The high school football season has begun at last. This is the time of year I look forward to more than any other, so much so that it seems a little surreal now that it's here. I actually made it to the game in time for kickoff, a feat I didn't accomplish last year until week four. Given that the game was in Columbus and I left Toledo at 5:00, I felt pretty good about making it.
Unfortunately, that good feeling didn't carry very far into the game. Troy killed themselves with mistakes, especially early on. Penalties, turnovers, and just bad plays gave Coffman an early advantage, and the Trojans were never able to recover. They did get themselves righted somewhat and played better as the game went on, but by then it was too late. It may not have mattered anyway, as Coffman clearly had an advantage in speed, but it definitely would have been a more interesting game if the Trojans hadn't shot themselves in the foot from the start.
The things I read about this Troy team prior to the season seem to be true. They have a lot of talent, especially on offense, but will hurt themselves with mistakes and inexperience. If they can grow up some in the next couple of weeks, they can make some noise when conference play starts. If not, it could be a long year.
I didn't have a roster in front of me on Friday night, so I can't really make too many specific comments. One player that did stand out, because his name was mentioned so many times over the loudspeaker, was safety Evan Swank. I believe he led the Trojans in tackles with about ninety-four. Okay, so he probably didn't have that many, but he did seem to be in on just about every play defensively. The thing that stood out the most about his play is that he didn't just try to tackle people, he actually brought some wood and hit them as well as wrapping them up. That's something that Troy's defense is sorely lacking, so hopefully his enthusiasm (and his technique) will rub off on the rest of the team.
Outside of the game itself, it was nice to be back in a Troy football crowd, seeing some familiar faces. Troy brought a pretty decent crowd--we didn't have as many as the home team, of course, but the disparity didn't seem too pronounced given the driving distance. Coffman has a pretty nice stadium, with perhaps the nicest high school field I've seen. I suspect that it it some of the next-generation Astroturf that's popping up all over the place. I don't know how old the stadium is, but the ongoing construction tells me it's either new or under renovation. As nice as it is, it always bothers me when a stadium doesn't have concession stands and restroom facilities that are equally accessible to both the home and visitors' stands. Both were located on the home side exclusively. Of course, as I mentioned, there is still construction going on, so these items may be planned for the future.
This coming Friday, Troy gets their first home game as they take on the Wildcats of Springfield South. Hopefully the Trojans can correct some of their mistakes and make this a better contest.