Badin looks to continue playoff run vs. perennial power Trotwood-Madison

Badin’s Zach Switzer carries the ball during their first round playoff football game against Ross Friday, Nov. 9, 2019 at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. Badin won 46-14 to advance to the next round. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Badin’s Zach Switzer carries the ball during their first round playoff football game against Ross Friday, Nov. 9, 2019 at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. Badin won 46-14 to advance to the next round. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The Badin High School football team isn’t satisfied with a one-game improvement from last year.

While it’s been a rewarding season, the fourth-seeded Rams (9-3) are hoping to keep it going Friday when they meet No. 7 Trotwood-Madison (9-3) in the Division III, Region 12 final at Miamisburg High School.

Badin, which went 5-5 in coach Nick Yordy’s first season in 2017, exited in the regional semifinals last year to finish 8-4 and this year is seeking the program’s first Final Four appearance since 1998.

“Our whole team, once we get that swagger, it’s hard to take it away,” senior running back Alex DeLong said. “Once we get going, we’re hard to stop. Our confidence level is high and hard to bring down. We just want to keep this going as long as we can.”

Badin is on quite the roll, having outscored its two playoff opponents 84-35.

After opening the season with a pair of losses, the Rams switched to a spread offense and have won nine of 10 since then, including avenging their Week 1 overtime loss to Ross two weeks ago in the opening round of the playoffs. They also won a rematch of last year’s second-round loss to Alter last week to advance to their first regional final since 2013 when they lost to West Jefferson 17-6 on a bitterly cold and snowy night.

“The level of focus our kids have week after week is what got us to this point,” Yordy said. “We had to win some games at the end of the regular season to get to the playoffs, and once we got here our level of focus and being locked in, coming out and executing in the games has been really impressive.”

Beating Trotwood-Madison won’t be easy.

Trotwood beat St. Mary’s Memorial 41-7 to advance, and the Rams know what it takes to stay alive at this point in the season. They have been to eight state semifinals since 2010, only missing last year, and they’ve won two titles (2017 and 2011) and finished as runners-up four times in that span.

“They are a very good football team,” Yordy said. “They are fast, athletic. They’ve been in this situation a lot the past couple years, so they are used to it, used to playing Week 13, so maybe that’s a little advantage in that aspect, but we are preparing for a tough, physical game. We have to focus more so on ourselves. We can’t worry too much about them and what they do. We have to focus on executing our game plan, and if we do that, we have a chance.”

Badin is led by senior quarterback Zach Switzer, who has thrown for 1,631 yards and 19 touchdowns with five interceptions, and DeLong, who accounts for 1,407 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns. Josh Hegemann and Marshal Flaig have been the top receivers, as the team averages 309.3 yards and 28.6 points per game. The defense has allowed 202.1 yards per game and opponents are averaging just 10.6 points against Badin.

Yordy believes the balance of his offense makes it difficult to stop, but the running game could be especially important as Trotwood is accustomed to playing a lot of pass-oriented teams in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

“They are very big,” Yordy said. “Their size is comparable to Ross up front, so they can load the box, but they play a lot of passing teams so it will be interesting to see if they try to focus on stopping the run or the pass.”

Trotwood allows 250.1 yards and 14.2 points per game but its offense has shown some balance as well.

Cooper Stewart has thrown for 1,533 yards and 16 touchdowns with four interceptions, sending most of his passes toward Carl Blanton Jr., who has 605 yards and eight touchdowns on 29 catches. Hezekiah Hudson-Davis adds 1,109 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

“They have a good quarterback, good wide receivers that allow them to take shots down the field,” Yordy said. “They throw deep and have kids that can make plays. If you’re going to try to load the box to stop their run, they will go over top, and if you back up and try to stop the deep ball, you give them the ability to run up the middle, so it’s going to be a battle. The kids are excited. It’s a heck of an opportunity to go up there and compete Friday night for sure.”

The winner of Friday’s game will play the Columbus Hartley-Jonathan Alder winner in the Final Four on Nov. 29. Badin last made it to state in 1998 with a double overtime win over Edgewood in a Division III regional final, but the Rams went on to lose 27-10 to Columbus DeSales in the state semifinals.

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