On assistant Andy Holderman, who Kreill coaxed back into the program this season. Holderman, a dead-eye 3-point shooter at Wright State University, had quit coaching when he didn’t land the Butler head boys position:

“Andy Holderman is one of the best things to happen to us. He’s an X’s and O’s guy. I called and begged. … He can sit on the bench and see little tidbits here and there that I don’t see because I’m watching other things and he can make little adjustments. Those adjustments that he has made has been the difference of winning or losing those close games.”

On playing hoop at Sinclair: “I made it through one season. Played pretty well. I was an assist guy; defended well. But as soon as we had our banquet, I dropped out of school the next day. I couldn’t handle academics. I wasn’t ready for it. I worked construction for 10 years. It was a path to get here and I’m thankful that I made it.

“Went back to Sinclair and did two years there then finished at UD. I was lucky. My wife was working at the time and she said, you know, all you’ve done is dig ditches and build houses. Why don’t you do something else? So she let me quit my job - and I was making some good money - and we struggled for four-five years and it was well worth it. I’m a lucky guy, let me tell you.”

Butler beat Greenville 80-48 on Thursday, improving to 7-1. Next up is “very athletic teams in Xenia, Troy, Northmont, Trotwood and Cin. Aiken. In the past, we’ve struggled against very quick, athletic teams. I’m hoping that we can put the past behind us. If we win all those little battles and do the things that we want within the game, winning and losing will take care of itself.”

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Braxton Miller’s OSU status receives unexpected upgrade

Say goodbye to Terrelle Pryor and hello to Braxton Miller.

The Wayne High School product just received a major hike in his status as Pryor’s heir apparent as Ohio State University’s next starting quarterback on Thursday.

Miller could be in the lineup as soon as the Scarlet and Gray spring game, let alone next season’s opener vs. Akron.

Pryor returning for half his senior season next fall — he must sit out the first five games — would be a longer shot than Carson Palmer regaining whatever it was that he had. If Pryor doesn’t return, Miller misses out on a designated mentor for at least his freshman season.

But after Pryor’s incredible lack of off-field decision making, that may not be such a bad thing.

“That’s hard to think about,” said Miller on Wednesday after learning Pryor was among six Buckeyes to be hit with NCAA violations for “selling awards, gifts and university apparel and receiving improper benefits in 2009.”

“I wanted to learn from (Pryor) a little bit. Just step in and see what’s going on.

“I come in with a different mind set now.”

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Braxton Miller displays his pride - and Block “O” - and signing with OSU. Photo by Jan Underwood

Miller, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, closed out his senior season with the best two-month streak of his over hyped and until then unfulfilled career. That sizzling streak culminated with a 35-28 setback to unbeaten Lakewood St. Edward in the Division I state championship at Canton.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel was at Fawcett Stadium that night and saw an incredible performance by Miller. He probably likes what he witnessed even more, now.

Miller graduated early from Wayne last week and will begin classes at OSU on Jan. 3. He’ll participate in spring training, but now the spotlight will be even brighter on the nation’s consensus No. 1 QB recruit.

Pryor is eligible for the Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl vs. Arkansas at the Superdome, but his next game as a Buckeye would be Oct. 8, 2011 at Nebraska.

Even if Pryor returns to spring training, OSU must jump-start its efforts to secure a starting QB when next season starts. That would be awkward at best for players and coaches.

Joe Bauserman is currently listed as OSU’s No. 2 QB, but he’ll be a senior next fall. There are also sophomores-to-be Taylor Graham, Kenny Guiton and Justin Siems. Bauserman and Guiton have combined this season for 22 passes. Graham and Siems haven’t played.

Although the circumstances are unfortunate, Braxton Miller just received the all-time Christmas gift of his budding Buckeyes life.

“I’ve got to come in level headed and work hard,” Miller said.

“There’s a couple (other quarterbacks) there. I’ll just keep a level head because you never know what might happen.”

Pryor and the others reportedly traded signed OSU memorabilia for cash and other discounts, including personal tattoos. Miller has 10 tats, including a giant OSU “Block O” on an arm that he sat for his past summer.

“Cost me about $100,” he said. “That’s not too much.

“It took about an hour and a half to get all the details and things going on around it. … The only part it hurt on me was my chest. You get on that collar bone and it’s, woooo.”

That’s what many who saw him play this fall often bellowed. And now he’ll have a sooner-than-expected chance to woo over Buckeye Nation, too.

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Centerville’s Jacob Harris to Michael Bennett at Alamodome games

CENTERVILLE - Looks as if Michael Bennett will have some Centerville company in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl football all-star game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

QB Jacob Harris of Centerville has been named an Eastbay Youth All-American and also will play in the Sunday, Jan. 9 Youth All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. The Youth Bowl pits selected seventh and eighth graders in an all-star format.

The U.S. Army Bowl game is Saturday, Jan. 8. Bennett, a senior two-way lineman, has signed to play at Ohio State University.

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Tri-County North girls overcome injuries to key returners

LEWISBURG - Tri-County North’s girls basketball team has forged a 7-1 record the hard way, by overcoming injuries to key returning players.

• Junior guard Kinda Mullins (13 points last year with 44 treys), has played in just five games.

• Junior center Mallorie Ullery (6-2, 7 ppg and more than 120 blocks the last two seasons) has played in just four games.

• Senior Sara Bierly (8 ppg and a 3-year starter) has been limited to six games.

They were the team’s top three scorers last season.

TCN, 4-0 in the CCC, hosts Mississinawa Valley on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.

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Dunbar vs. Jefferson just another game?

DAYTON - Jefferson said all the right things after losing 72-63 at Dunbar in Tuesday’s boys non-league basketball game.

And so did Dunbar’s players and coaches.

But just another game? C’mon, man.

“It was just another regular game,” insisted Wolverines coach Pete Pullen after Dunbar improved to 6-1 with a clutch second-half defensive clampdown.

“Just another game. We’ve got plenty to play.”

That’s a given, but this was the game that both teams were looking forward to since last season, when the Broncos hung a stunning 74-72 loss on the Wolverines. Dunbar wouldn’t lose again and won the state Division II title, it’s third in five years.

And Jefferson was just as good, snapping a two-game losing skid and also winning out, including the D-IV state championship.

Just another game?

“It was fun,” Jefferson coach Art Winston said. “We look at it like it was a test.

“We knew it was going to be an emotional, physical good game. They didn’t have no give in them and we didn’t have no give in us. We got to gauge where we’re at.”

There’s no doubting where Dunbar’s Deontae Hawkins and Joby Jackson of Jefferson are at: On top of their games.

Hawkins, the highly sought-after 6-7 junior forward with the silky smooth shooting touch, put a career-high 32 points on the Broncos. He also made shooting life miserable for Bronco muscleman Cody Latimer, blocking at least three of his shots, altering as many more and being the main reason why he scored just one field goal.

“It feels good to have 32 (points) because we had to get them back for last year,” said Hawkins.

Dunbar never did solve Jackson, who was good for 24 points. Juan Gay added 16 points.

Toss in another great floor game by Dwight Johnson and “to me, they’re three of the best players in the state in any division,” Winston gushed. “They’re really going to take off.”

Jefferson is independent this season, meaning there is only the postseason - and a defending state title - to shoot for.

“We’re playing for something at the end,” Winston said. “We’re not in the City League. Playing Dunbar is a treat.

“It’s like Louisville back when Denny Crum would play all the tough teams and what Tom Izzo is doing right now at Michigan State. We’re trying to prepare our kids for the tournament and we’re getting there.”

Javior Rice added 18 points for Dunbar and Keontae Brown 12.

Dunbar is off until next Saturday when state D-I power Canton McKinley visits. Jefferson (4-1) off until Jan. 4 against Ponitz Tech.

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Alter’s Thuney chooses ACC school over other BCS offers

Joe Thuney, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound lineman from Alter High School, has pledged to play in college at North Carolina State.

A senior, Thuney joined the defense this season for two-way duty as Alter went 11-3 and advanced to the Division IV state semifinals after winning the previous two state titles. Thuney said he visited N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C., a few weeks ago and also considered West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt.

“You could see the passion the staff has for individual players on and off the field,” said Thuney, also Alter’s basketball center. “It’s a good fit for me.”

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Joe Thuney

Thuney said the N.C. State coaches told him they’re open to him playing either offensive or defensive line.

“They said whichever works best when I get down there,” he said.

Thuney became the second Greater Catholic League North Division lineman to commit to N.C. State in the past two seasons. Andy Jomantas, a 6-7, 260-pound Chaminade Julienne product, is a freshman there this season.

“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Thuney said of finishing the recruiting process. “It’s right before the holidays and Christmas, so I can enjoy that with my family. The whole process is stressful, so it was time to make a final decision.”

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A stirring tribute to Randy Waggoner: We should all be so lucky

DAYTON - A celebration of Randy Waggoner’s life and especially his impact on Dayton track and field was held at St. Luke Baptist Church on Monday, Dec. 20.

The “Big R” stories flew as well as quite a few tears.

It was a fitting memorial tribute to Randy Eugene Waggoner, Sr., who died last Monday, Dec. 13 from complications of heart failure. He was 66.

Many longtime Waggoner associates spoke, including Donica Merriman, Tamra Allen, Larry Lee, Frank Russo, Robert Lynch, Ivory Kennedy, Thomas Webb, Jim Ladd, Terry Logan, Laron Brown, Will Henry, Zach Logan and Mark Screven.

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Longtime track and field associate Jim Ehler (left), former Roosevelt H.S. T&F coach Floyd “Dude” Norman and former Roosevelt teammate Jack Jackson were among those who paid tribute to Randy Waggoner at St. Luke Baptist Church on Dec. 20, 2010. Photo by Marc Pendleton

The Rev. Chester Ricks offered a stirring eulogy and the Ditto Family singers worked up an appreciative crowd.

Among the highlights:

• His best sprinter, Chris Nelloms, wrote a letter that was read by Screven, a longtime assistant to Waggoner.

• Lynch is the Detroit Mumford T&F coach and in many ways has matched Waggoner’s success in Michigan, including multiple state team titles. Mumford is a regular in Waggoner’s pet event, the Don Mitchell Roosevelt Memorial Relays.

“He called us the Detroit Connection,” said Lynch.

• Webb, a former principle at Roosevelt and Roth and co-worker at Chrysler, told how initially Waggoner was called “R,” because he was skinny as a stick.

“The Big R came later,” said Webb.

Webb finished with a heartfelt memorized reading of “The Man in the Glass,” a poem by an unknown author about reflecting on one’s life.

“Randy is one who never cheated the man in the glass,” Webb concluded.

• One by one, each previously mentioned friend paid loving tributes, from rival coaches like Russo (Cincinnati La Salle) to Brown, the Roth sensation who repeatedly insisted that Waggoner was a father figure, and Brown a dutiful son.

Zach Logan, another Waggoner-produced state champion 400 runner, promised that Trotwood-Madison would win a boys state title for their fallen coach this spring.

Will Henry, like Logan a state 400 champ and 2010 Trotwood grad, was so moved that he could barely get through a prepared speech. Screven also labored at the lectern. Plenty more eyes were moist by the time those two finished.

Screven told how Waggoner once pulled up to a cemetery with a carload of runners after a less than spectacular effort. Screven said he finally broke the silence, and asked Waggoner why they were there.

“I’m trying to figure out how much dead weight I want to leave here,” he quoted Waggoner as saying.

The crowd howled in acknowledging another “Randyism.”

‘I got a job for you, kid’

Lee was a champion shot put and discus thrower for Waggoner at Roosevelt, then Roth. He played college football at UCLA and following an NFL career was vice president of the Detroit Lions.

“As a young, big ol’ fat kid, Randy pulled me to the side and said, man, I’m going to make something out of you,” Lee said.

“He told me, I’m going to give you a job that’ll last until your senior year. I want 20 points out of you every track meet: Ten in the shot put and 10 in the discus.

“There was one time up in Bellaire that I didn’t give Randy his points. … I didn’t even make the finals. … And Randy let me have it. … The shot put area was up on a hill. He said, why don’t you get back up there and throw DOWN the hill.

