MASSILLON: The St. Vincent-St. Mary football team is No. 1 in the state for the second consecutive year in Division III after defeating Trotwood-Madison 24-0 Thursday night at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. It is the school’s sixth football state championship.
Several St. V-M seniors made sure to finish a 15-0 season by dispatching the Rams (11-3), including University of Akron recruits Newman Williams and Travonte Junius and Ohio State recruits Dante Booker Jr. and Parris Campbell Jr.
Williams rushed for two touchdowns, recovered a fumble and ran for a first down on a fake punt. He was key in the dominating performance, the 21st win in a row for the Irish.
“My highlight of the game was when that clock hit triple zeros and we won that state championship,” Williams said. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into this game. I came in with the mentality that I was going to do whatever these people right here next me needed me to do, and I think I did that tonight.”
Senior Evan Cunningham kicked a 36-yard field goal with 2:27 to go in the first quarter to give St. V-M a 3-0 lead. The scoring drive featured a 44-yard pass play from senior quarterback Aaron Bushner to Booker and a 14-yard run by Bushner.
The Irish forced two turnovers in the first half with senior Nathan Bischof snagging an interception and Booker recovering a fumble. Seniors Williams, Aaron Adkins, Tony Adkins and Junius along with junior Dre’k Brumley consistently tackled Rams at or near the line of scrimmage.
The Booker fumble recovery on the Trotwood-Madison 29 led to points. After an 8-yard run by junior Vince Lockett, Williams ran for a 1-yard touchdown and Cunningham added an extra-point kick to make it 10-0 with 5:56 remaining in the second quarter.
“We executed all week in practice and knew exactly what we needed to do,” Lockett said. “We knew what kind of team we were, and that all the talk and other stuff wasn’t going to win a state championship. Playing like this on the field was going to get the job done.”
The third quarter featured five turnovers and seven points for St. V-M. Junius tipped and intercepted a pass inside the Trotwood-Madison 10-yard line at the 4:50 mark. Five seconds later, Williams rushed for an 8-yard touchdown and Cunningham added the point after to make it 17-0.
“We have a real special defense and we came in here with good preparation,” Booker said. “Week by week we wanted to get that goose egg. It was awesome to look up there and see that goose egg after the game [on the scoreboard].”
Williams, who rushed for 42 yards on five carries, also had a fumble recovery in the third quarter and Lockett intercepted a pass. Rams senior Kieran Winn recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in the third. Senior Tyler Glover forced the fumble Winn recovered.
The Irish lead grew to 24-0 when Lockett rushed for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:21 to go in the fourth quarter. Williams had a big play on the drive with a 28-yard run on a fake punt.
Campbell rushed for 61 yards on 19 carries. Bushner completed 3-of-10 passes for 56 yards and rushed 14 times for 67 yards. The Irish offensive line of seniors Alec Bianchi, Joe Morrison, Zac Rouser and Derek Whiddon along with juniors Jeremy Swords and Sam Yeaton was solid all evening.
“This means the world to me just because of the guys I did it with,” Campbell said. “Going out my senior season undefeated with a second state championship, it can’t get any better than that.”
St. V-M’s defense was stingy all night, limiting Trotwood-Madison sophomore quarterback Messiah Deweaver to 84 yards passing on a 9-of-25 effort and minus-10 yards rushing.
St. V-M held a 236-111 edge in total yards, including a 180-12 margin on the ground.
“Have you guys seen better defense played than that,” St. V-M coach Dan Boarman said. “That was unbelievable.”
Irish seniors Corey Whaley and Jarel Woolridge and sophomore Tyrece Speaight covered Rams receivers effectively on a majority of Deweaver’s pass attempts.
This was St. V-M’s 18th playoff appearance since the postseason started in 1972. The Irish previously won state titles in 2012, 1988, 1982 and 1981 in Division III and 1972 in Class AA.