Trotwood-Madison owned the line of scrimmage in the first half on passing downs on both sides of the ball Friday night. That gave the Rams all the advantage they needed to jump-start what they hope is a run to a fourth straight state final.
Rams sophomore Messiah DeWeaver got all the protection he could ever want. He threw for 179 yards, all in the first half, and a touchdown to lead Trotwood to a 44-7 victory over Shawnee in the Division III Region 10 semifinals at Piqua High School.
Trotwood (9-2) takes on unbeaten Tippecanoe at a site to be announced next Friday in the regional final. The Rams dropped down to Division III this year. They won the Division II championship in 2011.
When DeWeaver wasn’t throwing the running of Mark Raye-Redmond and Breland Cospy moved the ball. Raye-Redmond gained 84 yards on nine carries and a touchdown and Cospy had 59 on five carries and three touchdowns.
Shawnee (9-1) brought a young team and Trotwood’s early pass rush was too much. The Braves also were shorthanded because of injuries. Starting quarterback Saalih Muhammad was knocked out of last week’s first-round win. Early in the week he expected to play, but he did not dress for the game. Clay Phillips, a senior running back and defensive back, also sat out with an injury.
Shawnee’s Zach Avery and Wade Smiddy intercepted DeWeaver in the end zone in the first half, but that only served to slow down Rams. They put up 179 passing yards and 104 rushing yards in the half to build a 24-0 lead.
Linebacker Keiran Winn made big plays early for the Rams. He blocked a punt early to set up a short drive that ended on a 10-yard touchdown run by Raye-Redmond for a 7-0 lead.
Shawnee responded with a 76-yard drive to the Trotwood 3-yard line on its second possession. But Winn sacked Alec Bennett and forced a fumble that the Rams recovered.
The Rams struck quickly in the third quarter on touchdown runs of 6 and 35 yards by Cospy. The Braves drove again to the red zone behind the running of Jalen Nelson (99 yards) and Bennett (86 yards), but Bennett was forced to throw on third-and-goal at the 8. Trotwood’s Kei Beckham made an interception in the end zone and returned 100 yards for the touchdown and a 44-0 lead.
Shawnee scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to David Barnett late in the third quarter.