“Later, I played quite a few years in the NFL and a Super Bowl. And whenever I would come home, Randy would remind me about not placing at Bellaire. That was Randy.”

Lee was like many athletes through the years and seasons who were internally touched by Waggoner. For those who Waggoner helped groom, school didn’t start until stepping on the oval.

“You know that old African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child? Well, we had a great village that raised a lot of children, especially when it came to athletics,” Lee said. “And one of the biggest chiefs in the village was Randy Waggoner.”

In the beginning

One of the first - and lasting - impressions on Waggoner was his high school coach at Roosevelt, Floyd “Dude” Norman. He’ll soon be 89, and fondly spoke of his former athlete and budding coach at the church.

The Teddies won the 1961 boys state T&F title, and Waggoner, a junior on that team, was hooked on track for good.

“I’ll never forget his total dedication to track,” Norman said.

“Anytime I talked to Randy, he would say, coach, I want to be just like you. I want to be a coach. I said, good Randy, let’s make you my assistant/student coach, and it all started there.

“The relationship with Don Mitchell, my assistant, he was very instrumental in the success of the track teams at Roosevelt High School. I would sit in awe and amazement at how much dedication that a gentleman like Don Mitchell gave to the game. And it all rubbed off on Randy Waggoner.

“There was nothing but love between Randy and I.”

In the end

There was a recurring theme among everyone who spoke: That Randy Waggoner made a difference in the lives of many.

We should all be so lucky to have done so.

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Bennett a finalist for the Anthony Munoz Lineman of the Year award

Centerville H.S. two-way standout Michael Bennett is among six finalists for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Anthony Munoz Lineman of the Year award.

Bennett will play in the all-star football game on Saturday, Jan. 8 at the San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome.

Bennett signed to play with Ohio State University next season.

Joining Bennett as other finalists are:

• Ray Drew, DL, Thomas County Centeral H.S., Thomasville, Ga.

• Matthew Hegarty, OL, Aztec H.S., Aztec, N.M.

• Sedrick Flowers, OL, North Shore H.S., Galena Park, Texas.

• Tim Jernigan, DL, Columbia H.S., Lake City, Fla.

• Stephon Tuitt, DL, Monroe Area H.S., Monroe, Ga.

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Fairborn at Fairmont start time moved back to accommodate title game

When it comes to girls high school basketball or a BCS National Championship Game, well, it’s no contest.

That’s why the start time of the Monday, Jan. 10 showdown between visiting Fairborn and host Fairmont at Trent Arena has been moved back to 6:30 p.m. (reserves at 5 p.m.).

Fairborn (5-0) is the area’s top-ranked Division I team. Its closest margin of victory is 17 points. The Skyhawks will host CJ (5-1) at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Fairmont (8-0) is off until Wed., Jan. 5 when Centerville visits.

The national championship will feature No. 1 Auburn (13-0) vs. No. 2 Oregon (12-0) at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

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Memorial service for Randy Waggoner on Monday

A memorial service for longtime area high school track and field coach Randy Waggoner will be held at 1 p.m. today at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 2262 N. Gettysburg Ave., Dayton.

Waggoner was the head boys coach at Roosevelt, Roth, Dunbar and most recently Trotwood-Madison.

He died last week at Good Samaritan Hospital from heart failure complications. He was 66.

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Trice scores 44 points to lead Warriors

HUBER HEIGHTS — Senior guard Travis Trice scored 44 points in leading Wayne to a 98-83 victory over visiting Toledo Rogers in a boys high school basketball game Saturday night.

Trice, headed to Michigan State University next season, hit 13 of 23 shots and was 2 for 7 in 3-pointers. He also had seven steals and four assists.

Markus Crider added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Isiah Boddie 11 points for Wayne (4-0), the area’s top-ranked Division I team.

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Meadowdale coach Felix Turner and senior Richard Weaver rewind

The following is an interview with Meadowdale H.S. boys basketball coach Felix Turner and senior Richard Weaver for the story “Second unit sizzles for Cougars and Lions fall.”

Turner: “That was an excellent team. The kids fought hard. They know each other well and it’s a City League rival. They got the better of us tonight.

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Meadowdale’s Richard Weaver (23) scored a game-high 21 points but the Lions dropped their first game in their new gym opener to a capacity crowd, 62-55 to Marshall. Photo by Teesha McClam

“It’s a long race ahead of us. It’s only the first blow. I believe the team who wins the City this year will have two losses. We dug a hole, but we’re still in contention.”

On Weaver: “He’s an excellent person. He’s probably a better person than he is a player. He’s our go-to guy.

“We still hope to do something special this year. This is one game out of 20. There’s a lot of basketball to be played.”

Weaver: “We got lazy on defense at the end. They just came with it.

“It’s hard to lose the first home game at a new school in your gym. It hurts. We won’t get lazy on defense next time.”

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Marshall’s Jordan Watson rewind

The following is an interview with Marshall H.S. senior boys basketball player Jordan Watson for the story “Second unit sizzles for Cougars and Lions fall.”

“At first, I was frustrated a lot. I was like, why am I not starting? Then (coach Darnell Hoskins) just told us all to come off the bench with big energy and get the job done.

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Marshall senior guard Jordan Watson (left) fulfilled a winning role as the Cougars handed Meadowdale its first loss, 62-55. Photo by Jim Noelker

“He wanted me to step up more and be more of a leader vocally and just lead the whole team.

“This says we’re a great team. You have to look out for us because we’re coming.

“Everything’s brand new except me. I’m the only one. We just have to get our chemistry throughout the season and do it all together.

“We couldn’t put our heads down. That was the part that coach was telling me to step up. We got down on defense and got a couple of stops and our offense started to click.”

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Marshall coach Darnell Hoskins rewind

The following is an interview with Marshall H.S. boys basketball coach Darnell Hoskins for the story “Second unit sizzles for Cougars and Lions fall.”

“I wore me out.

“I don’t look at is as second and first units. All my kids are taught the same thing, so any one of them at any point in the game I feel confident in putting them in positions to be successful. We put a group of guys together that had good continuity and a good chemistry together, so I wanted to stick with it and it proved to be fruitful.

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New Marshall coach Darnell Hoskins spent two seasons coaching at Springfield before joining the Cougars. Photo by Bryant Billing

“We can defend longer than most teams can. Our ability to keep that amount on pressure on the ball helps us. Teams get physically tired late in the game and we’re well conditioned for that.”

4th Q: “I’m extremely proud of our guys showing that much resilience. It’s easy to whimper out when things aren’t going right. We got hit with a bit of adversity when we got about 10 down. We’ve been preaching mental toughness the entire time since we left Michigan and I’m extremely proud of the way our kids responded. They found a way to get a win on the road in a hostile environment.”

On Jordan Watson: “That’s what you look for in senior leadership. I was just waiting for that light bulb to pop on for him. What a way to respond in a way that a senior leader should. He did it; he carried us. I told him in the fall, when we were conditioning, we were conditioning for these types of moments from him. I think he’s just now taking what I’m saying and decipher the negative out of it, grab the positive and say, OK, now I need to get out here and execute this.”

On City League rivals Dunbar, Marshall and Meadowdale: “It’s great basketball. I don’t think it gets any better in any city in the country than those three. We’re extremely competitive. They’re more veteran teams than we are. That’s what makes this one a little more gratifying. The response that we got tonight was the one that we were looking for.

“Unequivocally, this is exactly why I came back, for these type of moments. I thrived as a player in these moments. I love coaching in these type of moments. I love to see kids respond and be successful in these moments. It makes all this worthwhile.”

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Hoskins and Pittman, back together again at Marshall

DAYTON - Darnell Hoskins was in perpetual in-your-face, fist-pumping, stop-me-if-you-can motion when he starred at CJ and later the University of Dayton.

And he brings those same qualities to the sideline as the first-year head coach of the Marshall H.S. boys basketball team.

Hoskins was in constant motion up and down in front of the Cougars’ bench during Friday’s 62-55 comeback victory at Meadowdale. Decked out in a three-piece suit and tie for the sizzling City League matchup, the coat was gone midway through the first quarter.

So were all the starters. The Cougars received 20 points from senior Jordan Watson and their subs tallied all but five points.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys showing that much resilience,” Hoskins said.

“It’s easy to whimper out when things aren’t going right. We got hit with a bit of adversity when we got about 10 down. We’ve been preaching mental toughness the entire time since we left Michigan (and a loss to big-school state favorite Romulus) and I’m extremely proud of the way our kids responded. They found a way to get a win on the road in a hostile environment.”

It was the first loss for Meadowdale (4-1). Marshall improved to 3-2, its other loss to Dunbar.

Hoskins lured former Springfield assistant Steve Pittman with him to Marshall. Like Hoskins, Pittman also played at UD and has been coaching AAU and high school hoop for 21 years.

“I knew I was going to be a coach when I was in college because of coach (Don) Donoher,” Pittman said. “He always told us to find a way to give back. It’s very good I think for the community when the players come back and want to coach.

“When (Hoskins) took the job at Springfield, he called me and asked what was I going to do. I said I don’t know. I went up and talked to him. Before I left the building I told him, yeah, I was staying.

“When he came here he was kind of in limbo because he didn’t know if I was going to go after the Springfield job or come and work with him. I think we work well together because we have the same vision. Defense is our benchmark. We start a practice with defense and we end it with defense. I’ve never been around anyone who’s been this driven. You have to be at practice with us. Between he and I, it’s a pretty intense practice.

“I’m 43 and I’m loving every minute of it. I feel like I’m 19 or 20.”

Pittman’s son, Malcolm, is a key player at unbeaten Wayne, the area’s top-ranked D-I team.

“Last year being in the GWOC, I was able to see him twice when we played them,” Steve Pittman said. “Also a lot of their Saturday games.

“They have four guys that came out of our D-I Greyhounds program. It’s the same program that produced Billy Walker and O.J. Mayo. The group that’s there now: Isiah Boddie, Travis Trice Jr., Braxton Miller, my son Malcolm, Markus Crider, those guys came out of that program.”

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William Henry rewind

The following is an interview with Arizona State University freshman track and field athlete and Trotwood-Madison H.S. grad William Henry for the story “Waggoner left lasting impact as a mentor.”

Out of all the influences that have affected me, about track and life in general, he’s definitely one of the top ones.

Coming in from middle school it was definitely, hey, I want to run for this guy. I knew about him. I didn’t know about his personality, but once I got to high school we just clicked. He was really like my other half. He’s probably one of the greatest coaches that I’ll ever have, no question. He would do anything for you as long as you would give him your all. That’s why I didn’t have any problems running anything for him because he cared so much for all of his runners.

I remember when we first started practicing, I’d see him and wonder what he really thinks of me. He just laid it out (state championship) and it kind of went over my head because I had no clue how highly he thought of us. When I got to high school, from Day 1, I wanted to prove to him that I really wanted to succeed.

There was nothing better than seeing his face after you did something. You could tell, he would be so happy. That just made me happy, doing well for him. That’s all I ever wanted to do.

He had an eye for it. I would never question his thought process. Sometimes he’d tell me, hey, I’m looking at this guy, I think I’m going to make him a 400 runner. I’d be like, OK, even if I didn’t really see where he was coming from.

I just can’t explain it. The effect he had on people when he was coaching you, you just wanted to overachieve. You want to do so much more to make him proud. He’s not necessarily the kind of person who would, hey, you did a great job. He would just give you that smile. That’s all anybody every wanted to do, was just please him because he put so much into it.

Nobody questioned it. I liked it. He was old fashioned. He thought the only way you’ll get faster is just running. There wasn’t much science about it for him. You just worked hard, and hard work pays off. That was the brilliance of it. He had so much respect from the runners and everybody just did what he said.

The effect he has on people is mind blowing. Even people that didn’t run for him, he had an effect on everyone. He had so much wisdom. He had times that he would act silly and could joke around with us, but the main key was giving him respect. He demanded it.

