By David Fong
TROY — An already dark and gloomy night was made a little more uncomfortable for the Troy football team as it suffered a 27-14 loss to Greenville Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
With the loss, Troy fell to 1-5 (0-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference). The loss also cast a pall on the weekend’s homecoming festivities.
“This is a tough one,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said following the loss. “There’s no doubt about it. But we’ll regroup. We aren’t going to stop working. We’ll learn from this and we’ll continue to work toward becoming a better football team.”
It started off promising enough for the Trojans, who led 14-13 at halftime thanks in large part to big plays on special teams and defense. The Trojans never seemed to be able to gain their footing on offense, however, getting outscored 14-0 in the second half.
After a rough 1-4 start to the season during the non-conference schedule, Troy had hoped to make noise in the GWOC North portion of the schedule and possibly even contend for its first league title since 2000. While that goal is not out of reach, Troy will now have to win out and still hope for some help along the way.
Things don’t get any easier for the Trojans this week, as they travel to state-ranked Trotwood, which has dominated the GWOC North for much of the past decade.
First, however, a final look back at some notes from Friday’s Troy-Greenville contest:
Offensive Player of the Game
Senior defensive back Bailey Williams doesn’t play offense for the Trojans, but on a night in which the offense sputtered, he was the spark behind both of the Trojans’ first-half touchdowns.
Down 7-0, Troy’s Will Brumfield blocked a Greenville field goal attempt, which Williams scooped up and returned 72 yards for a touchdown. Later in the half, Williams picked off a tipped pass from Greenville quarterback Clay Guillozet and returned it 70 yards for an apparent touchdown.
Although the touchdown was called off due to a penalty on the return, the Trojans still got the ball at the Green Wave 34. The short field helped set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Trojan quarterback Hayden Kotwica.
Defensive Player of the Game
The Trojans had trouble stopping Guillozet — who threw for 205 yards and rushed for 140 more — and running back Codi Byrd, who rushed for 112 yards. Still, the 27 points were the fewest Troy’s defense has given up all season.
Trojan defensive end Jared Bair had a monster night for the Trojans, recording eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, including getting in on a sack with linebacker Ryan Daum that helped snuff out a potential Green Wave touchdown. He also was in on a Trojan goalline stand that stopped Greenville at the Trojan 1-yard line.
Play of the Game
Williams’ blocked field goal return for a touchdown appeared huge at the time, seemingly giving the Trojans a much-needed momentum boost. Unfortunately for the Trojans, what could have been a season-defining highlight ended up going for naught.
What This Means
Troy needs to turn things around in a hurry. The Trojans’ thrilling 42-31 victory over Chaminade Julienne in the season opener is quickly becoming a faded memory. There’s still time for the Trojans to salvage the season with wins in the final four games — but the clock is ticking.
What Happens Next
The Trojans have to face Trotwood, which has bullied the North of late, capturing the last seven division titles in a row, while making deep playoff runs year after year. The Rams’ lone loss of the season is a 36-33 defeat at the hands of Centerville.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong