OHSAA DIII preview: SVSM vs. Trotwood-Madison

Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio and FoxSportsOhio.com are your homes for the 42nd annual OHSAA state football championship games from Stark County. Seven championships will be decided this weekend in Canton and Massillon, including five of 2012’s champions seeking a repeat performance.

FoxSportsOhio.com’s Zac Jackson and Kevin Goheen preview the games, starting with Thursday night’s Division III matchup between Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Trotwood-Madison.

*All games broadcast on SportsTime Ohio and will be available in SW Ohio on Time Warner Cable channel 99.

DIVISION III

Who: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (14-0) vs. Trotwood-Madison (11-2)

Where: Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

AP Rankings: St. V-M No. 1; Trotwood-Madison No. 14

Key players: St. V-M – RB/CB Parris Campbell, LB Dante Booker, RB/LB Newman Williams, DL Travonte Junius, DL Aaron Adkins, DL Tony Adkins, RB/LB Vince Lockett; Trotwood-Madison – QB Messiah deWeaver, DB Kei Beckham, RB Mark Reye-Redmond, RB Breland Cospy, LB Keiran Winn, WR Kendric Mallory.

Key stat: Campbell has 1,584 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns for St. V-M. If anything, he’s actually been underworked given the number of blowout victories the Irish have wrapped up by halftime; Beckham has forced eight turnovers in four playoff games — three fumble recoveries and five interceptions — and keys the first secondary St. V-M has seen in the postseason that has the speed to keep up with Campbell when he breaks the first line of defense.

What to watch: Trotwood-Madison has lost just once on the field; it forfeited its season opener for using an ineligible player and had zero margin for error in making a push for the playoffs. The defense has been very good as the Rams have limited each of their four playoff opponents to seven points. Though he’s just a sophomore, deWeaver calls his own plays at the line of scrimmage. He hasn’t seen a pair of linebackers as talented as Booker and Williams on the other side, and St. V-M makes it difficult for opponents to convert short-yardage situations. There probably won’t be a ton of points scored, but this shapes up as potentially the best game of the weekend given the talent on hand and the way both teams are playing coming in. Both have big-stage experience as St. V-M is looking to defend its title and Trotwood-Madison, which dropped from Div. II, is in the title game for the fourth straight season.