Friday, September 11, 2015

Miamisburg 43 Troy 15

Another rain-soaked Friday, another interminable slog through inexplicably slow Columbus interstate traffic. To top it off, my GPS (I use the Waze app) took me not to Harmon Field, but rather to a random spot several block northwest of where I needed to be. I suppose I should be grateful it directed me to Miamisburg, at least. I really like Harmon Field and its neighborhood location, but the fact that there's no parking lot to speak of is a bit of a pain when you're pressed for time as it is. The streets nearby were all packed, but I managed to find a spot a couple of blocks south.

Needless to say, I had plenty of time on the drive to wonder why I put myself through this each week and if it's worth it to keep doing to going forward. After all, I've been out of Troy High School for 20 years now (my reunion is coming up in a couple of weeks); maybe the time has come to hang it up.

And then I buy my ticket and walk through the gate, and as soon as I see the field shining green in the stadium lights, see the players on the field getting ready and the cheerleaders doing their routine on the track, and hear the announcer over the loudspeaker and the band playing the national anthem--it's like coming home. When the Trojans are playing, there is nowhere in the world that I'd rather be, and it makes all the traffic snarls and parking snafus worth it (even if it's a close thing sometimes).

And it's funny that I mention all that tonight, because this is the kind of night that makes people question my sanity when I tell them I'm still following my old high school team all these years later (especially now that I'm not exactly local). While, unlike last week, there at least weren't any lightning delays, the weather varied from light drizzle to steady downpour, generally getting heavier as the night went on. As the score got a little lopsided, plenty of folks fled early; as for me, I enjoyed my time in the stands, wet through it may have been, and let the traffic clear out while I stuck around to the bitter end. As always.

The game did get a little lopsided. It was a victory of sorts that the Trojans were able to keep it interesting for as long as they did, and that they didn't let it become a running-clock situation. And that's because Miamisburg has become what Troy used to be: a very solid football team that imposes its will on opponents through physical line play and a dominant running game. Offensive lineman Josh Myers, an Ohio State commit, is already rated as one of the best lineman in the country as a junior, and he lived up to that hype tonight. He's the real deal. The Vikings only threw the ball four times on the night, and didn't really even have to do it that many.

The Trojans, on the other hand, only attempted 17 rushes on the night, which is, I'm sure, the lowest I, and many people, have ever seen from them, given that they were known for so long as such a run-heavy team. The coaching staff, recognizing early on that there was little room to run on Miamisburg's defense, put the ball in the capable hands of quarterback Hayden Kotwica, and he performed pretty admirably, given the circumstances. His touchdown pass on the first drive out of halftime cut the Vikings' lead to 22-15, and it looked like Troy might be able to stay in the game. Unfortunately, Miamisburg answered that score about two minutes later, and the Trojans weren't able to put any more points on the board. Still, Kotwica passed for nearly 300 yards on the night, putting him close to 700 yards in just three games. Needless to say, he's going to put up numbers this season like Trojan fans haven't seen in a very long time.

(Sometime I'm going to get my hands on a copy of Troy's school records in football. They used to print them in the program each year, but stopped doing that for some unknown reason quite some time ago. Although I suppose it's technically possible they put them in there this year--I haven't bought one yet--but I'm not holding my breath.)

At any rate, there's no relief in sight for the Trojans just yet. Next week they return to the scene of their first (and thus far only) win of the season, Heidkamp Stadium in Huber Heights. Instead of the CJ Eagles, though, this time around they'll be facing the actual home team, the Wayne Warriors, last year's state runner-up in Division I and undefeated so far this year as well. I will mention, however, that although Wayne did defeat Troy 54-0 last year (I didn't attend), Troy did beat Wayne the last time the two teams met in Huber Heights--a 14-12 outcome in 2009. So we'll just keep our happy thoughts and hope for a similar outcome this time around, shall we?

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