Despite two interceptions in the first half, the Rams contained Shawnee in a 44-7 win.
PIQUA — The bad news for Trotwood-Madison fans is Rams’ quarterback Messiah DeWeaver threw two interceptions in the first half, both in the end zone.
The good news is Trotwood ran for about 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half to help take a 24-0 lead by halftime. The Rams ran early and often in a 44-7 win over Shawnee in a Division III, Region 10 quarterfinal game at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium on Friday night.
“We did a good job bouncing back from those mistakes, but we just have to do a better job of handling our responsibilities,” Trotwood-Madison head coach Maurice Douglass said after the game. “Messiah was trying to hit the home run instead of ducking down, but he bounced back and made some plays and we ran well.”
The Rams (9-2) will play Tippecanoe in the Region 10 final next week at a site to be determined. Tippecanoe beat Thurgood Marshall 30-13 on Friday.
“We’ve got a tough team in Tippecanoe next week, and we’re going to have to do a good job at closing up the gaps on defense,” Douglass said. “You can’t take anybody lightly.”
Mark Raye-Redmond led Trotwood with 84 rushing yards and one touchdown. Breland Cospy ran for 59 yards and three touchdowns for the Rams. Trotwood ran for a total of 235 yards in the game.
DeWeaver completed 11 of 16 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown, in addition to the two interceptions.
Shawnee was hurt before the game kicked off. The Braves played the game without normal starting quarterback Saalih Muhammad, who was sidelined due to a lingering back injury. The Braves were also without running back/receiver Clay Phillips, who was out with an injury.
Trotwood-Madison struck first with a ten-yard run from Mark Raye-Redmond with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Shawnee responded on its next possession by driving down to Trotwood’s four-yard line. Verondtae Wilkinson sacked Shawnee quarterback Alec Bennett on the third down and forced a fumble, which Trotwood recovered.
“On paper, they were similar to Franklin, who we beat 42-7 last week” Douglass said of Shawnee. “But we found out on that drive that they ran a lot better than Franklin, and that we had to step up and stop them quick.”
The Rams scored on the resulting drive on a 20-yard pass from DeWeaver to Ryan Lucas. Breland Cospy scored on a four-yard touchdown run later in the second quarter, and Lamane Seck hit a 14-yard field goal with 1:40 left in the second half to give the Rams a 24-0 lead by halftime.
Cospy ran for a 7-yard touchdown 41 seconds into the third quarter to boost Trotwood’s lead to 31-0. He ran for a 35-yard touchdown later in the third. Kei Beckham then returned an interception in Shawnee’s end zone 100 yards for a touchdown with 2:52 left in the third. The extra point was missed, but the Rams led 44-0.
Shawnee struck late in the third quarter after receiver David Barnett recovered a fumbled pass in the end zone.
Shawnee senior running back Jalen Nelson led the Braves with 99 rushing yards. Quarterback Alec Bennett had 86 rushing yards on 23 carries. He was 7 of 14 in passing for 61 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Douglass said the Rams will focus and not overlook the Red Devils next week.
“You’ve got to do your responsibilities,” Douglass said. “You can’t take anybody lightly because of what size they have or how big they are or what they look like or what they don’t look like. We have to do a better job of not overlooking anyone, and we won’t overlook (Tippecanoe) at all.”
Shawnee finished the season 10-2.