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Ted Ginn Sr. rewind

The following is an interview with Cleveland Glenville H.S. football and track coach Ted Ginn Sr. for the story “Waggoner left lasting impact as a mentor.”

Me and Randy grew together over the years. We competed in track and field, but we talked about everything. We were like old-school guys. If Randy said I’m not going to this meet, then I’m not going if Randy don’t go.

This is huge. It’s like losing your brother. We had that type of relationship.

Working in this business of helping young people and you lose a soldier like that, it hits below the belt because there’s not many people in the world like that who are fighting for children. It was a general concern for the outcome of young people. When you’re in a business like that, and I’m in the business, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

I know that God don’t make mistakes, but this is tough.

He always looked out for me. He was in the game long before me. It’s not going to be the same.

Our teams loved each other. We loved the competition. But more importantly, I loved Randy like my elder. It makes it hard for everybody else, because everybody don’t think that way. Whatever Randy and I thought, we stuck with it, and that’s the way it was going to be.

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Jordan Paschal rewind

The following is an interview with the University of Louisville redshirt freshman football player and Trotwood-Madison H.S. grad Jordan Paschal for the story “Waggoner left lasting impact as a mentor.”

I talked to Coach Wag on Friday. I took it so hard. Me and coach Wag were so close.

I met coach Wags in my 8th grade year. He was the type where he was coaching the varsity, but he called me and William Henry over and how he wanted us to help win a state champ. At Trotwood. Not just individual titles but team titles. Last yr. runner-up I was really disappointed because I know how much coach Wags wanted it. For us to break that record again, because he didn’t think we could do it …

It’s hard to think of Trotwood track to continue without coach Waggoner.

You would look in his eyes and tell he didn’t feel good. He would put a smile on your face. I learned coach Wags so well over the years. He was one of my best friends.

He called me Big Pach. I called him Big R. He said I’m not doing so well. They can’t find out what’s wrong with me. Keep running tests. … I said don’t make me come back home.

Heart rejected the treatment.

I feel privileged to be coached by coach Wags. I rarely say the word legend, but he’s truly a legend. I’ve got a lot of memories. The good times that we had. … nationals at N.C. … he loved track. Once we started to sway on the road and I said, coach R, what are you doing? He said, “I’m thinking about how we’re going to win this track meet.” I said, we’ve got to get there first, then we can win it.” He was that kind of guy.

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Richard “TuTu” Brown rewind

The following is an interview with Dunbar H.S. freshman basketball coach and former Wolverines great Richard “TuTu” Brown for the stories “Prep career blooms late” and “Brown takes his last shot with Wolverines tradition.”

He’s making progress and making a change in his behavior. I feel that it made me stronger just dealing with him. He was dealing with me being in his life and trying to give him the right direction.

That’s one of the things I always told him. Despite what you’ve done, I’m still in your life, I still love you and I just want you to succeed in your life.

My father wasn’t in my life like I wanted it to be and I got through some rocky things and used some avenues to get through school and take some heartache off my mother and get to college. Those are some of the things that I preach to him; make it easier on yourself by planting those seeds that you’ll see at the end. I think he’s seeing that now.

The last couple of years, he’s been around it but never involved in it. Now, he has an opportunity to be a part of it and hopefully be one of the guys who can be part of the tradition that we have here. I want him to have the opportunity to have that feeling.

It was a big thing for me, already being a part of the tradition here. Now, he has a chance to build his own tradition and be a part of it. That’s why I got upset with some of his actions. Opportunities are limited. This is his chance for it to happen for him.

The last couple times that we were (at state) he got to be a part of it, but last year he could have had an impact with that team. It did hurt him a bit because I know he could have been a big part of that success.

He’s coming along. It’s different than watching or seeing or hearing. When you get out there it’s a totally different situation and I think that he’s learning that.

Vs. Huron: That was a confidence builder. I know he thought, I’ve got to play against those guys from out of state to show that I can play. He showed that he has that player mentality. That’s another aspect of him growing and helping our team be successful. Hopefully, he’ll have it all in place by March and he can help us bring back another ring and state championship.

Sometimes in drills, I still show them that I can still shoot.

Pullen wanted me to be part of the staff. 2004 started.

Being able to be an alumnus here and former player here, it’s a great feeling to help continue to bring our tradition and make it better for us. I always preach to the young guys that you’ve got to make a tradition for yourselves and be a legacy like some of those on the wall.

They don’t really know. They think I can’t play. They think I make up stuff. I’ll show them my jersey and they’ll say, how’d you do that? The younger generations don’t really know. History and tradition is big here. We’ve got a lot of people who come around to speak about tradition and let them know, you don’t really know who’s coaching you, do you?

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Keontae Brown rewind

The following is an interview with Dunbar H.S. senior basketball player Keontae Brown for the stories “Prep career blooms late” and “Brown takes his last shot with Wolverines tradition.”

My head is focused on just getting out of Dayton. Coach Renaldo (O’Neal) always reminds me of that.

People look at me different now. I know of plenty of people who did stuff, but they didn’t get noticed like that because they’re not playing sports or doing the stuff that I’m doing with this school now.

People hear one thing and that’s what they judge me by, but it’s not really like that. I just made a bad choice.

It was a wake up call. It really was. It gave me some time just to sit down and think about my life and the bigger picture. I was doing stuff to impress other people who didn’t really care about my well being. I was hurting my family and my teammates not being there my sophomore year. We had a chance to go far and couldn’t because I wasn’t there.

I came to a lot of the games. Knowing that I should have been out there, I was disappointed in myself. It hurt because I was supposed to be out there doing the same thing that they’re doing, winning (state).

I know what to do now so I won’t have to go down that path so I won’t be watching from the sideline.

My mindset now is entirely different. I don’t even think the same way that I used to. I tell everybody on the team, I can’t settle for nothing less than a state ring. That’s my mindset.

We really don’t have our chemistry together yet, but the last four games we’ve really started to work better as a team. I don’t care who we play, I’m going to play my game regardless and do what we have to do to get us a victory.

People will say, ‘Are you TuTu,?’ I’ll say, ‘No, I’m Keontae.’ Most people don’t even know that my dad is TuTu. When I was younger, I used to use that to get out of trouble. It was like I could get away with stuff just because of who my dad was. I can’t do that now.

I know that he had his jersey retired and all that. When I was getting in trouble, I was embarrassing his name. I just thought, I can’t keep doing this.

Through everything, my dad has always been the one there for me. He never left me. He was always that one person who was always there that I could count on.

My GPA is 3.5 … Grades have never been a problem for me. It’s been my actions. I’ve just got to stay mentally focused.

Childhood friends: Gary Akbar, Roger Williamson, Deontae Hawkins … RJ and Hawkins are cousins. … also Shawn Fleming.

Gary and I would talk every night and tell me just to stay focused. RJ is like a mentor to me. He keeps it real for me. … They mean a lot to me; they’re all like brothers to me.

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What they’re saying about the Good Sam Flyin’ to the Hoop holiday hoopfest

DAYTON - Seen & overheard at Wednesday’s press conference at Good Samaritan Hospital North to announce the hospital’s five-year contract as the title sponsor of Flyin’ to the Hoop:

From Eric Horstman, Flyin’ founder

“We decided that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this first class or not at all. (Good Sam) has been with us since year one.

“We’re ranked among top 10 national events by CBS Sports and MaxPreps. … We take a lot of pride in that. Really, we don’t know how they do the rankings. It’s not like we submit anything to figure it out.

“When we try to do Dayton vs. the nation or Southwest Ohio vs. the nation, it gives our local teams a chance to play on a stage that they might not ever get to play on and see how they stack up against national powerhouses.

“The Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau did economic impact study and found that this event drives about $1.6 million into the local economy in the middle of January.

About the move from Vandalia Butler’s Student Activities Center to Fairmont’s Trent Arena:

“Trent was more centrally located. Having it more centrally located for Dayton has brought out a lot more of the south Dayton fans.

“I’m glad I did it and in retrospect, who knows where we’re going to be going to next. The next two biggest venues are the University of Dayton Arena and the Nutter Center.

Horstman also is the founder of Sports Image, which supports fundraisers and event management for high schools throughout the nation. SI awarded 10 franchises throughout the country last year.

“I have two engineering degrees,” he said. “What the heck do I do with those now? I thought, I don’t want to be doing this in five years. That’s when I got into sports managing.”

Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau president Jackie Powell:

“This event is big business for our community in January.”

An economic impact study done last year by the bureau estimated that the 3-day boys basketball event pours in $1,6 million into the local economy through “spending, hotels, restaurants, retail, gas and tickets.”

Good Sam Dr. Ed Klosterman:

“The first encounter I had with this event was Rudy Gay. I ran into him at LaGuardia Airport last year. The cool thing is he knew me and I didn’t recognize him. The guy at the TSA booth was excited to know who I was because he wanted to know how did Rudy Gay know me?”

Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) is one of 13 current NBA players to have participated in Flyin’ to the Hoop.

Anita Adams: VP of Operations at Good Sam:

“This event matches up very well with what we like to do at Good Samaritan Hospital, which is quality health care and to support our mission of building health care communities. Providing support to this local event was a no-brainer.”

Wayne coach Travis Trice:

“It’s given us that format to go out and express what Dayton as a community and city has and we’ve fared quite well. Dunbar, Trotwood, Marshall, CJ have fared very well in the tournament.”

The Warriors will play Chicago Witney Young in the 19th and final game on Monday, Jan. 17.

Meadowdale coach Felix Turner:

“We’re looking forward to the challenge and hope to fare pretty well.”

The Lions will play Perspectives Charter (Ill.), which has the nation’s No. 1 ranked player in 6-9 UK signee Anthony Davis.

Marshall coach Darnell Hoskins:

“We’re really young. We’ve got a bunch of Similac (Formula) on the team. But I’m excited for the opportunity for my babies to grow on a national stage. … We plan on making the Dayton area very proud of us.”

The cougars will play Miller Grove (Ga.) on Monday, Jan. 17. Grove is ranked No. 3 nationally.

ESPN Grassroots basketball contributor John Stovall on Anthony Davis:

“He’s the best NBA prospect in high school. If I were going to compare him to anyone it would be Kevin Garnett, but he’s a little bit more skilled than that. … played for AAU Mean Streets.

Stovall is a major advisor to Horstman about individuals and teams the commit to the event. He also is the owner of Prep Spotlight magazine.

Good Samaritan Flyin’ to the Hoop

When: Jan 15-17

Where: Fairmont’s Trent Arena

Games: 19; 7 on Saturday and 6 each on Sunday and Monday

Cost: 3-day pass, reserved seat, $60; general admission $30; Each day $12 general admission, $22 reserved (all games)

Call: (937) 704-9670, Ext. 130, or (888) 207-9820

Saturday, Jan. 15

10:15 a.m.: Troy vs. Lee (Ala.)

Noon: Chillicothe vs.Springfield

1:45 p.m.: Alter vs. Our Savior New American (N.Y.)

3:30 p.m.: Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Cincinnati Withrow

5:15 p.m.: Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) vs. Cincinnati Taft

7 p.m.: Perspectives Charter School (Ill.) vs. Meadowdale

8:30 p.m.: Garfield Heights vs. Trotwood-Madison

Sunday, Jan. 16

11:30 a.m.: Dublin Coffman vs. Our Savior New American (N.Y.)

1:15 p.m.: Cleveland Heights vs. Fairmont

3 p.m.: Cincinnati Aiken vs. Vandalia Butler

4:45 p.m.: Christian Faith Academy (N.C.) vs. Centerville

6:30 p.m.: Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

8:15 p.m.: Simeon (Ill.) vs. Dunbar

Monday, Jan. 17

11:30 a.m.: Lakota East vs. Lee (Ala.)

1:15 p.m.: Roger Bacon vs. Bowling Green

3 p.m.: Wheeler (Ga.) vs. Northmont

4:45 p.m.: Miller Grove (Ga.) vs. Thurgood Marshall

6:30 p.m.: Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) vs. Westerville South

8:15 p.m.: Whitney Young (Ill.) vs. Wayne

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Tribute to Randy Waggoner: Under pressure, Jordan steps up

The following is a story that I wrote about Trotwood-Madison High School boys track and field coach Randy Waggoner and the Rams on June 7, 2009. Coach Waggoner died on Monday, Dec. 13 at Good Samaritan Hospital of complications from heart failure. He was 66.

