Rams have raised a high bar

It has been the dominance of Trotwood-Madison that has consumed the majority of headlines for the GWOC North over the past decade. The Rams have been the class of the division and nothing seems to get in the way of their path. With some brilliant individual performances by rising stars to end 2014 Trotwood-Madison may be in for a more competitive horn-butting from league foes.


Here is a closer look at some of the GWOC North’s top returnees and its teams this season.

It takes the best: In the last six seasons Trotwood-Madison has lost to the eventual state champion in the playoffs five times. Three of those in the finals, to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in ’13, Toledo Central Catholic in ’12 and to Maple Heights in ‘10. The Rams lost to Winton Woods in the Regional finals in ’09. They fell this season in the state semi-finals to Toledo Central Catholic. Trotwood-Madison beat Avon for their only state title in ’11.

Green Wave turns tide: The first two years of GWOC North were tough for Greenville the conference’s smallest enrollment school. The Green Wave went a combined 1-9 in GWOC North play between the 2012 and ’13 campaigns. They headed into division play in ’15 with a 1-4 mark but then Greenville found its groove going 4-1 to finish in second place in the GWOC North.

The Byrd is the word: Running back Codi Byrd had a breakout junior season for Greenville in ’14. Byrd ran for 1,026 yards and seven touchdowns. Over the last five weeks of the season he averaged 162 yards on the ground as the Green Wave went 4-1.

Aviators passing attack grounded: Butler quarterback Chandler Craine was a First Team All-GWOC North selection as a junior last fall but he knows there is room for improvement. The Aviators are 5-8 in his last 13 starts. In that span, Craine has thrown 20 interceptions and just 10 touchdowns. Three times he has thrown four picks in a game.

The Piqua pounder: Head coach Bill Nees has to like what he sees in running back Darien Tipps-Clemons. As a sophomore Tipps-Clemons finished strong for Piqua. He had four straight 100 yard games for the Indians on the ground to end ’14. Tipps-Clemons ran for 495 yards on 62 carries with seven touchdowns during that span.

Withstanding the stampede: Seven times in the first eight contests last fall Piqua gave up 21 points or more leading to a 3-5 start. The Indians lost the last three of those by seven points each.

In the Nic of time: The return of Nic Martin to the Butler lineup in 2014 could not have come at a better time. Martin who lost most of his sophomore season because of injuries returned with a fury. He was named Division II Third Team All-Ohio at linebacker while also rushing for 10 touchdowns for the Aviators offense.

Running by the Yellow Jackets: Sidney who went 0-5 to finish last in the GWOC North a season ago gave up 303.8 yards per game on the ground rushing. That averages out to more than 75 yards per quarter. They gave up 11 touchdown runs of 20 yards or more including seven of 40 or longer.

Returning no favors: Sidney gave up nine touchdowns on returns in 2014. Four via interception, two on fumble recoveries, two kickoffs and one on a punt. The Yellow Jackets gave up 299 points 54 on touchdowns of which the defense was not responsible.

Sad Sidney: The last five years of GWOC North football have not been kind to Sidney. The Yellow jackets have gone a combined 2-21 within the division during that span.

Trojans looking for horses: Troy had a hard time of finding the endzone last season. The Trojans scored 14 points or fewer nine times, were shutout on three occasions the first seven weeks, had only 12 touchdowns and 95 total points.

The fall of Troy: Over the past three seasons Troy has gone a combined 8-22 including 1-9 in ’15. Prior to the skid the Trojans had back-to-back eight win campaigns in ’10 and ’11.

The Bair essentials: One bright spot for Troy a year ago was the play of Jared Bair on both sides of the line. Over the last seven weeks of his junior season he was in on 44 total tackles and registered two and a half sacks on his way to Second Team all-GWOC North honors.

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