As much disdain as I hold for Trotwood's head coach/recruiting coordinator Maurice Douglass, I have to wish that he wasn't serving a suspension on this night. He's not a particularly good in-game coach (from what I've seen, which is Trotwood's one game against Troy each year), so Troy's chances probably would have been better with him in charge. Then again, the Rams didn't really need a genius to come up with their formula for success - just hand the ball to Antwan Gilbert and let him do his thing.
I knew going in that Trotwood had a good rushing attack, but I felt pretty good about Troy's chances, given how strong the D has been all year against the run (Centerville game excluded, for the most part). Sure, Gilbert ran wild on us last year, but the defense is light years ahead of where it was then. However, as it turns out, he's a pretty special halfback. The Trojans were able to string him out or get to him in the backfield often enough, but they just couldn't bring him down. He'd shake off a tackle or two, then make a move and get himself up the field. I also have a feeling that Troy's defensive scheme was designed to negate Trotwood's speed, and that may have taken away from their ability to stop the run as effectively as they have so far this season; unfortunately, the very low visitors' stands at Trotwood's stadium didn't afford me a very good angle to be able to speak to that with any authority.
I have to give the Trojans a lot of credit, though. They had an obvious disadvantage in terms of size and speed in this game, and yet they managed to stay in it until the very end. There's a lot of fight in this team.
The unfortunate part of this loss is that it essentially ends Troy's hopes for a GWOC North championship and a berth in the Division I playoffs. On the flip side, there's still a lot to play for. For one thing, neither of those things is entirely out of the question - either one would require a lot of help, but the Trojans definitely need to win both of their remaining games to have any hope at all. They also need to win both games in order to finish with a winning record, and both games are with familiar adversaries with whom we go way back.
Next week, of course, is the game that's circled on the schedule each year, regardless of records or whatever else is going on in the season. That's right, everyone: it's Piqua week. The Trojans and Indians will be butting heads for the 125th time, and that's a big deal, the respective 4-4 (Troy) and 2-6 (Piqua) records notwithstanding. The all-time series is even at 59-59-6, with the Trojans taking the last two. They'll be looking to extend that streak next Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium on the banks of the Great Miami River. Getcha popcorn ready.