MASSILLON — Trotwood-Madison gave Paul Brown Tiger Stadium enough Green energy to make Al Gore smile.
Isreal Green, the Rams’ tenatious little running back, set a Division II championship game record with 326 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 35 carries in Trotwood-Madison’s 42-28 victory over Avon on Friday night.
That’s 9.3 yards per attempt. His backfield mate, Ashton Jackson, added 81 yards on 16 carries. The Rams had 436 yards on the ground.
But while Trotwood-Madison was going Green, Avon’s running game was making the Eagles’ blue.
Avon managed only 1 yard rushing. Ross Douglas had 11 yards, with a long run of 7. The Eagles lost 9 yards on a botched field goal attempt. Other than that, it was still 10 yards on seven carries.
“We thought we needed to run,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “Unfortunately, we fell behind, and when we tried to run the ball we weren’t successful.”
Without a running game, the Eagles had to go to the pass a state-championship record 50 times.
“We wanted to be more balanced,” Elder added. “I’m disappointed in that aspect.”
“We had the holes, but they (Trotwood-Madison) would sweep out (the running backs’) legs,” left tackle Ryan Byrne said. “That was what our ballcarriers told us. Someone would always just barely get a hand in there and make the play. We couldn’t figure out what went wrong.”
It was a little easier to figure out what the issue was when Trotwood had the ball. The Rams’ offensive line is enormous — and quick — and simply too much to handle for the undersized Eagles.
“He’s a great back,” Elder said of Green. “He’s a great back running behind a 296-pound (average) line and a 257-pound fullback (Darion Heath). My kids stood in there strong, but it’s simply physics.”
Lawrence Mosley, a 6-foot-4, 328-pounder who is leaning toward attending Ohio State next year, was the dominant force on the Trotwood line.
“In terms of weight we’re not the biggest team,” Avon linebacker Tyler Lance said. “We rely on technique and heart. When you go up against guys 100 pounds heavier, it’s not easy.”
But it was more than the Rams manhandling Avon at the line of scrimmage. Green rarely went down on the first hit. If the linemen gave him 3 yards every time with their push, Green would get 4 or 5 more yards by dragging tacklers. It usually took close to the entire defense to bring him down.
That was, if he wasn’t breaking every tackle and busting huge gains. He did that twice in the first quarter, slipping away from multiple tackles for a 54-yard gain before Douglas pushed him out of bounds at the Avon 1-yard line, and doing the same thing on a 74-yard touchdown run on which he appeared to be stopped twice before pulling a Houdini act.
“We knew how hard he ran, but you don’t know how big he is until you try to tackle him,” safety Matt Holkenborg said.
Green packs 200 pounds into his 5-9 body. Oh, and he’s only a junior.
“He’s stocky,” Holkenborg added. “He has a low center of gravity. He has those big legs like Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens (running back).”
With Green and Jackson pounding away, the Rams had little need to pass.
They didn’t throw at all in the second half. They didn’t do it on a 97-yard touchdown drive in the second period that made the score 28-7. They used 13 running plays in 7:10 between the third and fourth quarters to go 56 yards for their final touchdown of the night, coming with 6:35 to play.
Green had one other long run, and he didn’t have to escape any would-be tacklers to get it. On fourth-and-1 from the Avon 38, Green and the rest of the offense caught the Eagles stacking the middle in anticipation of another of Green’s bullish thrusts into the center of the line. Instead, Green took the ball around a wide-open left side and ran to the end zone.
“We had a miscommunication in the secondary,” linebacker Matt Tomlin said. “We knew we had to keep him inside. A great back like him is going to break a few long ones. We knew the defense had to fly around. I think we made him earn his yards.”
But earn them he did, and it was those yards that were what the Rams needed to get their first state championship.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.