Under pressure, Jordan steps up

COLUMBUS - Michael Jordan of Trotwood-Madison has a big title to live up to: All-time state 1,600-meter relay record holder.

The talented sophomore was a budding hurdler this spring and filled in as needed throughout the Rams’ lineup. But that all changed at this weekend’s state track and field meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Stadium when coach Randy Waggoner lumped him in the T-M’s signature race.

Gulp.

“(Waggoner) mentioned a couple things to me, but I didn’t think he was really going to put me on it,” Jordan said.

“I was in shock. I hadn’t really run a 400 before but early in the year.”

It was vintage Waggoner. The crafty coaching veteran with the unruly beard had a hunch that Jordan would fit well with Julius Ruby, Jordan Paschel and William Henry. He was right: T-M blasted a 3:13.32 that eclipsed their own record of 3:13.46 set last year in this same race.

Ruby led off (48.37), followed by Paschel (48.25), Jordan (48.47) and the hammer Henry (47.72). The outcome was decided before the last handoff.

“He’s an amazing coach,” Henry said.

“Every year we get people who you wouldn’t think could run a 400, but he turns them into great quarter milers and we always end up with a great team.”

Jordan’s unexpected call mirrored Paschel’s late addition last year when Michael Shaw was declared ineligible during the postseason.

“I’ve been telling Michael all year that he was the heart to run any race,” Paschel said.

“He has a go-getter heart. He was in the same position I was in last year. I’m just so proud of him.”

Waggoner didn’t have the heart to blow off Henry’s suggestion that the Rams could reset the record.

“Henry said coach, we’re going for the record. I was thinking, how are you going to go for the record in the mile relay? That team last year had a 47 leadoff and a couple 46’s. Ain’t no way.

“I said it to myself. I wouldn’t tell him that. And then they come out here and do this.”

That helped work out the kinks of slipping to fifth in the Division I team race. It’s the third straight D-I 1,600 relay title for the Rams, and barring disaster, that streak should be extended.

Optimism reigns with T-M boys track. Trotwood loses just two seniors and everyone on every relay returns, including Henry. And as usual, everything will hinge on the final event.

“This race is what I live and die with,” Waggoner said.

“Just don’t lose that mile relay, man. That’s one thing I will go off on.”

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Waggoner tough to beat when it mattered most

Watching the Teddies of Roosevelt High School perform took my track and field interest to a new level.

The Teddies were decked in satin warm-ups and “DAYTON” embroidered across their chests. They entered Welcome Stadium one at a time and jogged around the well-packed cinder track.

It was a warm-up statement to a standard capacity home-side crowd and that day’s competition that the headliners were on stage. It was an awesome sight.

That, and plenty of follow up record-setting performances, was the handiwork of then Roosevelt assistant coach Randy Waggoner, who died on Monday of heart failure.

Waggoner and the Teddies visited my high school, Beavercreek, in the spring of 1970. It was an ongoing effort by the two schools to bridge the racial divide that permeated here and elsewhere during that era. Just like at the stadium, I liked their show.

Waggoner easily mixed with both teams in essentially what was a practice dual meet for younger runners. He coaxed his best 400 sprinter into running a dreaded mile, the payoff being dinner. Waggoner’s only condition was the runner had to be in last place with one lap remaining, and he had to win the race.

It was infectious watching Waggoner and the Teddies goad and cheer the super sprinter on, especially after we got wind of what was happening. The chosen Teddie blew by me and a dozen more runners, made up about a half lap and easily won.

It was a great day to be a part of track and field and the more important issue that the schools were trying to address. Thanks, Coach Waggoner. You were the right person at the right time.

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Tribute to Randy Waggoner: T-M coach’s list of champs grows

The following is a story that I wrote about Trotwood-Madison High School boys track and field coach Randy Waggoner on June 8, 2008. Coach Waggoner died on Monday, Dec. 13 at Good Samaritan Hospital of complications from heart failure. He was 66.

T-M coach’s list of champs grows

COLUMBUS - In his greatest moment in a career of great moments, Randy Waggoner was a sniffling mess.

“This means you’re doing something right,” said Waggoner as he blinked away tears long after the 101st boys state track and field championships had ended Saturday, June 8, at Jesse Owens Memorial stadium.

Waggoner is an assistant boys track coach at Trotwood-Madison High School. But he’s spent nearly 40 years in the area schooling many of the area’s best all-time sprinters from Roosevelt, Roth, Dunbar and Trotwood.

Many of those names and great relays are a blur to him now. But the best of his best put their fleet feet forward in the final event Saturday when Derricus Purdy, Donte Lyons, Jordon Paschal and William Henry set an all-time Ohio 1,600-meter relay record of 3 minutes, 13.46 seconds.

“I specialize in this. I love the mile relay,” Waggoner said.

“I’ve won more of them than you can think of. I’ve won three or four team titles several times. But this team here, every time I asked them to do something, they would do it.”

Purdy, a senior, was asked to ignite the Rams, shifting from his usual second leg to leadoff. He had been running well of late, and Waggoner sensed if T-M were to make a record run, it would start with the hammer who insists on being call “Tennessee” in honor of his beloved hometown of Jackson.

Purdy played follow the leader and launched a 48.06 missile that decisively decided the race with three legs remaining.

“This is a man’s race,” said Purdy, unknowingly testifying to what so many of Waggoner’s alums also embraced. “It’s all heart. It ain’t about legs; it ain’t about arms; it ain’t about heads. It’s all about heart. Nothing but heart and guts.

“I just feel privileged to be the leader of it. It’s really up to me to put it out there, and that’s what I got to do. I just ran my heart out.”

Lyons (47.85), Paschal (49.87) and Henry (47.62) dutifully followed. For now, they’re the greatest foursome ever to have covered that relay distance.

And they’ll hope to go even lower when Trotwood tries to defend its national 1,600 relay title at the Nike Outdoor National Championships at Greensboro, N.C., next week.

But others aren’t far behind.

Placing second and pushing the Rams all season was the Dunbar foursome of senior Aaron Bibbs, junior Thuron Ham, senior William Oliver and freshman anchor Antonio Blanks (3:14.94).

Henry and Paschal are both sophomores, Lyons and Purdy seniors. That means half of those two sizzling relays should return, faster than ever.

All gushed about their budding rivalry afterward. Pity poor Dunbar. The Wolverines would have won every state 1,600 relay with that effort except for three years.

John McKinney informed Trotwood officials he would resign as the boys track head coach and retire from teaching after this school year. He’s openly campaigned for Waggoner to succeed him as head coach.

There are 40 years worth of great runners to come to Waggoner’s side, if necessary.

“I love it,” he said. “I can’t give it up.

“I’ll be 65 in March. I hope to become the head track coach at Trotwood next year, and we’re going to keep on going. I can’t wait until next year. I just can’t. I can’t.”

For all area trackheads, neither can we, Coach.

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Tribute to Randy Waggoner: Coach put his team first with relay switch

The following is an Audible Commentary that I wrote about Trotwood-Madison High School boys track and field coach Randy Waggoner on June 11, 2009. Coach Waggoner died on Monday, Dec. 13 at Good Samaritan Hospital of complications from heart failure. He was 66.

Coach put his team first with relay switch

That didn’t take long.

A reader’s Web comment blased Trotwood-Madison boys track and field coach Randy Waggoner. His sin? He switched out a member of the Rams’ 1,600-meter relay with rookie sophomore Michael Jordan for the state meet.

The Rams ran an all-time, all-divisions record (3 minutes, 13.32 seconds).

Waggoner has been coaching track since the 1960s. He learned long ago that the team comes before the individual. He said as much after the Rams’ latest historic run last Saturday.

“I knew for us to run the kind of time we were going to run, I needed to put (Jordan) on the relay. I knew what he was capable of doing, and it just proved me to be true.

” … You’ve got to always sit down and figure out, can I pug a kid in here or put a kid in there? A lot of people get upset with me when I make changes like that, but that’s what I’m paid to do: coach this track team.”

It’s a fine line to straddle, giving your team its best possible chance to win. What works one game - or race, or season - doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll work the next time.

• Is your hoop team better with an iorn 5, or an interchangeable 9?

• Should a football coach two platoon, or tap his best half-dozen players for double duty?

• Is a baseball team better off letting an unhittable ace always go the distance, or grooming two shutdown relievers?

As long as teams keep score, and standings and titles are at stake, coaches owe their programs, schools and communities the best teams that they can field.

One word if the goal is for everyone to play and avoid hurt feelings: intramurals.

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Trotwood head T&F coach Randy Waggoner dies

DAYTON — Longtime area high school track and field coach Randy Waggoner died Monday, Dec. 13 at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 66 years old.

Mr. Waggoner was most recently the head coach at Trotwood-Madison, leading the Rams to second place in the Division I boys meet last spring at Columbus. He previously was the boys head coach at Roth and Dunbar, and groomed some of the state’s best sprinters during a coaching career that spanned from 1965-2010.

His daughter Rhonda Patterson said that he died of heart failure complications.

He is survived by two children, Rhonda of Detroit and son Rhobyn Waggoner, grandson son Connor Randy Patterson and longtime fiancee Teresa White of Cincinnati. Another son, Randy Jr., is deceased.

Mr. Waggoner was a 1962 graduate of Roosevelt High School. He took over as Roth’s head coach when Don Mitchell suffered a fatal heart attack in the middle of the 1979 season.

A memorial service will likely be held next week.

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Hilliard Bradley H.S. coaching openings

The following positions are open:

Boys varsity volleyball, 2011 season;

Varsity football;

Varsity boys soccer.

Send cover letter and resume by e-mail to jobs@hboe.org.

Resumes accepted through Jan. 2, 2011.

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It’s not just Northmont; every game is personal to Wayne

HUBER HEIGHTS - Neither Wayne boys hoops coach Travis Trice nor Northmont coach Jim Brown wanted to pick up where they left off last season.

Brown was a vocal leader in crying foul on the Warriors and their transfer players Xaxier Jones and Isiah Boddie. Both were declared ineligible by the OHSAA during Wayne’s 2010 tourney run and both missed Wayne’s final two games.

Jones has since graduated and Boddie, a senior, is back as a Warriors starter. That’s what made Wayne’s delayed season opener on Friday against visiting Northmont extra intriguing. But a 74-53 Warriors beat down on the Thunderbolts went without extra bombs.

“We try not to single anybody out, but every game is personal to us,” said Travis Trice, the coach’s son who put a game-high 26 points on the Thunderbolts.

“It’s us against the world. That’s how we see every game, no matter who’s out there.”

Brown didn’t want to go on record again like he did last season when his low seeding of Wayne nearly cost the Warriors a No. 1 tournament seed. Still, he wondered how a team with two ineligible players didn’t have to forfeit any games.

There’s plenty of recent precedent for that. Both the Alter and Marshall football teams had to forfeit two or more games because of ineligible players. That cost Alter a top regional seed, although the Knights went on to win a 2008 state title.

Marshall wasn’t so lucky in 2009. The Cougars were unbeaten on the field and rolled over every team they played. But they had to forfeit three games and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Even Jefferson had to forfeit five games because of an ineligible player last basketball season. The Broncos still won a state championship.

“They have a nice team,” Brown said of Wayne after the Bolts dropped to 1-2.

“They play hard and shoot the ball pretty well.”

Like Brown, coach Trice also refuses to ignite another war of words. Besides, the Warriors are loaded for another great run this season. That it started against Northmont was nothing extra special, at least for the record.

“We’re supposed to beat them; plain and simple,” Trice said of Northmont.

“They’ve got a good team. They work hard. I don’t have anything to say negative about Northmont at all. I know a lot of those guys on that team. They’re great kids.

“People have them as one of the favorites in the conference as well. This is a must win for us. Not because it’s Northmont, but because it’s a conference game. We take care of them and that sends a message to the league. It puts us at 1-0 and that ultimately was our goal tonight.”

