Central Catholic captured it’s second Division II state football championship in school history by defeating last year’s champion Trotwood-Madison 16-12 November 30, at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, Ohio.

Their first title came in 2005 in a thrilling 31-29 win over Canfield.

The Fighting Irish (14-1) dominated the game for the first three quarters leading 16-0 but then had to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally by the ninth-ranked Rams (12-3) to win the DII title.

Fourth-ranked Central Catholic got two second quarter scores from senior running back Amir Edwards on runs of three and eight yards respectively.  Edwards finished the game with 185 rushing yards on 38 carries.  He completed his final season for the Irish with 269 rushes for 1,777 yards (6.6 yards/carry).

Central’s final two points came on safety at the 7:27 mark of the third quarter when sophomore linebacker Chris Green shot a gap in the line on a blitz to tackle Trotwood-Madison freshman quarterback Messiah DeWeaver in the end zone.

However, the defending champions, who were making their third consecutive appearance in the title game, were not about to concede the victory.

With less than three minutes expired in the final quarter, Trotwood-Madison scored on a 13-yard pass play from DeWeaver to sophomore wide receiver Ryon Lucas.  The two-point conversion failed.

The Rams scored again with 2:38 remaining in the game when senior backup quarterback Austin Howell hit junior wide receiver Demarcus Wilson for a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull Trotwood-Madison to within four points of the lead at 16-12 after an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt failed.

On the ensuing kickoff the Rams attempted an on-side kick but the ball went out of bounds giving the Fighting Irish possession at their own 48 yard line. 

Central Catholic, which was not able to get a first down, was forced to punt giving the Rams one final opportunity from deep in their own territory at the 12-yard line with 46 seconds remaining on the clock.   

On their first play of the drive, Trotwood-Madison’s Howell, who seemed to spark the Ram’s offense, scrambled 17 yards for a first down to the Ram’s 29-yard line.  But their drive was halted four plays later when a crucial fourth down measurement came up inches shy of the first down marker with only six seconds showing on the game clock.

Seeing that the ball was short of the first down Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey thrust his arms heavenward and leaped into the air as his players and coaches erupted into jubilant celebration on the sideline with the realization that they had just won the state championship.

“It feels just as good as it did seven years ago,” 13th-year Irish head coach Greg Dempsey told Toledo Blade sports writer Steve Junga during the post-game celebration.  “It’s even better seeing these kids going through this for the first time. I’m proud of our team and our staff.”

Less than 24 hours later, more than 1,200 faithful welcomed their beloved Fighting Irish football team and it’s newest addition to the school’s trophy case back to
Toledo with a pep rally at the Sullivan Center.

According to the Toledo Blade, Central coach Dempsey told the energetic crown, “It’s been a crazy 18 hours, with very little sleep.  It’s a little overwhelming to see so many people.”

Addressing his team, Dempsey said: “It’s amazing, what else can you say. You said you were going to win a state championship, and you did it.”

Related Articles:

Central Catholic dominates in DII state championship final  toledoblade.com  12/1/2012

Rams coach 2nd-guesses own decision that led to key Central Catholic TD, state tile win  toledoblade.com  12/1/2012

Central Catholic celebrates state championship with fans  toledoblade.com  12/2/2012

OHSAA Division II State Football Game Statistics

Central Catholic players and coaches pose for a team photograph after winning the state Division II football championship.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey celebrates his team's victory.

Central Catholic cheerleaders hold up the banner that the Fighting Irish team will run through for the final time this season.

Central Catholic students show their support for the Irish nation.

Central Catholic students mug for the television camera during the game.

Central Catholic cheeleaders smile for the camera during the game.

Central Catholic seniors Cedric Gray (left) and Amir Edwards (right) pray before the start of the game.

Central Catholic coach Mike Boyle gives final instructions to senior Cedric Gray (7) before the start of the game.

A Central Catholic student demonstrates her school spirti during the game.

