Saturday, October 23, 2004

Troy 31 Kettering Fairmont 12

Troy keeps playoff hopes flickering

Aside from possible playoff games, this was Troy's final road game of the season. It feels so strange to type that, so strange to think that the season is nearly over. I look forward to high school football season all year long, and then it passes by so quickly. As much as I love Troy Memorial Stadium, I have an equal fondness for going to Troy games as the visitor. I like checking out other stadiums, and I also really enjoy the crowds--generally only the people that really care travel to away games.

I hadn't been to a game at Fairmont's stadium before, so I was excited to check it out. This used to be a pretty big rivalry game back in the day, but the two teams hadn't met (last year aside, as the game was played in Troy) for quite some time. I enjoyed the stadium. It's an older stadium, and the visitor's side is nothing more than wooden benches mounted on concrete stands. It's also in a nice setting, in the middle of a neighborhood, with plenty of trees on each side. Of course, the lack of parking lots in the vicinity is something of a problem, but one that we managed to solve without too much trouble.

The game went well for the Trojans, despite an inauspicious beginning. They moved the ball well after the opening kickoff, only to fumble it away before they could score. The defense played really well all game long, though. Fairmont's Cameron Campeau is one of the best running backs in the Dayton area, but the Trojans held him to just 34 yards on 19 carries. As he goes, so goes Fairmont's offense, so that was pretty much the ballgame right there.

The other outstanding back in the game, Troy's Cody Boyd had a slow start. Fairmont's defense was obviously keying on him, and they did a good job of wrapping him up and not letting him break tackles. While he got going, Troy had to rely more on their passing game. I was happy to see them do well with it. Shane Carter had five catches for 100 yards in the first half, and quarterback A.J. Bush did a nice job of finding receivers and evading pressure. In the second half, Boyd was able to get on track and find some running lanes, and he finished the game with 174 yards.

This was a big win for the Trojans, who bring their record to 6-3. They're now ranked 7th in Ohio's Harbin computer rankings for Region 3, with the top eight teams in each region advancing to the playoffs after the regular season ends. Even if Troy wins the final game, it's possible that they can be overtaken and left out of the playoffs, but being in this position is a good sign for now. It all depends on how next week plays out.

The Trojans finish out the regular season this Friday at home against the Trotwood-Madison Rams. The Rams are 3-6, so the Trojans just need to take care of business and then hope that everything else plays out in their favor.

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