Sweet, sweet victory.
I had a pretty good feeling going into this one. After all the near misses and heartbreaking losses throughout the first eight weeks of the season, it was time for some things to go the Trojans' way.
Of course, that good feeling was nearly erased early on in the game. Troy received the opening kickoff, then promptly went three-and-out. After Piqua scored on a long catch and run to go up 7-0, the Trojans put together a nice drive...which ended when the Indians recovered a fumble. They then drove down the field and went up 14-0, and it looked like the game was going to be over early.
The Trojans didn't quit, though. I noticed early on that T.J. White, normally the left tackle, was lining up next to right tackle Jake Current, and they were clearing some space for the always impressive Corey Brown. That got the offense on track, to say the least, and when Tyler Wright hit Ben McGillvary in the endzone with no time left on the clock in the first half to tie the game at 14, the good feeling was back.
That didn't mean the second half was easy, though. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time...when I wasn't jumping up and down and screaming like an idiot, that is. It went back and forth until the final gun sounded. It seemed like Troy might have gotten the break they needed when they were able to block an extra point attempt by Piqua, but the Indians were able to convert for two points on their next TD, which made the score 35-28 with 6:31 to play.
And that's when the beauty of Troy's ground-heavy offense showed itself. Behind Current and White, the Trojans gashed away at Piqua's tough defense, and Brown finally punched it in from three yards out with 26 seconds left. They then took a timeout to think things over, but the decision from the crowd was instantaneous: we wanted the Trojans to go for two, and the win.
That was the call, and it was very nearly a disaster. Wright was nearly sacked almost immediately, but he happened to see McGillvary all alone in the back of the endzone, and he was able to get the ball to him.
Okay, so it wasn't quite that tidy. Twenty-six seconds still gave Piqua an opportunity to get into field goal position. After a good kick return, they had three snaps left in them. The Trojan defense was able to hold them off, and this year the rivalry goes to the good guys.
It was an incredible game all around, probably the best Troy-Piqua game I've seen (and I've seen some good ones since I started going in '92). The Trojans rode their horse to victory--Brown finished the night with 45 carries for 317 yards and 4 TDs. The defense also put in quite an effort, doing just an enough to slow down Piqua's terrifyingly diverse offense. This was a total team effort, and I can't say enough about how impressed I am with how hard these guys fought.
The rivalry now stands at 59-58-6 in favor of Piqua. The win puts the Trojans at 4-5 with a chance to finish the season with an even record. They travel to Huber Heights this Friday to close out the season with the Wayne Warriors (7-2).