Central Catholic senior defensive back Jayme Thompson (8) scrambles for a loose ball fumbled by Trotwood-Madison freshman quarterback Messiah DeWeaver (10) during the first quarter of the game.

Central Catholic sophomore linebacker Chris Green (45) reacts to a Fighting Irish defensive stop in the first quarter of the game.

Central Catholic senior running back Amir Edwards (20) is gang-tackled by the Trotwood-Madison defense during the first quarter of the game.

Central Catholic senior running back Amir Edwards (20) runs with the ball.

Central Catholic senior tight end Keith Towbridge (89) prepares to be tackled by the Trotwood-Madison defense during the second quarter of the game.

Central Catholic junior wide receiver Derich Weiland (24) stretches out to catch a pass.

Central Catholic senior defensive backs Jayme Thompson (8) and Mitch Cochell (18) tackle Trotwood-Madison running back Israel Green (3) during the first quarter.

Central Catholic senior running back Amir Edwards (20) carries the ball.

Central Catholic senior running back Amir Edwards (20) darts past a Trotwood-Madison defender.

Central Catholic senior center Jeff Dew (60) anchors the Fighting Irish offensive line.

Central Catholic junior wide receiver Derich Weiland (24) carries the ball during the second quarter of the game.

The Central Catholic defense was relentless throughout the game.

Central Catholic defensive backs Jayme Thompson (8) and Tejuan James (27) smother Trotwood-Madison running back Israel Green (3) during the second quarter of the game.

Central Catholic senior defensive lineman Jeff Dew (60) puts pressure on Trotwood-Madison quarterback Messiah DeWeaver (10).

Central Catholic students show their support for their team.

A view of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Central Catholic defensive coordinator Nick Toth talks with his defensive players during the third quarter.

Central Catholic sophomore linebacker Chris Green (45) sacks Trotwood-Madison quarterback Messiah DeWeaver (10) in the end zone for a safety.

Central Catholic junior linebacker Paul Moses (5) and senior defensive lineman Jon Perrin (50) tackle Trotwood-Madison running back Israel Green (3) during the fourth quarter of the game.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey during the final minutes of the game.

Central Catholic players Zach Wambold (44), Jacob Nowak (66), Cody Gibbs (76), and Chandler Rygalski (87) watch intently as the officials measure for a Trotwood-Madison first down in the final seconds of the game.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey rejoices after a crucial fourth down measurement for Trotwood-Madison came up short with six seconds remaining in the game.

Central Catholic senior running back Amir Edwards (20) gets emotional as he hugs running backs coach Mike Boyle after the Fighting Irish captured the state DII football title.

Central Catholic senior quarterback Sean Sullivan (15) celebrates winning the state DII football champsionship.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey (right) and defensive coordinator Nick Toth embrace on the sideline after their team captured the state Division II football title.

Central Catholic seniors Jeff Dew (60), Mitch Cochell (18), Amir Edwards (20), and Ian Butler (34) celebrate winning the state DII football championship.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey stands with his players on the awards platform and salutes the Fighting Irish fans and supporters that are cheering them on.

The Central Catholic football players race past "Lucky", the school mascot, to celebrate their victory with their fellow students.

Central Catholic players slap hands with their supporters in the stands after the game.

Central Catholic's pastoral leader Father Dennis Hartigan addresses the team after the game.

Central Catholic's pastoral leader Father Dennis Hartigan leads the Fighting Irish team in prayer after the game for the final time this season.

Central Catholic players pose for a team photograph with Father Dennis Hartigan, the school's pastoral leader and the state champsionship trophy.

Central Catholic seniors John Kookoothe (2), Gary Easterly (4), Ian Butler (34), Jon Balcerzak (16), and Chandler Rygalski (87) pose with the state DII championship trophy after the game.

Central Catholic head coach Greg Dempsey poses for photographs holding the state Division II football championship trophy. This is his second state championship. His first DII title was in 2005.

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