By David Fong
TROTWOOD — In the span of seven days, everything we knew — or at least everything we thought we knew — about Troy football changed.
One week after turning in its worse performance of the season in a 27-14 homecoming loss to Greenville, the Troy football team turned things around Friday night and stunned state-ranked Trotwood-Madison, 21-20.
It was one of the biggest upsets in school history and perhaps the most historic upset in the history of the Greater Western Ohio Conference. The win snapped Trotwood’s 34-game North Division winning streak, which dated back to Oct. 19, 2007 — a span of 2,911 days.
“This is great for these kids,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “They deserved it. The coaches deserved it. But most of all, the Troy community deserved it. These kids have worked hard all season and it’s nice to see that hard work rewarded.”
In a snap, the entire dynamic of Troy’s season has changed. The Trojans are back in the hunt for the GWOC North title. Now the Trojans must face the tough task of putting a monumental win behind them and playing well the final three weeks of the season.
First, though, a final look back at some notes from Friday’s win over Trotwood-Madison:
Offensive Player of the Game
Troy junior quarterback Hayden Kotwica had a hand in all three of Troy’s touchdowns, throwing for one and rushing for two more. Unofficially, he completed 14 of 30 passes for 148 yards. He also was the Trojans’ leading rusher, carrying the ball 15 times for 78 yards.
Kotwica is a fearless gunslinger. He’s able to use his athleticism to keep plays alive when the pocket breaks down, nimbly avoiding tackles while keeping his eyes downfield.
Defensive Player of the Game
For years, Trotwood has had a reputation of churning out Division I college football players. Friday night, Trojan defensive lineman Jared Bair looked like the most college-ready player on the field.
Bair finished the game with six tackles and one sack — but his impact on Friday’s game went well beyond his stats. He also tipped or redirected a number of passes. He caved in an entire side of Trotwood’s offensive line, forcing the Ram offense to completely change its gameplan.
He was the best player on the football field Friday night.
Play of the Game
There are probably a dozen good candidates for this honor, but the award ultimately goes to the play that decided the game’s final outcome.
After Trotwood had scored a touchdown to cut Troy’s lead to 21-20 with less than a minute to play, the Rams decided to forego the extra point attempt and try instead for a two-point conversion.
Troy defensive back Bailey Williams — who had been burned on the touchdown pass the play prior — hit Trotwood running back Rodric Bogan in the backfield and dragged him to the turf, stopping the two-point conversion attempt.
What This Means
It’s nearly impossible to overstate what this win means not only for Troy, but for the entire GWOC North.
All of a sudden, Troy controls its own destiny in the chase for its first league title since 2000. Should the Trojans win their final three games of the season, they will win at least a share of the North crown.
The win also strips away some of the mystique from the Trotwood program, which had started to seem unbeatable within the North after nearly a decade of dominance.
For Troy, it is a signature program win, one the Trojans can point to as a possible turning point years down the road.
What Happens Next
Quite simply, the Trojans cannot afford to get complacent. With games against Sidney, Butler and Piqua remaining, the last thing the Trojans can afford is a letdown. All three of those games should prove to be tough tests for the Trojans.
Troy needs to carry this momentum with it the final three weeks of the season in the chase for an elusive league title.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong