The 2009 Division II, Region 8 Final pits No. 2-seeded Winton Woods against No. 4-seeded Trotwood-Madison Friday night at Mason's Dwire Stadium. The Rams have turned some heads this season after a 43-7 walloping of Turpin in the regional semifinals, while the Warriors have become a perennial postseason threat.
Can the Rams continue their run at a state title and pull off the upset for the second straight week, or will the Warriors end their season?
WINTON WOODS WARRIORS Division II, Region 8 HEAD COACH: Troy Everhart 2009 RECORD: 10-2, 4-1
TROTWOOD-MADISON RAMS Division II, Region 8 HEAD COACH: Maurice Douglass 2009 RECORD: 9-3, 4-0
Winton Woods' Key to Victory: The Winton Woods' defense will need to be at its best as the Warriors face the daunting task of containing Trotwood-Madison running back Antwan Gilbert. The junior ran all over an undefeated Turpin team last Friday, rushing 15 times for 261 yards and three touchdowns. In their win over Tecumseh, Winton Woods held the Arrows to only 85 yards rushing. It would be difficult to repeat that performance against a team that averaged 369.2 yards per game in the regular season, but the Warriors simply need to limit Gilbert as much as possible, especially in the red zone. In the three games the Rams have lost, Gilbert has been held to a combined four touchdowns. If the Warriors can force Trotwood to utilize their passing game, they will have the opportunity to force Ram quarterback Marcus Graham, who has 10 interceptions, to make mistakes. Winton Woods has grabbed 16 interceptions on the season will need to take advantage of any Ram errors.
Trotwood-Madison's Key to Victory: Like the Warriors, Trotwood could use a defensive lift as Winton Woods averages over 400 yards and 40 points per game. The Rams' last opponent, Turpin, is no offensive slouch. Trotwood was able to impressively shut down Wayne Dunham and the Spartan offense. This time, the Rams will need to focus on senior running back Jeremiah Goins and quarterback Dominique Brown. Both Brown and Goins have over 1,000 yards rushing this season. The Rams could use big nights out of its receivers to take some pressure off of Gilbert. Special teams will also be critical. In the regional semifinals, Trotwood was able to start drives with a short field thanks to long returns. Those long returns set up easy Trotwood touchdowns.
Players to Watch: After dominating against Turpin, Gilbert faces off with Goins. Goins has amassed 1,599 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns while Gilbert will try to add to his 2,536 yards and 33 touchdowns. And don't forget about Winton Woods quarterback Brown who has 655 passing yards to go along with 1,399 rushing yards. If Trotwood is unable to get the ground game going, Graham also has viable options through the air in wide receiver Michael Jordan and tight end Justin Favors. On special teams watch for Warrior Demond Hill, who averages over 20 yards per kickoff return, including a 96-yard return and two touchdowns.
Team Trends: Trotwood-Madison is red-hot rolling off seven consecutive victories, their latest coming over a solid Turpin squad The Warriors are in the midst of their fifth consecutive postseason. Like the Rams, Winton Woods has soundly defeated its first two playoff opponents, Ross and Tecumseh Both teams have put up impressive offensive showings while holding postseason opponents to seven points or less.