Saturday, August 27, 2016

Troy 10 Trotwood-Madison 6

It's possible that there's a vast conspiracy afoot in the universe that is preventing me from seeing the Trojans defeat the Rams. On the day the two teams played last year, I was finishing up a work trip to Toledo and couldn't make it to Trotwood in time for the game. This year I did make the drive from Worthington to Troy for the game; Trotwood was leading the game by a score of 6-3 when it was halted due to lightning "in the area" (more on that momentarily). The second half was postponed until Saturday morning; I had to get back home and couldn't make it back.

So for two years in a row I've missed seeing my beloved Trojans upset a Trotwood team that was expected to roll over them. In fact, looking back, the last full game I saw between these two teams ended in a 72-6 defeat for Troy, the worst in their history, in 2013. That's a game I'd prefer to forget, to say the least.

Since I only saw the first half, there isn't a whole lot I can say about the game. What I can say is this: Troy already looks light years better than they did last year, particularly on defense. They made Trotwood look like nothing special. Now, it may turn out, as the season progresses, that the Rams, as a team, actually aren't anything special. It's possible. They do have some special players, though--tailback Ra'veion Hargrove rushed for over 3,000 yards last year as a sophomore. He didn't play in the game Troy won last year, which of course led many to label that game a "fluke." Although he did score Trotwood's lone touchdown this year (after the Trojans fumbled the ball to the Rams in the red zone), Troy's D held him in check, giving up just 75 yards on 18 carries. Offensively for the Trojans, much like last year, they had a hard time creating any room for the running backs, and although stellar quarterback Hayden Kotwica couldn't get a whole lot going through the air, either, this time his legs provided Troy's answers. He (unseen by me, of course) scored on a 21-yard run in the third quarter to give the Trojans the lead and the eventual win.

So! Like last year, the Trojans have opened the season with a big, not-entirely-expected win. Like last year, they follow it up by hosting Cincinnati Northwest (1-0) at Troy Memorial Stadium. Hopefully this year they can keep the winning ways going. I'm planning to be at the game next week, but there's a possibility those plans may fall through. Brandi and I get the keys to our new apartment next Friday, and although we're doing the bulk of our moving on Saturday, I'm keeping my eyes open to the fact that some snag may keep me in Columbus (in which case I'll likely be at the Worthington Kilbourne game instead).

Looking over my summary of last year's game against Northwest, it's kind of funny to remember that game's lightning delay, because the situation with this week's game was pretty similar. The OHSAA mandates that a game must be delayed anytime there's lightning "in the area." On this night, "in the area" actually meant "yeah, it's visible, but it's all to the south and east, past Troy even if it did somehow come this far north, and with no actual chance of striking anywhere near Troy Memorial Stadium." In a circumstance like this, it's more of a liability issue than a safety issue--I mean, if they want to get real about safety, the kids shouldn't be playing football in the first place, let alone in 90-degree heat with 90% humidity.

Okay, some hyperbole there. I'm a little peeved that I made the long drive from Columbus to Troy and back and only got to see half of what turned out to be a really good game, when the postponement didn't seem to be totally necessary. Of course, I also realize that most football game attendees don't drive 140+ miles roundtrip for the game, and a postponement isn't quite the inconvenience for everyone else that it is for me. They have to err on the side of caution; I get it. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to grouse about it when I miss half of the first game of the season, which I look forward to all offseason long.

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