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Published: Saturday, December 07, 2019 @ 6:11 PM
— The Trotwood-Madison High School gymnasium was packed Saturday afternoon with beaming parents and dancing fans welcoming home their football state champs.
The Rams rallied in the final quarter Friday and stunned upstart Mansfield Senior 14-7 in overtime to win a Division III title at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. The victory continued into Saturday as the Trotwood-Madison band, cheerleaders and a DJ ushered the team into a triumphant celebration.
One message repeatedly came up during the celebration — that the players, parents and Rams coaching staff felt they were part of a Trotwood family. Many players, some parents said, have been on the field together since their days on the pee-wee football fields.
“It was awesome,” Tasha Wesson, grandmother of senior James Zachary, said. “It was unreal. Chills. The energy in the stands, all the fans just pulling and rooting. Never losing faith in our boys. We never lost faith because we’ve been seeing them pull it off since pee-wee football. We are all family. There’s not one home that they’re not welcome at. We take care of everybody. … They had two-a-day practices this summer. They all got out of practice and came over to rest, then went back to practice.”
Michael McCray, Trotwood principal, talked to the team gathered in the center of the gymnasium about what the state title means to Trotwood. The principal said the victory is a big step in helping Trotwood move on after the community was devastated by the Memorial Day tornadoes.
“I think the kids were really excited about just getting back to school,” McCray said. “Getting back to normalcy and needing to be here. So I think coming back to school and this team getting on a run like they did, just brought us together. Just made us not think about the things that happened in May.”
Senior Sammy Anderson, who caught the game-winning pass from senior quarterback Keon’te Huguely , held the state champ trophy high, front and center of the gymnasium, during the hour-long celebration. About nine players took turns stepping up to the microphone to thank parents and coaches and reflect on the season.
Huguely said his 2020 class is special.
“I feel like we accomplished our goal,” Huguely said. “I’ve been preaching all season to our team, we are on a mission. … I felt it, because we are a brotherhood. If we come out strong, I feel like we just could dominate any team in Ohio. This 2020 group is special. I feel like we are one of the best classes in the nation. I feel like everybody in the 2020 class is just dominating, explosive and they just played ball.”
Trotwood superintendent Marlon Howard told the team they will always be connected with each other by the trophy held by Anderson.