Saturday, September 18, 2004

Troy 28 Sidney 14

Right off the top, I want to compliment the town of Sidney on their great new football stadium. I like it a lot. Being right behind the high school, it's easy to find and get to (the old one is in a different part of town altogether), and there's plenty of parking. It's just a great setting for high school football. The one complaint I have is the same complaint I have about most high school stadiums--the field runs north/south, and the visitor's side faces west. This means that during the early part of the game, the sun is shining directly into our eyes. That's not a very big deal at all, though, especially since the stadium itself is so nice.

I actually arrived at the stadium well before the game started, allowing me to see my first opening kickoff of the season. Amy and Doug met me there, but this time they didn't get there until after the game started. By the time they got there, Troy was already up 6-0.

Troy looked unstoppable on their first drive. The offensive line was blowing Sidney's defenders off the ball, and tailback Cody Boyd was going for big yards. He scored the first touchdown (the two-point conversion attempt failed), and the appearance of dominance continued when the defense took over...for two plays. Then Sidney's offense started gashing the defense for big yards. They drove down and scored easily to take the 7-6 lead. Troy's offense then stalled, and Sidney ripped their way down the field again to go up 14-6. After the Trojans gave up the ball yet again, it looked like we were on our way to another long night.

However, on the next drive, Shane Carter stepped up and picked off a Sidney pass and made an awesome return. Part of it was called back due to a penalty, but Troy was able to drive the ball into the endzone on offense. They got the two-point conversion, and the halftime score was tied at 14.

After that interception, Troy's defense really stepped up and started stuffing Sidney's offense. They didn't score again. Troy's offense still had some trouble moving the ball, but the Trojans took the lead when Sidney's punt returned muffed a punt and Troy's Ryan Asher scooped it up and dragged a Sidney player into the endzone for a touchdown. They'd tack on another offensive touchdown (after another Sidney turnover) for the final score of 28-14.

I was encouraged by the way this game went. Aside from those two drives early in the game, Troy's defense looked really good. The offense was a little inconsistent, looking dominant at times and struggling at others. They didn't have any turnovers, though, and they capitalized when Sidney did. They also didn't kill themselves with penalties. They still have room to improve, but this is much closer to how they should look on the field.

Troy is now 2-2, 1-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC). They return home next week for a game against Greenville and their first-year head coach Doug Zimmer. Coach Zimmer is a former assistant coach and athletic director at Troy, and he's done good things with Greenville so far. It'll be interesting to see if he's done enough to beat his old team. I certainly hope not.

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