This one hurts. The Trojan defense, so stout all season and all game long, couldn't stop Sidney's 2-point conversion attempt in overtime. Just like that, the game, the winning season, the playoff chances - all gone.
What really hurts is that this is a game the Trojans should have won. Easily. In regulation. Instead, they beat themselves with a couple of empty red zone trips (one blocked field goal, one turnover on the 2-yard line) and a boatload of penalties at terrible moments. Say what you will about the officials - and the Troy fans in the stands had plenty to say, not entirely without merit - you really can't debate that the Trojans repeatedly put themselves in bad spots. The defense did an amazing job of keeping them in the game, but the offense just didn't have enough to overcome the mistakes.
And really, that's about all I have to say about this one. The Trojans finish the season at 5-5, which, given the youth of the team, is an accomplishment of sorts, I guess. Still, with everything they had at stake, this loss is just hard to take. This Troy team was so much fun (albeit also frustrating at times) to watch this season, and I'm not ready for it to be over. I know a playoff spot was far from guaranteed even with a win, but I'd much rather be sitting here waiting for the computer points to be released than just wallowing in disappointment. Getting a chance to travel to Dublin to serve as fodder for an outstanding Coffman team in the first round of the Region 3 playoffs may not seem like much of a reward, but I think it would have been phenomenal for this young team to have that experience. Ah well.
At the very least, we'll be able to go into next season with high hopes. So many key players are back, and the schedule, on paper, looks to be a little easier, with Centerville, Wayne, and Lebanon coming off and Springboro, Beavercreek, and Miamisburg being added (although we're also swapping Middletown for Xenia). The first game next year is on August 27, and now it's time to start looking forward to that.
One more thing, though - I just want to acknowledge one last time senior defensive tackle Xavier Ford, who was just a sheer joy to watch all season long. He was the unquestionable leader of the defense both on the field and on the sidelines. The Trojans have a lot of talent coming back, but we're going to miss that kid.
UPDATE (Saturday afternoon): Looking at the unofficial numbers, I have to believe the Trojans would have made it into the playoffs if they had won. They got all the help they needed; they just couldn't take care of the one piece of business under their control. Unfortunate.