It's funny. I look forward to the beginning of the high school football season all year, pretty much from the time the previous season ends, and I've had tonight's game circled on my calendar from the first time I saw the schedule, and yet it's almost like the season opener snuck up on me, like I totally forgot how to go to a football game. I forgot I might have to pay for parking (and luckily I didn't, because I only had enough cash to buy a ticket), I forgot to bring a blanket to sit on and hold my seat if I should get up, and most importantly, I forgot as I was walking in to scan the crowd for the familiar faces of those misguided souls who think their sole purpose at a game is to constantly scream about everything that sucks about the game on the field.
I messed up and ended up sitting in the vicinity of someone who fit that description, someone I would have known to avoid had I been paying attention when I sat down, and that was unfortunate for me. Watching such an ugly game is hard enough on its own; having the finer points (real or imagined) rehashed at high volume was nearly unbearable. Somehow I managed to remain in my seat until the bitter end--never let it be said that I don't suffer for my passions.
The game actually started off really well for the Trojans. Tailback Miles Hibbler broke loose on the second play from scrimmage for a 57-yard touchdown run, then forced CJ to punt on their possession. As Troy started driving downfield again on their second drive, it looked like this game would be a repeat of the scrimmage against Dunbar last week, which Troy absolutely dominated (especially on offense) and won 33-0.
Alas, it was not to be. The Trojans turned the ball over on a fumble after a long pass play, and the Eagles began carving up the Trojan defense. That turned into the theme of the night. Troy ended up with three turnovers, all on fumbles in CJ territory, and the defense just had no answer for the Eagles' spread offense, due in part to being young, due in part to several injuries over the course of the night, and due in part to being worn out from the heat and so many players going both ways. That's something, in my opinion, that can and should be resolved--a bunch of players playing both offense and defense is not going to be a recipe for success.
So while it was definitely a disappointing way to start the season, it's just one game, and I don't share my loud compatriot's dire opinion that "this team won't win one game this year." The defense is young, sure, and they're going to take a few lumps as they learn on the job. But there's plenty of talent on offense to overcome that--even on a night that seemed like such a struggle, the Trojans tallied nearly 400 yards of offense, with Hibbler and his backup Brandon Lee both rushing for over 100 yards each (despite Hibbler barely playing in the second half).
As a sidenote, the Trojans' road uniforms this season look great. They've gone to a dark matte gray helmet that matches the pants, and it looks really sharp. I'll never totally agree with anything besides the star logo on the side of the helmet, but the styled "TROY" with a sword taking the place of the T is fairly solid. It's better than a block T (used by our neighbors to the south, Tippecanoe), at least. I'm looking forward to seeing the new home unis next week when the Trojans open Troy Memorial Stadium (which I'll be visiting this weekend for the Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road Stopover) against the Braves of Springfield Shawnee.