From start-to-finish, No. 14-ranked Trotwood-Madison wasn't going to be slowed from reaching a fourth straight state championship game. The Rams scored seven touchdowns in a 22-minute span in a 54-7 rout of Clyde Friday night in a Division III state semifinal at Lima Stadium.
No. 12 Clyde finishes the season with a 12-2 record, while Trotwood-Madison (11-2) will face No. 1 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (14-0) in the championship game next weekend.
Rams' quarterback Messiah Deweaver — who already has a scholarship offer from Louisville and interest from a half-dozen other mega powers including Ohio State and Alabama — had the game of his life.
In just 13-plus minutes of action, Deweaver was 16-of-18 passing for 373 yards and six touchdowns. He left the game for good less than three minutes into the third quarter with the Rams leading 47-7.
"With the way we were playing him, we were trying to squeeze the box and take away the run," Clyde coach Ryan Carter said of defending Deweaver. "They were going to throw it, and we were hoping he'd miss a few and we'd be able to make a few plays.
"But they just didn't miss on anything tonight," he added. "They did everything right to do what they did to get a big early lead on us. All the way across the board, that's the best team we've seen this year."
Deweaver and running back Marc Raye-Redmond led the Rams on an impressive 12-play, 85-yard drive to open the game. Deweaver capped it off by finding a wide open Ryan Lucas in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown pass on a third-and-goal from the Clyde 6-yard line with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
The PAT made it 7-0, and after Kei Beckman — another high-profile Division I college recruit — intercepted Clyde's Tim Hoppe at the Ram's 47, Deweaver went back to work. He connected with Demarcus Wilson on the very next play for 42 yards, and three Raye-Redmond runs later, it was 14-0 as the running back scored from a yard out.
Trailing 14-0, the Fliers then had their best chance in the game to dent the scoreboard and make a game of it. On a third-and-7, Hoppe connected with Derek Gray on a 17-yard pass, then found Blake Miller for a 43-yard reception to the T-M 14.
But five plays later, Clyde was faced with a fourth-and-1 at the T-M 7, and Hoppe went to his right on a designed run. As he was getting held up just short of the first down marker, the ball was knocked loose and the Rams got the recovery at their own 5.
In the biggest back-breaking sequence of the game, it took the Rams just five plays to cover 95 yards, with 66 of it coming on a touchdown pass from Deweaver to Wilson that made it 20-0 with 10:14 left in the first half.
Offensively, the Fliers did not have a first down in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Trotwood-Madison added touchdown passes from Deweaver to Dontay White (25 yards) and Wilson (6 yards) that made it 33-0 at halftime.
Things went from bad to worse in a hurry for the Fliers, as they fumbled the opening kickoff at their own 25 to start the second half.
The very next play, Deweaver threw a perfect spiral that hit Kendric Mallory in stride up the right sideline that made it 40-0 less than 10 seconds into the third quarter.
Clyde then went three-and-out, but a low snap and bobbled punt attempt allowed the Rams to take over at the Flier 20. Right on cue, it took the Rams just three plays to make it 47-0 as Deweaver found Lucas again, who caught the ball off a deflection from another teammate.
That ended Deweaver's night with 9:09 left in the third quarter.
"Obviously that's a good team. They've been to the state finals four years in a row, and they beat us in every facet of the game tonight," Carter said of Trotwood-Madison. "It wasn't one thing where you could point to anything and say we had opportunities ... they just beat us.
"We did have an opportunity to punch it in early and make it 14-7 and maybe put more pressure on them, but the bottom line is early on we were in position to make plays on both sides of the ball, and they just made plays over top of us. Everything we were trying to do to them, they took advantage and countered."
Clyde got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, as Miller picked up a fumble and returned it 25 yards to the T-M 13. It took six plays to cover the 13 yards, but it was Damien Coburn scoring from a yard out and Austin Baker's PAT made it 47-7 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.
Trotwood closed out the scoring with a fumble return of its own, as Verondtae Wilkinson picked up a lose ball and scored from 30 yards away with 8:18 left in the game.
For Clyde, Hoppe finished 5-of-15 passing for 72 yards with an interception, with Miller catching two passes for 46 yards. Coburn carried 21 times for 60 yards and Kyle Mange added 43 yards on seven attempts.
It was a rough end to a banner season for the Fliers, but Carter reflected on his team's incredible run. Clyde was coming off a 6-4 season and didn't have a head coach until the calendar was turning to June.
"What we've accomplished this year, I'm just very proud of this group of kids," he said. "I've said this many times, but we started this thing back in June and the kids really didn't know what direction this was going to go.
"They bought into everything we did," he added. "With the run we had and the teams we had to beat, it was pretty special. It was good for our kids and our community."