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Waynesville adds 7 to hall of fame

The Waynesville High School Athletic Hall of Fame has seven new members:

• Dave Copas, class of 1961;

• Jennifer Hartsock, ’92;

• Nicole Stiles, ’94;

• Emily Richards, ’99;

• Chris Marr, ’00;

Special inductees who were included for their contributions to Spartans’ athletics were Craig Francisco and Charles Williams.

All the inductees will be the guests of honor at a 9 a.m. breakfast on Saturday, Jan. 29 and at halftime of that night’s boys basketball game with visiting Bellbrook.

Breakfast tickets and reservations are available at the high school office or by contacting Larry Nelson at (513) 897-7700.

The site for the breakfast will be determined later.

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CJ girls to host National Australian team

Chaminade Julienne’s girls basketball team (2-1) will host an Australian National team on Monday. After the game, pairs of Australian players will stay overnight at the homes of Eagles players.

The Australians also will have played games in Tennessee and Kentucky and have been cleared by the national and state federations. The result will count toward CJ’s record.

“I don’t know if they’re 50 points better than us or if we’re even or if we’re 50 points better than them,” admitted Eagles coach Duane Williams.

CJ has lost only to Centerville, by one.

“We can play with anybody and anybody can beat us any night,” Williams said.

“We’re that kind of team.”

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Dunbar, Marshall headed to Ann Arbor for Saturday doubleheader

Dunbar (2-0) and Marshall (0-1) are headed to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday to play in a boys Tip-Off Classic hosted by Huron High School.

Marshall will play Romulus of suburban Detroit at 7 p.m. followed by Dunbar vs. Huron. Like Huron, Romulus is a long-time Detroit boys hoops power. Among its grads is current University of Dayton senior Devin Searcy.

The one-day event came about after Huron played at Dunbar last year. For the return visit, Huron requested that Dunbar ask another worthy Dayton team to join in the fun.

“This will be the first time that Thurgood Marshall has been out of the state,” said first-year coach Darnell Hoskins.

“I wanted to expose our kids to the outside of Dayton. I want them to know that there are a lot of things available to them.”

Dunbar is at Ponitz Tech today and Marshall is at Belmont.

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Wayne finally to open boys basketball season

Now, Wayne boys basketball coach Travis Trice feels Joe Petrocelli’s pain.

“Petro,” Alter High School’s longtime coach, is used to delaying the Knights’ season until about mid-December to accommodate long football playoff runs. The Knights finally open today at Moeller.

That’s what happened at Wayne this fall: The Warriors’ 15th football game was the Division I state final last Saturday. Wednesday was Trice’s first practice with his entire projected team. At least four members were still playing and recovering from football.

Wayne, the DDN’s top-ranked D-I team, opens today by hosting Northmont (1-1).

“We’re anxious to get on the floor,” Trice said.

Starting lineman Jason Bitsko is a returning basketball starter. Michael Bonner, Marshall Peterson and Tony Peters all were key football starters and all will provide much-needed depth and muscle.

Trice has eased the four into workouts because “they’re no good to us if they don’t get the rest that they need.”

Most boys teams opened last weekend.

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Wayne’s Braxton Miller, Springfield’s Trey DePriest selected for Under Armour All-American game

Braxton Miller and Trey DePriest are back together again.

Miller, Wayne’s outstanding senior QB, and DePriest, Springfield’s equally talented LB, are both headed to the Under Armour High School All-America Football Game, although on opposing teams.

The national high school football game will be played at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN. Tropicana Field is the domed home of the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team.

Rosters were revealed on ESPNU on Thursday night. The game debuted in 2008.

Miller led Wayne to the D-I state championship this past Saturday at Canton, which Lakewood St. Edward won, 35-28. He has verbally committed to Ohio State University.

DePriest, a double RB/LB threat the past three seasons, led Springfield to the playoffs the past two seasons. He’s headed to defending national champion Alabama.

Both were youth teammates at Springfield.

Miller, 6-3, 200, will play for Team Micro G (White Team).

DePriest, 6-1, 225, will play for Team Click-Clack (Red Team).

The only other Ohio players to make the teams were:

• Ryan Kelly, C, 6-4, 264, Lakota West (Alabama), Red Team.

• Doran Grant, CB, 5-11, 177, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (not committed), White Team.

• Steve Miller, DE, 6-3, 226, Canton McKinley (OSU), White Team.

Centerville OT/DT Michael Bennett also has an upcoming national all-star game. The 6-3, 260-pounder will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, at Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas (noon, NBC).

Bennett will join Miller at OSU.

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14 of 17 teams announce withdrawal from FAVC

Wilmington High School joined 13 other Fort Ancient Valley Conference members on Tuesday in announcing their withdrawals from the conference beginning the 2012-13 school year.

Anderson, Glen Este, Kings, Loveland, Milford, Turpin and Walnut Hills all notified FAVC Commissioner Steve Borich with letters of their impending withdrawals and announced that those seven would form a new as yet named affiliation.

Later in the day Hamilton Ross, Oxford Talawanda, Edgewood, Cincinnati Northwest, Harrison and Mount Healthy also announced that they were leaving to form their own new league.

In addition, Wilmington also will depart the FAVC in the fall of 2012. The Hurricane did not indicate in its release if the school would join the others in the new league.

That leaves only Winton Woods, Little Miami and Norwood as the only FAVC members who have not indicated an impending change of conference status.

“I had no inkling of this at the beginning of this year,” FAVC Commissioner Steve Borich said.

“It’s a shame. Just like the (defunct) MML. It was a good league for years and they had situations come up and then that league fell apart.

The FAVC is a 17-team conference divided into three divisions.

• Buckeye Division: Anderson, Harrison, Glen Este, Loveland, Milford and Winton Woods.

• Cardinal Division: Kings, Little Miami, Turpin, Walnut Hills, Wilmington.

• Scarlet Division: Edgewood, Mount Healthy, Northwest, Norwood, Ross, Oxford Talawanda.

“It’s hard for me to say what the next step is,” said Borich.

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West Carrollton to add 4 to athletic hall of fame

The West Carrollton Athletic Hall of Fame will induct four new members on Saturday, Dec. 18 prior to the varsity boys basketball game against visiting Valley View.

This year’s inductees are:

• Ernest Courtney (posthumously, 1951 graduate);

• Doug Compton (1980);

• Lisa Fitzharris (1986);

• Travis Hearn (1990).

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Wayne state championship rewind

CANTON - Just the stats and other notable nuggets from Wayne’s 35-28 setback to Lakewood St. Edward in Saturday night’s Division I state championship at Fawcett Stadium:

WAYNE RUSHING

Anthone Taylor 20-87; Braxton Miller 15-64, 2 TDs; Seth Stuart 3-6.

Total: 38-157.

ST. ED RUSHING

Kevin Burke 15-139, 1 TD; Terrell Bates 21-106, 2 TDs.

Total: 41-232.

WAYNE PASSING

Miller 15-24-2, 200 yards, 2 TDs.

ST. ED PASSING

Kevin Burke 9-13-0, 89 YARDS, 1 TD.

WAYNE RECEIVING

Seth Stuart 6-111, 1 TD; Marshall Peterson 4-50, 1 TD; marcus Bonner 3-26; Armani Miller 2-13.

ST. ED RECEIVING

Quincy Jones 3-31; Colin McManamon 2-23.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT STATS

• Wayne had 22-18 advantage in first downs.

• Wayne was 62-357 total yardage to St. Ed’s 54-321.

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Lakewood St. Edward 35, Wayne 28; final

FOURTH QUARTER

SE 1st&10-W36 (0:23):

W 1st&10-W31 (1:26): Braxton Miller deep on KO return with Seth Stuart; pooch to Tony Peters. … Miller strike to Marshall Peterson between two defenders … 1st&10-W46: Miller sacked by Deonte Gibson … 2nd&20-W36: Miller deep to Armani Miller on fly to 10, but Armani just barely O.B. … 3rd&20-W46: Miller inc. to Bonner … 4th&20-W46 (0:36): Miller heaves pop-up, INT by Cory Blackstock at midfield; penalty Wayne face mask.

SE 1st&10-SE40, 2:28: Bates run … 2nd&3-SE47: Burke com. to Chris Connors on short out … 1st&10-W46 (2:02): Burke keeper; Taylor Dukes stuffs; T.O. SE (1:56) … 2nd&11-W47: Burke com. out to Jones for 18-yd. gain … 1st&10-W29 (1:51): Burke munched; T.O. SE (1:44) … 2nd&10-W29: Burke com. to McManamon on deep curl … 1st&10-W17: Bates wiggles free, breaks loose for TD, 1:32; going for two-point conversion; 7 plays, 60 yards, 56 seconds; Quincy Jones on 2-point conversion catch after Burke scrambles and finally unloads; SE 35, Wayne 28.

Note: Miller 250 yards total offense, 2 TD passes, 2 rushing TDs.

W 1st&10-W19, 9:46, Morgan muffs KO return: Miller to Marcus Bonner a long out … 2nd&2-W27: Taylor finally breaks free; first time in 2nd half … 1st&10-W38: Miller com. to Armani Miller on short out … 2nd&3-W45: Taylor churning … 3rd&1-W47: Miller stacked up; depends on spot, loses … 4th&1-W47: This is it; going for it; Seth Stuart tough run … 1st&10-50 (6:40 and running): Miller com. to Stuart on quick out … 2nd&3-SE43: Miller keeper … 3rd&1-SE41: Miller jukes … 1st&10-SE34: Miller com. to Marshall Peterson on out … 2nd&4-SE28 (5:09): DE Deonte Gibson blows Miller up … 3rd&8-SE32: Miller to Marshall Peterson on curl … 4th&1-SE25: This is it; SE’s Gibson jumps off sides; Se encroachment; BIG break for Warriors … 1st&10-SE20: Taylor untouched up mid. … 1st&goal-SE4 (3:20 and counting): Taylor stuffed … 2nd&goal-SE2: Miller fake, takes off and eases into corner of EZ for TD, 2:34; Newsome kick GOOD; 16 plays, 81 yards, 7:12 elapsed time; Wayne 28, SE 27.

Note: 20 straight SE points after trailing 21-7.

SE 1st&10-W20, 11:20: Bates run; Bonner stop … 1st&10-W32: Burke takes off for 59-yd. run; John Senter saves TD … 1st&goal-W9: Bates run; Thornton on stop … 2nd&goal-W6: Burke stretches for TD as he’s falling, DiNunzio kick, 9:53; 4 plays, 80 yards, 1:28 time; penalty, SE hold, re-kick, which is wide; uh-oh. SE 27, Wayne 21.

W 2nd&7-SE40: Taylor, no room … 3rd&6-SE39: Miller scrambles, heaves dart to Bonner, but he’s O.B. … 4th&6-SE39: Newsome punt into the EZ; touchback.

THIRD QUARTER

W 1st&10-W32, 1:25; another decent Jordan Morgan KO return: Quick screen to Seth Stuart … 1st&10-W40: Taylor; LB Don Pavlov great stop … 2nd&9-W41: Miller on sideline for something. Equipment? Costs Wayne a T.O., their second. Coach Jay Minton slammed his hat on turf after being charged with the T.O. … Miller scrambles; strong run … 1st&10-SE43: Taylor stuffed; end of 3rd Q.

SE 1st&10-W18, 2:13: Bates run; snowing hard … 2nd&7-W15: Bates untouched for 15-yard scoring run, 1:32, DiNunzio kick; 2 plays, 41 seconds, 18 yards; Wayne 21, SE 21.

W 1st&10-W33, 2:20; Jordan Morgan good KO return: Avery Bailey steps in front of out to Armani Miller for INT; uh-oh, 1st turnover.

