BY MIKE POPOVICH
Repository sports writer
MASSILLON The debate over whether or not St. Vincent-St. Mary is the state’s best high school football team in any division may continue.
One thing is certain: It was going to take a mammoth effort by anyone to beat the Fighting Irish on Thursday night. Trotwood-Madison did not have any answers against one of the best defenses you will see.
SV-SM forced five turnovers and the Irish offense took advantage of them in a 24-0 win over the Rams in the Division III state championship game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Three Trotwood-Madison turnovers set up touchdowns as the Irish won their second straight state title and 21st game in a row.
“Have you guys seen better defense played than that?” SV-SM head coach Dan Boarman asked. “Just unbelievable.”
It was unbelievable.
Defensive lineman Travonte Junius, linebacker Vince Lockett and Nathan Bischof had interceptions for the Irish. Linebacker Dante Booker, voted this year’s Ohio Mr. Football, and linebacker Newman Williams recovered fumbles.
The Irish (15-0) held the Rams to just 111 total yards, 99 passing, and became the first team to shut out Trotwood-Madison since Week 2 of the 2008 season.
“We have a real special defense,” Booker said. “We came in with a good week of preparation and wanted all week to get that goose egg.”
Williams had another memorable championship game. He ran for two touchdowns and intercepted a pass in last year’s win over Bellevue. One of those touchdowns was a 41-yard run on a fake punt that saw him break three tackles and carry a defender into the end zone.
Williams tacked on two more touchdowns against Trotwood-Madison (11-3). He also had a 28-yard run on another fake punt.
“My highlight was when that clock hit triple zeros and we won that state championship,” Williams said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I came in with the mentality that I was going to do what these people next to me needed me to do. I think I did that tonight.”
Parris Campbell rushed for a game-high 58 yards and became the Irish’s all-time leading rusher. SV-SM finished with 180 yards rushing as a team.
The Irish drove inside the Trotwood-Madison 30 on their first possession but turned the ball over on downs. They wouldn’t be denied the next time they touched the football.
A 44-yard pass from Aaron Bushner to Booker was ruled a catch even though television replays showed he appeared to drop the ball. Five plays later, Evan Cunningham kicked a 36-yard field goal to give SV-SM a 3-0 lead.
Campbell’s 27-yard run in the second quarter set up another great St. Vincent-St. Mary scoring opportunity. The Irish, however, turned the ball over on downs again deep in Rams territory.
The Irish defense set up a short field for the offense moments later. Defensive lineman Anthony Adkins forced a Trotwood-Madison fumble that was recovered by Bischof at the Rams 29.
A facemask penalty on Trotwood-Madison pushed the ball to the Rams 13. Three plays later, Williams scored from a yard out to increase the Irish lead to 10-0.
Williams and Vince Lockett ran for touchdowns in the second half. The Irish defense had a hand in both scores.
“This is what they’ve done since Day 1,” Boarman said. “They kicked it up a notch today. They definitely kicked it up a notch to where I think we could have played another couple of days and they still wouldn’t have scored.”