Friday, October 03, 2008

Lebanon 24 Troy 14

I'd like to begin this week's game recap with an aside. At away games, I always seem to end up sitting near the same group of people (and since I arrive pretty early, I suppose it's more accurate to say that the same group of people ends up sitting near me), and a couple of people in this group seem to spend nearly the whole time complaining loudly about the officiating and the coaching. Man, that gets annoying. Now, I'm not even going to try to convince anyone that I never complain about such things myself (although I will say that I try to keep it to myself or within the circle of whoever I'm with as opposed to simply shouting it into the night), and I'm also not going to say that their comments don't have occasional merit. But to harp on about it all game long? And at each game throughout the season? It wears on you after a while.

Aside from that, one of my favorite things about the football season is going to different stadiums, especially those I've never been to before, and sampling the atmosphere. This was my first trip to Lebanon, and I thought their stadium was pretty cool. The visitors' side could be raised up a little more to give a better view of the field, but that's a common flaw in a lot of high school stadiums. It's in a cool setting, near a neighborhood (I love stadiums with houses nearby; no idea why) but with plenty of trees and open spaces around; parking was close, plentiful, and free; there was a lot of open area for little kids to run around and play without getting in the way; there was a good crowd; the concession lines moved quickly; and the pulled pork sandwich was awesome. Good stuff.

I'm really glad I enjoyed visiting the stadium, because the game itself was pretty hard to watch. Defensively, the Trojans played well enough to win. Really, to be on the field as much as they were and only give up 24 points, that's enough to consider this a moral victory on that side of the ball. The offense...well, this just isn't the same offense the Trojans showed in their first three games of the season in nearly any respect. Lebanon's offense was able to wear the Trojan defense down by playing keep-away, and Troy's offense obliged by making mistake after mistake - turnovers, dropped passes, and untimely penalties chief among them. Everyone has an off night from time to time, of course; it's just amazing and more than a little befuddling when seemingly everyone has one at the same time.

At 4-3, any playoff aspirations the Trojans may have been nursing, already slim in the ultra-competitive Region 4, have now gone by the wayside. On the bright side, since this was a GWOC crossover game, it doesn't have any bearing on the Trojans' hopes for a league championship. Also, I made it out of the stadium and into my car in time to listen on the radio to the last few minutes of Piqua's loss to previously winless Vandalia Butler. I won't say that a Piqua loss cures all ills, but it certainly has a tendency to soothe them.

Next Friday is Homecoming for the Trojans, and they'll set their sights on the Trotwood-Madison Cheaters...uh,, I mean RAMS. Sorry about that. The Rams are 2-5, losing 5 straight to open the season before winning the last 2 against GWOC North opponents Piqua and Sidney. It'll be interesting to see how the Trojans rebound, and I'm looking forward to coming home and seeing them hopefully vent their frustrations and get back to form.

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