By ROSS BISHOFF
Since 2014, Trotwood-Madison had been a big, fat regional barricade standing in front of the Western Buckeye League’s playoff football teams.
In 2014, the Rams got past Wapakoneta in a four-overtime thriller, 34-28 in the regional finals. The following season, Trotwood-Madison beat Wapak again, 33-3. Last year, as the seventh seed in Region 12, the Rams beat Wapakoneta and St. Marys to get back to state.
And on Friday, it’s Elida’s turn to take a crack at Trotwood-Madison, the five-time state runner-up and one-time champion (2011). Obviously, it’s a pretty big challenge for Elida to travel to Trotwood and get a win.
The Rams finished 10-0 and blew out most everyone so they’re ready to roll. The Rams have great athletes, they’re a perennial power, and they have coaches who know how to guide them deep into the playoffs.
Elida (8-2), meanwhile, is making its first playoff appearance since 2012.
However, the Bulldogs have some important things going for them. They’re offense, led by Isaac McAdams, can put up big numbers, which will be crucial.
They play a solid schedule, which prepares them well.
And, if they have an edge, it’s that they have absolutely nothing to lose. Elida can go out, play, have fun, take chances and see what happens. And who knows? As the game goes on, if the Bulldogs can just hang around …
At any rate, nothing is impossible this time of year.
St. Marys primed for a deep run?
St. Marys (9-1) won the WBL and claimed the third seed for Division IV, Region 14. The Roughriders, best nickname ever, will welcome in Marengo Highland (8-2) on Friday to start the postseason.
We all know, nobody is a pushover this time of year. Well, most of the time. But St. Marys fans have a lot to be optimistic about.
It’s certainly not an easy region with Clear Fork and Shelby each 10-0 and the top two teams. But with St. Marys’ depth, ability to control the ball on offense, and shut people down on defense—three shutouts in the last four games—this a squad that could go pretty deep.
St. Marys hasn’t been to the state semifinals since 2004. That could change in the next four weeks.
Congrats, Perry Commodores
I want to echo any and all congratulations toward coach Luke Taviano, his staff, and his team. When the pairings were announced, I was surprised but very happy to see the Commodores get a chance to make their first-ever playoff appearance this weekend.
After everything the program has endured in the past year, it was incredible to see them fight through for this opportunity. The Commodores (6-4) have a tough one at Sidney Lehman Catholic (9-1) on Friday, but they’ll have a lot of people back home pulling for them.
Good luck, Perry.
Division VI, Region 24 is a fascinating group of teams with five locals battling it out. LCC (9-1) is the top seed, Marion Local (10-0) and hosts Fort Recovery (6-4) on Friday, Spencerville (8-2) is third and Coldwater (7-3) is fourth.
That is going to be a fun regional for area sports fans, and one that makes for easier coverage throughout the playoffs.
Number of the Week: 40
– Minster’s girls cross country team will defend last season’s Division III state championship this weekend at National Trail Raceway. They won this past weekend’s regional title with 40 points, Emma Watcke won the race in 19:00.10.
Quote of the Week: “What a match.”
– Bluffton boys soccer coach Steve Smucker after his team beat Kalida 2-1 in sudden death in the Division III district championship this past weekend. Bluffton has won three-straight district titles.