By David Fong
TROY — The Troy football team is about to get an up close and personal look at the blueprint they hope to follow in the coming years.
“Absolutely, Miamisburg is where we are hoping we can be,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “They’ve had a lot of success under Coach (Steve) Channell the last three years. They are a team that had struggled before he got there. But once they got their system in place — Boom! — things started rolling. It all worked out for them.”
From 2012 to 2014, the Troy football team went 9-21, including a 1-9 record last season. That’s nothing compared to Miamisburg’s struggles prior to Channell’s arrival in 2012, however.
From 2006-11, the Vikings went a combined 13-47. In 2010, Troy beat Miamisburg 50-14, then followed that up with a 38-0 victory in 2011. Since Channell took over the program in 2012, however, the Vikings have gone 7-3, 7-4 and 8-3, reaching the Division I playoffs each of the past two seasons.
Miamisburg also has been undefeated against the Trojans since his arrival, winning 7-6, 23-14 and 45-14. The Vikings are living proof that, under the right circumstances, even the most moribund of programs can rise from the ashes.
“I know they have lost some guys to graduation over the years, but they are to that point in their program now where it’s ‘next man up,’” Burgbacher said. “They’ve got a system in place that gets guys ready at the junior varsity, freshman and junior high level — so when they get to the varsity level, they are ready to play. Eventually, we are goint to get there.”
So it should serve as a litmus test of sorts to see how for the Trojans have come Friday when Troy (1-1) travels to Miamisburg (2-0) for the sixth meeting in a row between the two teams.
“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us,” Burgbacher said. “They’ve got an excellent football team.”
Miamisburg’s offense is actually led by its offensive line, which is anchored by junior tackle Josh Myers, who likely will be the most high profile player the Trojans face all season. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Myers — who already has committed to play football at The Ohio State University — is ranked by the recruiting website rivals.com as the No. 3 junior in the nation, regardless of position. He’s also the top-ranked junior offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 1 overall junior in Ohio.
“Form-wise and technique-wise, he’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Burgbacher said of Myers. “He’s outstanding. Plus, he’s 6-foot-6 and 290 pound — and there’s not any fat on him. And it’s not like he’s the only one they’ve got on that line, either. They probably average about 270 across the front.
“But we know almost every team we face this season is going to be bigger than us. We know we aren’t going to be able to go toe-to-toe with these guys. We are going to have to be angling and stunting and doing things to mix it up.”
While Miamisburg lost most of its running backs from last season, that offensive line has made the transition much easier on the newcomers in the backfield. The Vikings don’t throw much — senior quarterback Jake Schoenberger has completed 10 passes in two games — but spread the ball around to a fleet of running backs.
Four players — sophomore Tony Clark, junior Jake Ross, senior Xavien Jones and senior Davon Calloway — all are among the top seven rushers in the Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division.
“They are a true wing-t team in every sense of the word,” Burgbacher said. “They run buck sweep. They run guard trap. They run iso. They run belly. They run waggle. The running backs they have are all hard-nosed kids. You can tell by watching the film. They get after it and are just tough football players. If you need an extra yard, they are going to get you an extra yard. They don’t throw much, but when they do, they are able to make the most of it. They’ve got big receivers who can make plays and their quarterback does a great job.”
Defensively, Miamisburg runs a 4-4 defense. Troy will try to counter with an offense already has scored 68 points through two games this season — something it didn’t do until the fourth quarter in Week 8 just a year ago. The Trojans are led by junior quarterback Hayden Kotwica, who has completed 21 of 39 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns this season. Marc Scordia is Troy’s leading rusher with 37 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Luke Robinson leads the team in receiving with seven catches for 163 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge for us — and we know that going in,” Burgbacher said. “They are where we want to be — and we are heading in that direction.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong