Rams will play Alter in third round of playoffs

Sophomore Hezekiah Hudson-Davis rushed for three touchdowns as No. 3 seed Trotwood-Madison beat No. 19 seed Carroll 28-7 on Friday in the second round of the Division III, Region 12 playoffs in Trotwood.

It was a tale of two halves. Carroll led 7-6 at halftime. Trotwood-Madison won the second half 22-0 in its first game since Oct. 2 when it beat Belmont 34-19 in the final game of the regular season.

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“When you come off a bye, it’s kind of hard to get things going,” Trotwood-Madison coach Jeff Graham said, “but overall, we picked it up in the second half. We’ve got to know it’s a 48-minute game.”

The Rams (4-0), the defending D-III state champions, will play No. 6 Alter in the regional quarterfinals on Oct. 23. Alter (5-2) beat No. 11 Dunbar 35-13 on Friday. The Alter-Trotwood matchup brings together two programs that have combined to win five state championships in the last 12 seasons.

For Trotwood-Madison, the hope is their first playoff game got them in a rhythm and will result in another deep run. The Rams didn’t start the season until Week 4 in September and played only three regular-season games, bearing beat Ponitz, Thurgood Marshall and Belmont.

The shortened season was another reason the bye came at a bad time. The team’s performance in the week of practice before the bye was up and down because it didn’t know if it would be playing Carroll or No. 14 seed Celina. Carroll beat Celina 42-39.

″We tried to get back to the basic stuff we normally do," Graham said. “Once we knew we were playing Carroll, we kind of knew what we had to do to prepare for them. We knew they were going to come in with a hard-fought game, and our guys in the first half didn’t take it seriously."

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“Sometimes a young team needs to go through some experiences. Hopefully, this will kind of wake some of our guys up and they’ll understand this is the playoffs. You can’t lose one and bring it back.”

For one half, it looked as if the Rams might flirt with an early playoff exit. Carroll (4-4) took the early lead on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Chapman to brother Steve Chapman with 22 seconds left in the first quarter.

Hudson-Davis got the Rams on the board on a 1-yard run with 7:34 left in the first half, but the point-after attempt hit the upright.

In the third quarter, it was all Trotwood-Madison. A long kickoff return by Dylan Heflin to start the half led to a touchdown drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Hudson-Davis. He added a 3-yard run later in the quarter, and that score was set up by his 79-yard run.

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Hudson-Davis finished with 155 yards on 20 carries.

“He’s got great vision,” Graham said, “and he can make a lot of things go, but the thing we all have to work on is getting in shape. Now the weather’s starting to change. we’ve just got to figure that out.”

Hezekiah’s brother, Jeremiah Hudson-Davis, scored Trotwood-Madison’s fourth touchdown with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.

Carter Mims led the Rams receivers with three catches, including a one-handed grab, for 43 yards. Cooper Stewart completed 6 of 11 passes for 88 yards.

Ryan Chapman completed 19 of 31 passes for 239 yards for Carroll. Steven Chapman caught three passes for 75 yards. Sam Severt caught 11 passes for 88 yards.

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