Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) wanted to go over to his future teammate and give him words of encouragement Friday after his Fighting Irish beat defending champion Trotwood-Madison, 16-12, to claim the Division II state title.
But the future Ohio State safety didn’t get his chance.
There was no “Yeah, we got you,” or anything like that. Just a simple message to Rams cornerback Cam Burrows as the two closed their high school careers and prepared for the next step with the Buckeyes.
“I wanted to tell him congratulations, but I couldn’t,” Thompson said. “I wanted to tell him just keep your head up. He won last year, it was my turn.”
Thompson and Central Catholic held a Trotwood-Madison squad that averaged 246 yards rushing to 99, most of that coming in the fourth quarter. The Irish jumped out early and then held on as Trotwood-Madison scored the final 12 points.
But most of all, Thompson did it with the tenacity that made him a future Buckeye.
Thompson only had three tackles, but the 6-foot-2, 183-pound senior was the one forcing Messiah Deweaver and Austin Howell into bad passes and had the Rams running away from him. Thompson also delivered on a goal to end the Fighting Irish’s 7-year state championship drought.
The Fighting Irish have reached the postseason every year since the 2005 title and last season after lost to eventual runner-up Avon in the second round. Thompson was determined to pick up his teammates, hit the weight room and deliver during the season.
It translated into a title and a memory Thompson won’t ever forget.
“The team came out and did everything we had to do,” Thompson said. “We executed the game plan. “We knew we wouldn’t be able to hold them, but like we have all year we battled through adversity. We knew they had a young quarterback. We wanted to see how he handled the pressure. We stayed calm and executed. It was just punch, punch, punch and knock them out.”
The knockout came early and it came courtesy of Thompson, who stuffed Israel Green on a fourth-and-2 from the Trotwood-Madison 44 with 1:39 left in the second quarter.
Ohio State target DeShone Kizer stepped in and led a five-play drive to make it 14-0 in what turned out to be the only points Central Catholic needed.
As he walked off the field, Thompson took one more look back.
“We’ve been through this before,” he said. “It’s amazing. I’ve never had a better feeling. It’s the best feeling of my life.”