SE 1st&10-SE27, 5:53: Burke keeper, Tre Thomas, Michael Bonner blow up … 2nd&6-SE31: Burke to Quincy Jones over middle … 1st&10-SE42: Burke keeper, reserves field, picks up great down field blocking for 28-yd. run … 1st&10-W28: Burke QB draw … 2nd&2-W22: Bates run … 1st&10-W17: Bates run; Wayne can’t stop anything; T.O. Wayne … OK, SE answers by introducing Wayne to some independent ball … 2nd&4-W11: Bates run … 3rd&1-W8: Burke wrapped up by Jonas Mims for 2-yd. loss … 4th&3-W10: Curke to wide open Patrick Berry Jr. for 10-yard TD strike, 2:27, DiNunzio kick; 9 plays, 73 yards, 3:26 drive; Wayne 21, SE 14.

Notable: Miller 2 TD throws to Seth Stuart and Marshall Peterson; and has run for another. That unbeaten SE team that the entire state was raving about and gave Wayne essentially no chance? Welcome to some GWOC ball, Eagles.

W 1st&10-W39, 8:36: Taylor run; DL Tom Lally a beast for SE … 2nd&9-W40: Miller takes off for 23-yd. gain; impressive speed … 1st&10-SE37: Taylor mid. … 2nd&7-SE34: Dart to Marshall Peterson on sideline … 1st&10-SE31: Miller toAndre Cokes, pass interference on SE … 1st&10-SE13: Stuart sweep; penalty, Wayne hold; just can’t shake these untimely penalties … 1st&19-SE22: Miller to Marshall Peterson on fly, beats CB Phil Smith for 22-yard TD toss, 5:58; 5 plays, 61 yards, 2:38; Wayne 21, SE 7.

SE 1st&10-SE35, 9:57: Bates run; Thornton stop … 2nd&6-SE39: Bates run; penalty; SE hold … 2nd&18-SE27: Burke keeper; Miliner stop … 3rd&14-SE31: Deep out to Colin McManamon but O.B.; Tre Thomas covering … 4th&14-SE31: punt; no return.

W 1ST&10-W31: Taylor run … 2nd&2-W33: Miller pressured; throws away … 3rd&8-W33: Miller crunched; shot to head by Greg Kuhar; penalty, personal foul SE … 1st&10-W45: Miller busted play; crushed … 2nd&12-W43: Miller quick slant to Stuart, sidesteps defender and beats safety to corner for 57-yard TD, 9:57, Newsome kick; 5 plays, 69 yards, 2:03; that didn’t take long. … Wayne 14, SE 7.

FIRST-HALF NOTES:

• Three big killer penalties by Wayne; Encroachment on Teven Williams and face mask on on Sean Miliner. Both were on SE’s opening drive and both were on fourth downs that sustained the drive.

• SE turned those two breaks into a 14-play, 59-yard 8:32 opening scoring drive to lead 7-0.

• Wayne had 4:48 left in the half and appeared to be in great shape to score when Miller zig-zagged 49 yards to inside the SE 10. Whoops, holding Wayne. Ball back to Wayne 31 and end of half.

• Not many fireworks; just long, sustained fundamental drives. Miller has impressed with hard throws and cutback/miss ability.

• Had Wayne not had those two opening drive sustaining penalties… had Wayne not held on Miller’s long run …

• Miller 5-8-0, 53 yards; 5 rushes, 33 yds, TD; Taylor 10-44; Stuart 3-36 receiving. Wayne 24-132 offense; SE 27-85. No turnovers, no huge plays … except for the Wayne turnovers.

• Don’t want to risk sounding like a Warriors homer, but Wayne should be up, maybe by a couple scores.

SECOND QUARTER

W 1st&10-W8, 4:48: Taylor run … 2nd&8-W10: Miller keeps; high-step spins that we haven’t seen since Moeller in opener … 1st&10-W19: Taylor run … 2nd&8-W21: Miller dart to Seth Stuart on go … 1st&10-W31: Miller dodges trouble … 2nd&7-W34: Bonner drops sideline button hook … 3rd&7-W34: Miller arrow to Bonner on hook in; T.O. Wayne, 2:07 … 1st&10-W45: Miller outstanding zig-zag run to the 5; penalty, Wayne hold at line of scrimmage; ugh … 1st&24-W31: Taylor run … 2nd&19-W36: Taylor on counter … 3rd&16-W39: Taylor run … 4th&17-W38: Newsome punt; SE might have got a piece of it; no return; end of half.

SE 1st&10-SE33, 7:31: Bates run; Thornton stop … 2nd&6-SE37: Penalty, SE T.O.; Terrell run … 1st&10-SE45: Terrell run … 2nd&10-SE45: Intended for Quincy Jones; Michael Bonner slaps away … 3rd&10-SE45: T.O. SE; Eagles assistant slammed headphone down and called time; QB Burke scampers; Teven Williams stop … 4th&3-W48: Chris Cameron shanks punt but gets tremendous roll; no return.

W 1st&10-W26, 9:08: Taylor run … 2nd&7-W29: Miller dips and dodges around end; juked Pitt recruit Deonte Gibson out of his shoes … 1st&10-W37: Taylor run … 2nd&9-W38: Miller a dart to Marcus Bonner an quick post; Bonner couldn’t handle … 3rd&9-W38: Miller to no one … 4th&9-W38: Newsome for punt; Quincy Jones on return; Sean Miliner stop.

SE 1st&10-SE12, 11:53, Cory Blackstock fumbled KO and was hammered: Bates run; Tyler Dukes stop … 2nd&8-SE14: Burke inc.; John Senter defending … 3rd&8-SE14: Burke com. to Colin McManamom; Senter stop … 1st&10-SE25: Burke overshoots Terrell in flat … 2nd&10-W25: Bates stuffed; Teven Williams, Darien Thornton stop … 3rd&9-SE26: Burke com. to Quincy Jones; Tre Thomas and many others swarm … 4th&7-SE28: Punt; nice low spiral; no return.

FIRST QUARTER

W 1st&10-W21, 3:22: Miller quick out to Armani Miller … 2nd&4-W27: Bubble screen to Seth Stuart … 1st&10-W34: Anthone Taylor strong up middle … 2nd&5-W39: Miller scrambles, Stuart diving catch over middle; Miller wearing gloves on both hands … 1st&10-SE41: Taylor stumbles free up middle … 2nd&2-SE33: Taylor; no room … 3rd&2-33: Taylor breaks free; bulls for plenty … 1st&10-SE17: Miller nifty run up middle; jukes Avery Baily and spins untouched for TD on final play of 1st Q; Marshall Newsome kick; 79 yards, 3:22, 8 plays; Wayne 7, SE 7. That’s the way we like it; uh-huh.

SE, 1st&10-SE41, 11:54: Terrell Bates run … 2nd&8-43: QB Burke run … 3rd&1-50: Bates stuffed … 4th&2-SE49: Punt … Teven Williams bolts offside on hard count; penalty W … 1st&10-W46: Kurke com. to Sam Grant, 6-6, 225 TE … 2nd&4-W40: Bates makes something out of nothing … 3rd&1-W37: Ryan Giachetti run … 1st&10-W35: Bates pitch sweep … 2nd&2-W27: Bates stuffed by Cameron Walker for big loss … 3rd&14-W39: Bates quick hitter; Teven Williams on stop … 4th&8-W33: Sean Miliner and Cameron Walker on sack, but penalty; penalty W, face mask on Miliner; devastating; twice this opening drive has been extended on 4th-down Warriors penalties … 1st&10-W24: Burke keeper, Tre Thomas stops; penalty, SE hold … 1st&15-W29: Bates run; Walker stop; back to original line of scrimmage … 2nd&10-W24: Screen to Bates; nice play; Darien Thornton stop … 1st&10-W12: Burke sweep; Trey Thomas stop … 2nd&4-W6: Burke keeper; Tre Moore saves TD; this opening drive has taken up more than 8 minutes … 1st&goal-W1: Reggie Terrell untouchded up middle for TD; 3:28; Mike DiNunzio kick; 14 plays, 59 yards, 8:32 and 2 drive-sustaining penalties on Wayne; SE 7, Wayne 0.

CANTON - It’s 30 minutes before Wayne begins its final quest of fulfilling a dream and becoming the first area team to win a Division I state football championship.

It’s Wayne (11-3) vs. Lakewood St. Edward (14-0) for everything at Fawcett Stadium. Weather is good, snow is slight with no accumulation and the stadium is filling up. Let’s get it on.

• If you don’t know better, it looks like the Warriors are up against the Green Bay Packers. St. Ed’s color scheme and look is a perfect replica of the NFL team.

• I’ll give Wayne QB Braxton Miller this, the guy can flat-out throw a 35-yard dart. Doesn’t sound impressive? Try it. Looks sharp as ever in warm-ups. He’s a receiver’s dream. If you have any ability to catch the ball, this is your guy.

• The home (St. Ed) side is packed, as it always is for these games. The visitor’s (Wayne) side is nearly half full and should fill up by about 7:30 p.m.

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Seen & Overheard at the football state championships

CANTON / MASSILLON - From the Odds & Ends Zone at the 39th annual state football finals.

STUCK ON ONE: Most of you who are reading this have likely tapped into a remote internet access server some place. Often, that includes a password.

The password to join the free service at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium is 26 one’s. That’s hitting the No. 1 button 26 times.

I guess 27 one’s already was taken.

IT’S A NUMBERS GAME: A lot of area schools like Beavercreek and Fairborn still are looking for their long-awaited debut playoff games. At the other extreme is Coldwater and Youngstown Ursuline.

The Cavs and Irish have combined for a staggering 75 career playoff WINS. That’s hard to beat.

Ursuline won its third straight D-V title Saturday, clubbing Coldwater 51-21 after leading 44-7 at halftime.

FAVORITES: After two straight title-game losses to Ursuline, Coldwater coach Chip Otten admitted the best prospect for Coldwater is that the Irish are realigned to D-IV this spring. The Cavs are certain to be locked in D-V.

“If they stay D-V they’ll be the odds-on favorite every year,” Otten said.

“If we make the finals on the left side of the state, hopefully, we’ll get to play them again, because that means that we’re still playing.”

WELL DONE: Ursuline coach Dan Reardon saluted Coldwater after losing veteran coach John Reed to cancer last spring.

“To come back after losing their coach and seamlessly get back to the championship game is a great accomplishment,” he said.

GET A KICK OUT OF THAT: The best quip so far was a line about Maple Heights’ kicking game.

The Mustangs flared one extra-point kick almost into a nearby parking lot and had two other kicks blocked before abandoning that route on its final three TDs of a 45-33 D-II title win over Trotwood-Madison on Friday at Massillon.

Maple Heights seemed to be stuck inside the Rams’ five when someone remarked, “Well, they’re out of field goal range.”

The Mustangs scored the next play.

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Trotwood-Madison state final rewind

MASSILLON - Just the facts & stats following Maple Heights’ 45-33 defeat of Trotwood-Madison in the D-II high school football championship at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on Friday night.

• Of the six finals, this was the only one that featured two public schools going at it. Lakewood St. Edward (D-I), Columbus Bishop Watterson (D-III), Columbus Bishop Hartley (D-IV), Youngstown Ursuline (D-V) and Delphos St. John’s (D-VI) advanced in the other finals.

• MH super QB Shaq Washington has committed to UC. He’s a pint-sized version of Bearcats RB Isaiah Pead, and Pead is considered small.

• Washington on last year’s 42-12 loss to Winton Woods in the D-II state final: “Winton Woods prepared us for this team. I made the coaching staff watch that game. I said it’s not going to happen again and it didn’t.”

• Antwan Gilbert on how momentum changed after T-M led 27-6 just 17 seconds into the second quarter: “I really don’t know. I don’t know. … First quarter we played our hearts out and got the good lead. Then we slipped up, thinking that we already had the win I guess. They’re good athletes. I give it up to them.”

• QB Marcus Graham on what happened: “We just executed and we were relaxed. We didn’t let up, we just started rushing. … It’s hard to tell our offensive coordinator what to call on 3rd-and-16. … We had the momentum and we just should have kept going. Things happened and it just snowballed.”

