Saturday, September 22, 2012

Miamisburg 7 Troy 6

The two halves of this game were night and day--literally. The game was delayed by lightning before the second half started on Friday night, and so the second half was picked up at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. The weather for the morning session was much better, with mostly sunny skies and a fairly stiff breeze.

Other than the weather conditions, the story of this game was Troy's offense, or lack thereof. With starting quarterback Matt Barr sidelined due to the leg injury he suffered in last week's loss to Springfield, Troy's old ground-and-pound offense was back in full effect. Unfortunately, without a passing threat to keep them honest, Miamisburg's defense was able to stack eight or nine guys in the box to defend against the run.

Still, a heroic effort by halfback Miles Hibbler almost let the Trojans pull this one out. Hibbler ran for 196 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries; however, in this case, it was more about the yards he didn't gain than the ones he did. After the touchdown, the Viking defense jumped offsides when the Trojans lined up for the extra point. With just over five minutes left in the game, his defense playing really well, and only a yard and a half to go, Troy coach Scot Brewer elected to try for two points and the win. Everyone in the stadium knew Hibbler was getting the ball, though...including Miamisburg's defense. He got stuffed on the run, and that was the ballgame.

There was plenty of grousing in the stands about the decision to go for two instead of kicking the extra point (Troy's kicker Zach Thompson has been pretty automatic) and taking their chances with overtime. I think it was the right call, though (and not just because I was at the game with the coach's dad). Being only a yard and a half out was the best chance they were going to have; struggling offensively like they were, even lining up at the twenty like they do in overtime was going to be quite a challenge.

Lost in the glare of the spotlight the loss put on the offense was the stellar play of Troy's defense. They too were forced to shuffle personnel, as linebacker Joe Benson came out of the lineup to switch over to the quarterback position. They looked a little lost on Miamisburg's first drive on Friday night, which resulted in the Vikings' only touchdown. They tightened up after that and held the 'Burg in check, coming up with big plays when they were needed to give the offense another chance.

So, at the midpoint of the season, the Trojans find themselves at 2-3. Now the GWOC North season begins, starting with longtime foe Sidney (3-2). It's Troy's homecoming; with Barr's status up in the air, they'll have to find some way to loosen the Yellowjacket defense.

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