Sunday, September 25, 2005

Troy 26 Kettering Fairmont 14

It's hard to believe that the high school football season is already 50% finished. I shouldn't be surprised at this point, as it's always like this. I wait impatiently all year for the beginning of a new season, and then when it comes, it passes in a flash. I wouldn't mind so much, perhaps, if the weekdays between the games passed quickly as well, but it doesn't work that way. The individual days drag by as slowly as always, and yet somehow the season flies by. I don't get it.

This game was much more evenly matched than the records indicated going in. The visiting Trojans came to Kettering with a 3-1 record, while the hosting Firebirds were 1-3, having won their first game of the season the previous week. It would have been easy for Troy to expect a cakewalk in this one and end up getting rolled instead.

It was quite a contest, and turned into quite a gut check for the men of Troy. A couple of starters went down with injuries, but Troy still managed to get up early, 13-0. As the game moved toward halftime, though, Fairmont started to mount a comeback. Their offense, with tailback Cameron Campeau leading the way, started to click, and they put up 7 before the break.

The momentum stayed with them once halftime ended, as well. The Trojans couldn't find an answer for the Firebirds' ground game, and Fairmont went up 14-13. Keeping the ball on the ground kept the clock running, and as Troy's offense sputtered when they had the ball, they went on another long drive into the fourth quarter that looked to put the Trojans away for the night.

Instead, Troy's defense stepped up and turned the tide of the game. On fourth and three from Troy's ten-yard line, the d-line stuffed Campeau short of the mark. Troy took over and marched down the field for the go-ahead score. There was still time left for another Fairmont drive, however, so the defense had to continue to play tough. They did so, as linebacker Sam Fulker picked off a pass to get the ball back to the Trojan offense. From there, fullback Dan McCormick scored his fourth touchdown of the night to create the final cushion.

It was incredible to watch Troy's defense come together to get a couple of stops when they absolutely needed them. I can't emphasize enough how clutch they were. Campeau is one of the best backs in the Dayton area, and they did a great job of containing him. Sure, he got his yards--157 of them--but it took him 35 carries, and he took some punishment. That's not to take anything away from him or his team, though. They played hard and had Troy on the ropes. They were a solid team, and I think the second half of their season will go better than the first.

I also have to say that Fairmont's stadium is very, very nice. They're undergoing some renovations right now, and it will definitely be one of the best stadiums around when they're finished. It's already great with them still underway. The visiting stands provide a great vantage point for a game--they're relatively steep, and with no track surrounding the field, it felt like we were right on top of the action. With Fairmont being in the other division of the conference, I have no way of knowing when Troy will visit there again, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Next week the Trojans, now 4-1, travel to Riverside to take on Stebbins in a mid-season non-conference game. The Indians are 2-3 and should provide Troy a chance to get tuned up before Piqua pays a visit to Troy Memorial the following week.

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