Ah yes, the annual Troy-Piqua matchup. This is the one game each year that, no matter how things are going, each team - and its fans - circles on the calendar. I normally like to take the day off work before this game, as concentration is a little on the thin side. That wasn't an option this year, unfortunately.
Nevertheless, I still managed to get to the stadium in Piqua by 6:00. The crowd was a late-arriving one, so I had no trouble buying a ticket, getting into the stadium right away, and settling myself down in a spot in the visitors' side bleachers right on the 50-yard line. Good deal. Of course, being in such a prime location, it was inevitable that I would soon be surrounded by other fans, which is like Mr. Gump's box of chocolates - "you never know what you're gonna get." In this case, I ended up with a bunch of people who thought the officials were clearly favoring the opposing team, and weren't shy about voicing their opinions. They seemed nice enough otherwise, though, and it seemed as though a number of them may have had kids or other young relatives playing for the Trojans, so I suppose their feelings were understandable, irritating though they may have been at times.
Of course, as the game started and then wore on, I found that my lack of concentration wasn't limited solely to the workday. During the game, my mind was occasionally on the Cincinnati Reds and their playoff game. It wasn't enough to keep me from paying attention or anything like that; I just wasn't quite as into it as I normally am. Then again, that may have had something to do with the fact that it was clear, early on, that the Trojans didn't have much to fear from the Indians this time around. They didn't win quite as soundly as I thought they would (I opined when asked on Thursday night that Troy would win by three TDs), as Piqua was aided on their first score by some of the unnatural luck that is so often their hallmark - on a kickoff return, they fumbled the ball near the sideline, and it was then picked up by another player who was able to run untouched into the endzone. Otherwise, the Indian offense was mostly impotent, and without looking at stats I can say with a fair amount of confidence that their QB completed nearly as many passes to the Trojan defense as he did to his own guys. That allowed the Troy offense to play pretty close to the vest and still overcome the number of penalties they committed.
The win was Troy's fourth in a row over their archrivals, meaning that this year's senior class has never experienced a loss to Piqua. That's pretty impressive. The series record now stands at 61-59-6 in favor of the Trojans, where it will stay until the two teams get together again on October 7 of next year at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Also, I think it's worth noting, this was the 20th consecutive Troy-Piqua matchup I've attended, the first being the classic 1992 matchup when both teams were undefeated and state-ranked in Division I and Troy beat Piqua 22-7 in front of a well-over-capacity crowd of 14,000 or so at Troy Memorial Stadium. I was a sophomore at Troy at the time, and that crowd was absolutely nuts. In the 20 games I've seen, the Trojans are now 11-9. For what it's worth, I actually saw someone wearing a t-shirt from that 1992 game at the stadium tonight. Unbelievable. I think I had one of those at the time, but it wore out a long, long time ago (I think my oldest Troy-Piqua shirt is from 1997, and it's not fit to be worn in public).
Anyway, the win also pushes the Trojans' record to 6-1 on the season, 2-0 in the GWOC North division. The division championship will almost certainly be decided next week, when the Trotwood-Madison Rams (5-2, 1-0) visit Troy for Homecoming. That game will kick off the 15-year reunion festivities for Troy High School's class of 1995, of which I am a member. Should be a great time.