By David Fong
TROY — Ryan Daum is making up for lost time.
Daum — a senior linebacker on the Troy football team — broke his hand against Dunbar in the final scrimmage of the preseason, forcing him to miss Troy’s first four games.
He made his return in Week 5 against Xenia, recording three tackles. The past two weeks, however, he’s been a force on the defensive side of the ball, racking up 12 tackles and half a sack against Greenville and 10 tackles in last week’s 21-20 win over Trotwood-Madison.
“It was unfortunate the way Daum broke his hand in the last scrimmage — but it was fortunate that he was able to come back after only four weeks,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “Daum is a very, very solid football player. He’s stepped right in and done a nice job for us.”
Daum is a three-year starter for the Trojans, beginning his career playing offensive guard as a sophomore before making the move to defense last season.
“Ryan is a very smart football player,” Burgbacher said. “He’s got that experience playing on Friday nights, which really helps him. I’ll tell you the thing Ryan does real well is he works downhill. He’s not the kind of kid who sits back and lets things happen. He’ll come up and make plays.”
On the Job Training: Talk a baptism by fire.
Sophomore guard Drew Smith got the first start of his varsity career last week when he was inserted into the starting line-up against Trotwood, which featured one of the better defensive lines the Trojans will face all season.
Despite going up against bigger, faster, more experienced linemen, Burgbacher said the 6-foot-1, 231-pound sophomore had a fine showing.
“Drew stepped in and did a nice job,” Burgbacher said. “That’s one thing we preach all the time — you’ve got to play and get that experience on Saturdays (in junior varsity games), because you’ll never know when we need you to step up and play on Fridays.
“Watching the film from the game, we saw some things he needs to improve on, but we also saw a lot of things he did really well. Going up against a very good defensive line, for the most part he held his own. He did well and fit right in.”
Right on Track: Troy quarterback Hayden Kotwica remains on track to break one of the oldest and most hallowed records in school history.
Through seven games, the junior has completed 105 of 203 passes for 1,440 yards. Should he keep up his current pace, Kotwica would finish with 2,057 yards. The school single-season passing yardage record is 2,009 yards, set by Trojan legend Tom Myers in 1960.
Myers would go earn to earn All-American honors at Northwestern University before playing for the NFL’s Detroit Lions following his graduation from Troy.
“Hayden continues to improve from week to week,” Burgbacher said. “The last two weeks he actually hasn’t had some of the monster numbers he may have had earlier, because we’ve tried to get back to establishing the run. We want to be a balanced team. In the long run, that should actually help him, because teams won’t be able to just look to stop the pass.”
Clean Sweep: Burgbacher’s cell phone got a workout over the weekend following Troy’s stunning 21-20 upset of state-ranked Trotwood Friday. It was the Rams’ first Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division loss in 34 games — a span of nearly eight years.
“My cell phone started going off Friday night after the game,” he said. “At first, people were texting me wanting to know if they had heard the score right. Then, once they figured out it was the right score, all these congratulations started flooding in.
“It was a pretty steady stream of texts I was getting all the way through Saturday. People were happy for us, which is nice. People in this community care about this football team.”
It was a clean sweep for the Troy football program last week. Not only did the varsity beat Trotwood 21-20, the junior varsity beat Trotwood 35-14 to raise its record to 6-1, the freshman team beat the Rams 44-18 to raise its record to 4-2, the eighth grade beat Vandalia 32-14 to improve to 4-2 and the seventh grade team beat Vandialia 19-6 to up its record to 2-4.
“It was a great weekend for Troy football,” Burgbacher said.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong