Friday, August 29, 2008

Troy 56 Xenia 21

OK so,

Look, I'm in the running for the title of "World's Biggest Trojan Fan (Non-Parent Division)," and I will generally use any excuse at this point of the season to be wildly and unreasonably optimistic, but even I didn't see this performance coming.

The opening kickoff was delayed for an hour by lightning in the area. When the officials gave the go-ahead to get started, they apparently didn't realize that the lightning had not, in fact, left the area; it simply materialized itself in the guise of the Trojan offense. Justin Bunch returned the opening kickoff to midfield; QB Tyler Wright ran the ball about halfway to the endzone on the first play from scrimmage; and HB Matt Allen took it to the house on the next play. Xenia fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Trojans recovered and shortly put another TD on the board, and the rout was on from there.

Game previews emphasized the difference in size between the Trojan and Buccaneer squads, and that was right on the money--some of Xenia's skill players looked to be bigger than Troy's linemen. For all of that, the Trojans had no trouble whatsoever pushing Xenia's defense around. They rushed for 231 yards (184 by Matt Allen) just in the first half en route to a 42-0 lead. The defense was just as impressive, holding Xenia without a score until the opening drive of the second half.

Troy's starters played just one series in the second half, just long enough to answer Xenia's TD with one of their own, which I think was a good move. If the Buccaneers had any thoughts of a momentum shift and possibly making a run at getting back into the game, that TD--making it 49-7--dispatched them with extreme prejudice. From that point on, the Trojans gave their backups a chance to get their uniforms dirty.

I'm a fan of Troy's tradition of being a yardage-chewing ground-game monster when they have the personnel to run that type of offense, but I am loving this new-look diversified offense. Tyler Wright has really impressed me so far. At one point in this game, he was scrambling behind the line of scrimmage, and it looked like he was going to tuck and run; but he kept his eyes downfield and, at the last second, spotted an open receiver and got him the ball. That type of presence of mind is really rare in high school quarterbacks, from what I've seen. He passed the ball well against Xenia, going 7 of 8 for 130 yards and 2 TDs, and the running game and passing game really complemented each other well.

Another thing I want to note is that, for all their size concerns, the Trojan defense has some dudes that can deliver a blow. I lost count of how many times I found myself yelling "Nice hit!" after, well, a nice hit. And even when they aren't laying licks, they're playing well fundamentally--wrapping up and tackling, or getting a hand on someone and holding on until the rest of the swarm arrives. Two weeks in, these guys are just fun to watch.

The Trojans, now 2-0 on the season, look to keep the streak alive next week as they return home to Troy Memorial Stadium to take on the Fairborn Skyhawks (1-1).

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