It's hard to believe that the high school football season is already halfway over. It's also hard to believe that Friday was the last full day of summer, as it was a perfect example of how I think of football Fridays. It was overcast, cool (but not too cool), and breezy. As I drove through a very small town on Rt. 41 on my way to Springfield, I saw a lady putting pumpkins out in her front yard among her fall flowers and the leaves that had already fallen from the trees, and it seemed like a prototypical fall day.
With this being an away game for Troy, I left work an hour early. This allowed me, despite stops in Bowling Green and Lima, to arrive at the stadium around 7:10, about twenty minutes before kickoff. I normally try to sit on the 50-yard line, but in this case, that was impossible. The visitors' side of North's stadium has an interesting layout--it's actually two sets of bleachers, separated at midfield. This is necessary because of the midfield light standard--on the visitors' side, the light posts are in front of the bleachers, which is something I don't think I've seen before. It made it very dark in the stands, and that made the aluminum bleachers quite an adventure when the rain started coming down.
The North Panthers should have known they were in for a long night when most of their team fell down as they charged onto the field. Things really didn't get any better for them at any point through the game. The Trojans reacted well to their loss to Fairborn last week and came out strong against North. The Panthers seemed to be keying on halfback Corey Brown, who carried just ten times for 22 yards, but that opened things up for everyone else. Fullback Dustin Messer had another stellar game, tallying 148 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Troy also unleashed their passing game, putting the ball in the air a season-high six times (all in the first half). Quarterback Scott Zink completed four of those passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
I have to give props to Trojan safety Wendell Ford, who made perhaps the most heads-up play I've ever seen from a high school defensive back. On a play when a North receiver seemed wide open over the middle, Wendell kept an eye on him while leaving him open, baiting North's QB into attempting the pass. As soon as the QB threw the ball, Wendell broke on it, picking it off just in front of the receiver and taking it to the house.
The win pushes Troy's record to 4-1 and gets them back on track as they head into the second half of the season. The next five games feature some very tough opponents, leaving Troy's playoff hopes alive if they can rack up some wins. This Friday they get back into GWOC North play, traveling to Vandalia to take on the 3-2 Butler Aviators.
A Tale of North vs. South