Friday, August 22, 2008

Troy 17 Chaminade-Julienne 14

Ah, the opening of the high school football season: the time of year when this young man's fancy turns, finally, from thoughts of the hapless Cincinnati Reds to another group of athletes clad in red. Settling down in my familiar seat at Troy Memorial Stadium has a way of clearing everything else out of my mind for at least ten weeks.

It would be tempting to say that the Trojans were lucky to win this game, but I'm not going to say that. Instead I'll point out that they did very well to take advantage of the opportunities that CJ presented to them in the form of penalties and turnovers. Having seen plenty of games in which it was the Trojans making those kinds of mistakes, it was nice to be on the other side for once. In fact, one of the most pleasant aspects of this game was how few penalties the Trojans committed--only three, and I don't think any of them were false starts or illegal motion penalties. That's pretty impressive for any point of the season, but especially for the first game.

In all, Troy played well in all three phases of the game, which is, I suppose, what it takes to put away a good team like CJ. The offense was really clicking in the first half, controlling the clock with long drives, mixing the run and the pass, and putting up a 14-0 halftime lead. They had some trouble in the second half when the Eagles loaded up to stop the run, but they were able to extend some drives when it counted in the 4th quarter, and that was enough to lock up the game. The offense was something of a question mark coming into this season, with halfback Corey Brown taking his considerable talents to Eastern Michigan, but QB Tyler Wright, HB Matt Allen, FB Chris Basil, and a solid corps of receivers should do their share of damage.

That halftime lead forced CJ to essentially abandon their running game and put the game in the hands of their outstanding QB, Kurt Hess. Hess was impressive, mostly keeping his cool under pressure and finding open receivers or pulling the ball down and running with it himself. A lot of credit goes to the Troy defense for making him move around to avoid pressure, getting a couple of sacks, and laying some licks in the secondary. CJ had some athletes on offense, and I can't stress enough what a job the Trojans did in containing them. They'll have to keep scrapping like that as Troy advances through the brutal schedule they'll face this season.

Next Friday the Trojans face their first road test of the season as they travel to take on the Xenia Buccaneers, who were also victorious in Week 1.

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