• More Graham: “That hurt. We’ve been at this since January, working out at 6 in the morning Mondays and Wednesdays and practice after school. We worked so hard and to see us lose like that, man. That hurt, man. That hurt everybody. You could tell. That’s all we’ve talked about all year. Just going through adversity. It’s hard to explain. You’ve got to be in my shoes to know what I feel like.”

• The Rams spent Thursday night at nearby Alliance and returned home Saturday morning. Initially, they were planning to stay and watch Wayne. Not now.

• The announced crowd was 3,987, which has to be one of the lowest in state final history. Image that crowd at OSU’s Ohio Stadium. That’s exactly what will happen when the state finals move to Columbus in 2014.

JUST THE STATS

TM RUSHING

Antwan Gilbert 28-179; Marcus Graham 8-29, 2 TDs; Isreal Green 1-5; Darion Heath 2-1.

Total: 41-201

MH RUSHING

Shaq Washington 29-174, 4 TDs; Devocre Ransom 8-38.

Total: 40-190.

TM PASSING

Graham 9-16-1, 145 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

MH PASSING

Washington 11-19-0, 216 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT.

TM RECEIVING

AJ Jordan 3-59, 1 TD; Renon Lorenzo 2-35, 1 TD; Darion Heath 2-13; Michael McCray 1-19; Antwan Gilbert 1-19.

MH RECEIVING

Andre Stubbs 7-170, 2 TDs; Dana Day 3-31, 1 TD; Devocre Ransom 1-15.

TM ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE

Gilbert: 179 rushing, 19 receiving, 64 KO, 45 PR; 307 total.

Team total: 507.

MH ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE

Devocre Ransom 200; Andre Stubbs 192, Shaq Washington 174.

Team total: 611.

TM TACKLE/ASSIST LEADERS

Nick Grigsby 8-5; Bam Bradley 7-3; Robert Shelly 4-6; Maurice Blacknall 2-3; Wilson Cheeks 1-5; Isaiah Myers 1-5.

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Former Rams coach John Butler travels from Florida to see game

By Marc Pendleton and Kyle Nagel

MASSILLON — His beloved Trotwood-Madison High School football program didn’t win Friday’s Division II state championship, but former Rams coach John Butler liked what he saw.

“They played a pretty good game,” said the Sarasota, Fla., resident.

“They just didn’t have quite enough to win it.”

Maple Heights defeated T-M 45-33 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to complete an unbeaten season.

Butler coached the Rams — including current head coach Maurice Douglass — to the 1981 D-II state title game, which Cleveland Benedictine won.

“Oh, this is better than my team,” Butler said. “I just love all the kids.

“I’m really proud of Moe. He does a lot for these young men. I’m appreciative and proud of him. I’m glad I came, but I’m ready to get back to warm weather.”

MISSING PIECE: Trotwood played the second half without receiver Renon Lorenzo, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half and was unable to return after catching two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Trotwood coach Maurice Douglass said the loss was big for the Rams’ consistency.

“For our offense, he does a lot of things,” Douglass said. “When we lost that other piece of the puzzle, that meant the young guys had to come in and play. Sometimes when the young guys get in the game … they’re in practice and they try hard, but they’re not always focused, and sometimes they don’t go as hard as they can go.

“That was a major part for us offensively.”

NICE GRAB: Even when A.J. Jordan was interfered with, the Trotwood receiver could still make a catch.

The senior headed to Wisconsin had just that happen with about 8 minutes left in the second quarter on Friday, when a Maple Heights defender came down on his arms on a long pass play to the left side. Jordan, a 6-2, 170-pounder, still caught the pass under the defender for a 31-yard gain on his way to three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.

COMING BACK: Maple Heights was very familiar with the feelings Trotwood had after Friday’s game.

The Mustangs lost last season’s title game against Winton Woods to finish 12-3. In response, they went undefeated and made good on their second straight title game appearance.

“We’ve had people say our schedule was weak and we couldn’t compete with these kinds of teams,” said second-year Maple Heights coach Todd Filtz. “But we did.”

It was Maple Heights’ eight playoff appearance, including seventh since 2002.

STATS: Trotwood QB Marcus Graham surpassed 100 yards in each of the five playoff games, including 145 yards and two touchdowns on Friday. … Maple Heights averaged 34.2 yards on six kickoff returns, which was one of its strengths. … Maple Heights outgained Trotwood 246-128 in the second half and 137-26 in the fourth quarter.

ETC: The only turnover in meaningful time (Trotwood threw a late interception on a desperation pass) came on Maple Heights’ first play, when Mustangs QB Shaq Washington was unable to handle a shotgun snap. Trotwood took advantage with a 29-yard scoring drive to increase its lead to 13-0 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.

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Trotwood can’t contain Maple Heights’ Shaq attack

MASSILLON — Much too often, Trotwood-Madison defenders whiffed on the smallest player on the field.

No matter how obvious what was coming, the Rams had no answers for Maple Heights’ slick quarterback Shaq Washington.

“We stopped him for a minute in the first half, but you’ve got to contain him or he will get loose,” said Rams linebacker Stacy Wheat.

The Rams had a grasp on the Division II state football championship Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, then Washington yanked it away.

Trailing 26-7 just seconds into the second quarter, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior accounted for seven hard-earned touchdowns as Maple Heights completed an unbeaten season and blitzed the Rams in the second half, 45-33.

The Mustangs finished 15-0 and successfully completed what they vowed to finish after losing to Winton Woods in last year’s D-II state title game.

Trotwood finishes 12-3 and joins the 1981 Rams as the program’s other state runner-up. The crowd was 3,987.

“We got opportunities and you’ve got to make certain that you seize the moment and we didn’t do that,” said Rams coach Maurice Douglass.

Maple Heights went on a game-ending 38-7 run over the final three quarters. Washington ran for all four of Heights’ second-half touchdowns and added three touchdown passes.

At one point he had 15 straight carries, but the Rams were defenseless.

“It was depressing at first but we knew not to stop fighting,” said Washington.

The Rams received another set of monster efforts from seniors Antwan Gilbert and Marcus Graham. Gilbert rushed for 184 yards and returned a punt 45 yards for the score that seemingly put T-M out of reach so early.

“We had the momentum and we just should have kept going,” said Rams QB Graham, who ran for two short touchdowns and was 9 of 16 passing for 145 yards with TD tosses to Renon Lorenzo (32 yards) and A.J. Jordan (17).

“Things happened and it just snowballed.”

Washington started Maple Heights’ rally with scoring strikes of 11 and 80 yards to Andre Stubbs to pull the Mustangs within 26-19 at halftime. They finally took the lead early in the fourth quarter and wrapped it up with a game-ending 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive when Trotwood had to get the ball back. Not a chance.

“The defense came out in the second half and we had to have a stop, but we couldn’t do it,” said Rams strong safety “Bam” Bradley.

“We gave up 45 points. We haven’t given up 45 points all year, not even to the team that’s going to play in the Division I state championship.”

That would be Wayne, which plays Lakewood St. Edward in today’s D-I title game at Canton.

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Youngstown Ursuline 51, Coldwater 21; final

FOURTH QUARTER

Klenke TD pass from Bettinger; Klenke’s 3rd TD; 4:26; 94 yards, 16 plays, Otten kick; U 51, C 21.

THIRD QUARTER

Teague scores on long run; 4:00 left in 3rd Q; his fifth. U 51, C 14.

U 1st&10-C13, 6:53: Teague.

C 1st&10-C6, 7:00: Rammel run; FUMBLES.

U 1st&10-U35: run … 2nd&5-U40: Run … 1st&10-U41: Curry run … 2nd&3-U48: Teague … 1st&10-C41: Teague run … 2nd&4-C38 … 3rd&5-C36: Curry run … 4th&3-C34: Kempe keeper; penalty U hold … 4th&14-C45: Pooch punt.

First half stats Teague 13-192 yards rushing, 3 TDs; also 73-yard reception for another TD.

C 1st&10-C35, 11:56: inc. … 2nd&10-C35: Bettinger scramble, com. to Klenke … 1st&10-C47: Aaron Rammel run … 2nd&2-U45: Schoenherr crossbuck … 1st&10-U35: Rammel run … 1st&10-U24: Bettinger fade to Klenke for TD, 10:10, Troy Otten kick; 6 plays, 65 yards, 1:50; U 44, C 14.

SECOND QUARTER

C 1st&10-C36, 0:12:

U 1st&10-U11, 4:26: 2nd&8: Teague … 3rd&3-U18: Swing pass to Keil’n Thurston … 1st&10-U31: Teague takes many Cavs for a ride … 1st&10-C48: Kempe keeper; penalty U hold … 1st&18-U44: Teague run … 2nd&10-C48: Quick screen to Teague, makes 3 Cavs miss … 3rd&1-C38: Stoutmire run … 1st&10-U31: Teague run … 1st&10-C17: Kempe inc. … 2nd&10-C17: Swing pass to Curry … 1st&goal-C4: Teague run … 2nd&goal-C1: Kempe keeper for TD; 0:17, kick good; 89 yards, 12 plays, 4:09; U44, C 7.

C 2nd&2-C48: inc. … 4th&2-C48: Punt.

Note: Here’s U’s offensive line: 6-0, 280; 6-2, 237; 6-1, 295; 6-1, 297; 6-5, 327. A huge, ahem, advantage over the Cavs.

U 1st&10-U37, 8:05: Jesse Curry run … 1st&10-U48: Teague sweep … 2nd&2-C44: Curry run … 1st&10-C35: Kempe keeper … 2nd&6-C35: Curry run. 1st&10-C21: Quickie pass to Teague … 1st&10-C17: Teague zig-zags for TD, 5:25; 7 plays, 63 yards, 2:40; kick good. U 37, C 7.

C 1st&10-C25, 9:40: Bettinger pass O.B. … 2nd&10-C25: Quick slant to Kurt Schoenherr … 1st&10-C36: Bettinger keeper … 2nd&9-C37: Bettinger rolls, inc. … 3rd&9-C37: Inc. 4rh&8-C38: Teague returns punt, penalty, U ill. block in back.

Note: Teague obviously a great back; would like to see him vs. D-I and D-II competition Thought he might have stole the Mr. Football award from Wayne QB Braxton Miller. Check that: Teague is a great call.

U 1st&10-U35, 10:07: Kempe deep, CB Caleb Siefring breaks up. … 2nd&10-U35: Teague spinning, breaks free and races to EZ for TD, 9:47, Podolsky run; 2 plays, 70 yards, 20 seconds; U 30, C 7.

C 1st&10-C17, 11:25: Reese Klenke clobbered. 2nd&10-C17: Interference on U … 1st&10-C32: QB Ethan Bettinger keeper … 2nd&12-C30: … 4th&12-C30: Punt by Kyle Bergman; no return.

Note: Teague was named Mr. Football; no wonder. Mini 5-8, 174-pounder slicing up Cavs.

U 2nd&11-U41: Teague run … 1st&10-C46: Teague unstoppable; changes direction twice, outruns Cavs to EZ; 11:31; Jeff Podolsky kick; 92 yards, 4:19, 11 plays; U 22, C 7.

FIRST QUARTER

U 1st&10-U2, 3:48: Akise Teague nearly down for safety. … 2nd&9-U3: Teague spinning … 1st&10-U17: Teague … 2nd&7-U20: Trevor Smith run … 3rd&1-U26: QB Paul Kempe keeper … 1st&10-U27 Smith run … 2nd&7-U30: Run … 3rd&4: Swing pass to Teague … 1st&10-U42: Kempe option keeper, stuffed … 2nd&11-U41:

C 4th&3-U46: Good pooch kick by Kyle Bergman.

CANTON - It’s Coldwater (11-3) vs. Youngstown Ursuline (14-0) in the Division V state football championship at Fawcett Stadium.

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Maple Heights 45, Trotwood-Madison 33 final

FOURTH QUARTER

MH 1st&10-MH4, 0:04:

TM 1st&10-TM42, 0:38: Graham com. to Jordan … 1st&10-MH47: Graham keeper … 1st&10-MH34: Graham deep, inc. … 2nd&10-MH34: Graham deep, INT by Day.

Note: Washington has scored all 4 second-half TDs for MH.

