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Central Catholic wins Ohio Div II State Championship

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After rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns, Amir Edwards wanted to talk about defense.
    
Toledo Central Catholic won its second Division II state football championship by beating defending champion Trotwood-Madison 16-12 on Friday night on the strength of Edwards' running and a stout defensive effort.
    
"Staying focused on both sides of the ball was key," Edwards said. "We knew they were good. We had to match them, and we did."
    
The Fighting Irish (14-1) held Trotwood-Madison running back Israel Green to 56 yards on 14 carries. A year ago, Green had 326 yards and six touchdowns when the Rams won the title.
    
Coach Greg Dempsey praised the defense, saying it "rose up."
    
"To hold (Green) back the way we did is spectacular," Dempsey said. "Trotwood-Madison made plays, but our kids were in the right place every time."
    
The biggest was a fourth-down stop with 1:39 left in the first half. Central Catholic stopped the Rams from getting the 2 yards they needed and took over at the Trotwood-Madison 42. Edwards scored from 8 yards just five plays later for a 14-0 lead.
    
"That one's on me," Rams coach Maurice Douglass said. "We should have punted, and I'll take responsibility. We can man up and do that."
    
Dempsey said it was the turning point.
    
"It was beyond huge," he said. "You look back, and that was the game."
    
Irish tackle Jon Perrin Jr. didn't second-guess the Rams' decision.
    
"I wasn't surprised they went for it," said the 305-pound senior. "It's the state championship, so why not go? But we made a real big play."
    
Trotwood-Madison (12-3) got a pair of touchdown passes from Messiah Deweaver in the fourth quarter. He hit Ryon Lucas from 13 yards with 9:20 to play and connected with Demarcus Wilson from 24 yards with 2:38 left.
    
Dempsey fretted about nearly blowing the lead.
    
"I was extremely worried that I would not be allowed on the bus," Dempsey said. "It was as nerve-racking as it could be."
    
Toledo Central Catholic's only loss this season was a 42-0 rout by Toledo Whitmer on the final week of the regular season. Whitmer (14-0) will play for the Division I title Saturday night in Canton.
    
Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer called the loss "the most important thing that happened all season."
    
"We knew we had to step it up in the playoffs, that we were not invincible like maybe we thought," he said.
    
Trotwood-Madison failed to cross midfield until the fourth quarter.
    
"I'm sad for my seniors because I felt we deserved to win," Douglass said.
    
Toledo Central Catholic also won the title in 2005.

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