MH 1st&10-MH21, 7:15: Washington keeper; Grigsby stop … 2nd&3-MH28: Washington keeper … clock becoming concern for TM (6:25 and running) … 1st&10-MH32: Washington on sweep; TM can’t stop him … 2nd&2-MH40: Washington sweep; no answer for Shaq … 1st&10-TM47: Washington dragged down by Bradley … 2nd&4-TM41: Washington up mid,; masterfully held line at scrimmage until clock wound down … 1st&10-TM37: Washington keeps; TM can’t stop him; game and time slipping away; Washington has carried 10 straight times over 2 drives; TM knows it and still can’t stop him; he’s the equal of Gilbert in toughness and elusiveness … 2nd&4-TM31: Washington keeper … 3rd&1-TM28: Washington off tac.; MH offensive line dominating; TM needs a turnover … 1st&10-TM23: Washington through big hole … 2nd&6-TM19: Washington keeper … 3rd&6-TM19: Washington through big hole, untouched for TD, 0:46; Ransom runs for conversion; 79 yards, 6:29, 12 plays, all runs by Washington; Washington has run last 15 plays, MH 45, TM 33.

Notes:

Gilbert 26-179 yds through 3 quarters.

TM 1st&10-MH48, 9:33 (Jordan great K): Gilbert run … 2nd&7-MH45: Gilbert run … 3rd&5-MH43: Reverse to Jordan; timing not there; blown up … 4th&8-MH46: Awful punt; big Mo has definitely shifted.

Note: A 30-7 run by MH after trailing 26-7.

MH 1st&10-MH33, 11:46: Washington keeper … Gilbert shaken up, walks off field irate … 2nd&7-MH36: Washington quick over middle to Stubbs, Blacknall looses grip and Stubbs breaks free, Grigsby saves TD … 1st&10-TM28: penalty, TM encroachment … 2nd&5-TM23: Washington keeper, very quick, Bradley drags down, penalty, TM personal foul, half distance … 1st-goal-MH3: Washington crunched up mid., Shelly and Cheeks on stuff … 2nd&goal-TM2: Washington keeper for TD, 9:41, going for 2 points; 5 plays, 2:05, 67 yards; Cameron Burrows INT on scramble out; MH 37, TM 33. MH’s first lead.

Note: Attendance is announced as 3,987; seems too few. I’m guessing at least 6,000.

TM 3rd&14-MH33: Graham scrambles, heaves, lucky it wasn’t INT .. 4th&14-MH33: Graham deep, overshoots Jordan and Trai Mobley.

THIRD QUARTER

TM 1st&10-MH44, 1:58: Gilbert breaks free … 1st&10-MH29: Gilbert breaks out, flag, hold TM … 1st&20-MH39: Gilbert strong up mid. … 2nd&11-MH30: Gilbert crushed by John Welcome; handoff wasn’t crisp. … end of 3rd Q.

MH 1st&10-MH40, 3:35: Ransom run … 2nd&7-MH43: Washington run … 1st&10-50: Wash com. to Day … 1st&10-TM39: Washington run … 1st&10-TM16: Ransom run … 1st&goal-TM4: Washington 4-yd TD, 2:04; Washington stuffed on 2-point run; 6 plays, 60 yards, 1:31; TM 33, MH 31.

TM 1st&10-TM31, 8:47: Gilbert run … 2nd&9-TM32: Gilbert twisting … 3rd&1-TM40: Graham keeper … 1st&10-TM42: Gilbert sweep … 1st&10-MH44: Gilbert … 2nd&9-MH43: Isreal Green run … 3rd&4-MH38: Nice flip to Heath in the flat … 1st&10-MH32: Graham keeper … 2nd&6-MH28: Gilbert bunched up on right … 3rd&6-MH28: Gilbert tough up mid. … 1st&10-MH17: Graham heaves jump ball to Jordan in left corner, AJ outleaps Stubbs for TD, 3:41, Makupson kick; 5:06, 69 yards, 11 plays; TM 33, MH 25; whew.

Notes: 18 straight points for MH.

• MH has missed 3 of 4 extra-point kicks to account for TM’s one-point lead.

First-half stats

Gilbert 16-108, 2 TDs.

Graham 6 of 9 passing for 111 yards, 1 TD.

MH 1ST&10-TM49: Washington quickie to Day … 2nd&4-TM42: Ransom pinballs … 1st&10-TM39: Washington too long deep; James Winchester was beat … 2nd&10-TM39: Washington playing dodge-em; Grigsby/Myers stop … 3rd&1-TM30: Washington keeper … 1st&10-TM27: Ransom run … 2nd&6-TM23: Washington over middle; Cameron Burrows bats down … 3rd&6-TM23: throwback to Stubbs, Grigsby pushes out of bounds … 1st&goal-TM9: Washington fake handoff, breaks back untouched for TD; kick blocked by Maurice Blacknall; 8:56; 9 plays, 49 yards, 3:03; TM 26, MH 25. Teddy ballgame right here.

SECOND QUARTER

TM 1st&10-TM41, 3:48: Graham fumbles handoff; recovers … 2nd&17-TM34: Graham overshoots Jordan on post; penalty, MH interference on Jordan; questionable, couldn’t have even touched ball … 1st&10-TM49: Pitch to Gilbert; flag; TM ill. pro … 1st&15-TM44: Delayed screen to Lorenzo in flat … 2nd&12-TM47: Graham post corner to Lorenzo; broken up by QB/DB Washington; lucky for TM it wasn’t INT; Lorenzo shaken up, limps off … 3rd&12-TM47:

Note: MH has as much trouble kicking extra points as TM; that makes it a push. Graham 3 for 4, 58 yards, 1 TD passing 1st Q.

MH 1st&10-MH-1: 4:50: Penalty, TM face mask; 1st&10-MH16: Ransom dive … 2nd&7-MH19: Com. to Stubbs in quick post; 2 TM defenders sandwich Stubbs, who breaks free and scores untouched; Maurice Blacknall hurt after collison with Bradley; 3:54; kick blocked; 2 plays, 99 yards, 56 seconds; TM 26, MH 19; whew, here we go.

TM 1st&10-TM29: Last man gets Gilbert. … 2nd&1-TM38: Graham com. to Jordan on streak, makes catch and is also interferred; penalty declined; everyting working; 31 yards … 1st&10-MH31: Heath up mid. … 2nd&9-MH30: Graham rolls, scrambles, com. to Mike McCray on sideline; Gilbert two blocks on improvised play … 1st&10-MH11: Gilbert drags three defenders five yards … 2nd&4-MH5: Gilbert left side … 3rd&2-MH3: Heath quick hitter; nothing … 4th&2-MH3: Graham keeper, big scrum; close; measurement

Note: On second thought, last series wins. This is shaping up as a major shootout. Gilbert 12-89, 2 TDs in 1st Q.

MH 1st&10-MH31, 11:35: Day dropped over mid. … 2nd&10-MH31: QB Washington keeper; he’s rushed for about 1,500 yds this season … 3rd&6-MH35: Quick strike to Stubbs on skinny post; beat Ruby … 1st&10-TM36: Dive … 2nd&1-TM27: Inc. … 3rd&1-TM27: Washington breaks free up mid.; Bradley stops … 1st&10-TM13: Lucky MH didn’t lose ball; batted, looked like Washington completed a pass to himself … 2nd&18-TM21: penalty, ill. pro MH … 2nd&23-TM26: Washington eludes Wheat, complete to Ransom … 3rd&8-TM11: Washington rolls, easy toss to uncovered Andre Stubbson crossing pattern for TD; 8:38, kick wide; 9 plays, 69 yards, 2:57; TM 26, MH 13.

Note: Unless MH gets it together, this is going to get ugly. Couldn’t be scripted any better for the Rams. Everything is working; absolutely nothing has failed … well, could be better at kicking extra points. That’s 26 points in 12:17 for the Rams; that’s clicking.

4TH&18-MH19: Horrific line-drive punt - almost whiffed - that Gilbert fielded at 45, dodged 5-6 defenders and dove in EZ for TD; 11:43; 1 play, 45 yards, just seconds; kick no chance. TM26, MH 7.

FIRST QUARTER

MH 1st&10-MH27: Run … 2nd&11MH26: inc. … 3rd&11-MH26: Quick pass to Stubbs, soph CB Cameron Burrows buries receiver for 2-yd. loss. … end of 1st Q.

Gilbert return KO; TM 1st&10-TM40, 4:48: Graham overshoots AJ Jordan on out … 2nd&10-TM40: Gilbert strong up mid. … 3rd&1-TM49: Graham keeper … 1st&10-MH45: Gilbert strong left, hurdles defender, jukes another … 1st&10-MH34: Gilbert caught in backfield … 2nd&12-MH36: Graham screen to Gilbert; dodged half-dozen defenders and changed directions as many times … 1st&10-MH17: Gilbert left side … 2nd&7-MH14: Gilbert through huge hole on right side … 3rd&2-MH9: Graham keeper to his right, jumps over pile and skips intouched into EZ for score; 0:55; Makupson kick; 9 plays, 60 yards, 3:53; TM20, MH 7.

Long KO return; Freezer Grigsby saves TD.

MH 1st&10-TM23, 7:30: QB Shaq Washington keeper … 2nd&7-TM20: Ransom run … 3rd&4-TM17: pass crushed … 4th&2-TM15: Audible … MH called T.O. before delay of game; QB keeper, absolutely stoned by Grigsby; measurement … 1st&10-TM13: Washington inc. … 2nd&10-TM13: Washginton to Dana Day on short post for wide open TD; 4:56; Kadeem Clark kick; 6 plays, 23 yards, 2:34; TM 13, MH 7.

We have a ballgame.

TM, 1&10, TM28: Gilbert breaks free up mid. for 35 yards, hello; 1&10 MH37; Gilbert up mid. … 2nd&6-MP33: Play action, Marcus Graham to Renon Lorenzo in streak for TD, 10:57; kick blocked. 3 plays, 72 yards, 1:03 … that didn’t take long. TM 6, MH 0.

Weak KO returned up middle.

MH, 1&10, TM34, 10:49: MH launches hike past QB … William Wheat runs down and recovers at MH 29.

TM, 1st&10, MP29, 10:41: Graham com. to Heath in flat … 2nd&3-MH22: Gilbert up mid. … 1st&10-MH17: Gilbert up mid.; dodges many. 2nd&4-MP9: Gilbert … 1st&goal-MH6: Gilbert rt. tackle … 2nd-goal: Gilbert … 3rd&goal-MH1: Graham keeper for TD; 7:41; 7 plays, 29 yards, 3:00; Mazzan Makupson kick; TM 13, MH 0.

MASSILLON - This is it.

It’s an hour before kickoff. Weather is clear, ice cold and perfect for a great football game.

My advice to you: Hunker down the refresh often.

Trotwood AD Jim Ladd was like a proud father two hours before the game. He viewed a mostly empty stadium, except for a few players stretching, and reflected what this moment meant for Trotwood the community, Rams football and, well, himself.

In AD Jim Ladd’s his words …

“It’s a great, memorable moment. It’s an opportunity for kids to get some memories and experience of a lifetime. You’ll see (Marcus) Graham, all of them, bragging about it when they’re 50 years old, how they played in a state championship game, and that’s great.

“I graduated in 1974 (from Urbana H.S.) and to be honest, we didn’t even know that there was a playoff system.

“The most important thing we could do right now is keeping them settled and relaxed and keeping them busy. There’s a lot of down time. I think (Maple Heights) came down today. I don’t know if that’s an advantage or disadvantage. We didn’t want to make a 3.5-hour ride, get off the bus and play football.

“I’ve always had that itch (to coach). Sometimes, that’s why I don’t even go out to practices and watch. That itch is always going to be there.

“A 27-7 halftime (deficit, in the 34-27 defeat of Uniontown Lake in the D-II state semifinals last week) and to be here? That says a lot. I think it’s a character thing. It’s going to benefit these kids even further down the line. When you can do what they did to get here, I mean, geez. You can do anything. And if they win, that’s icing on the cake.”

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