NTL FOOTBALL: TROY FALLS TO SOUTHERN COLUMBIA IN DISTRICT FINAL
(2023-11-17)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
TROY — For a half Troy played the defending state champions, Southern Columbia, even. However, in the second half Southern turned up the defense, and won the battle of field position, using two short field possessions to score a pair of touchdowns for the 14-0 win during the District IV, Class AA football title game Friday.
The score was 0-0 at the half, and the two teams had 104 yards each. In the second half, though, Southern out gained Troy 186 to minus-3, keeping the Trojans from getting a first down.
Troy was able to move the ball through the air in the first half, but the field’s footing deteriorated the timing between quarterback Evan Woodward and his receivers was off. By the end Troy could barely snap the ball in the rain.
“They’re a good defense, we knew that,” said Troy coach Jimmy Smith. “The field conditions and the weather didn’t help us. They really played us well - we didn’t break free, we didn’t make plays when we had to make plays, and, in the end, they were able to nip us, but we’ll back in this game next year.”
Southern’s Garrett Garcia finished with 137 yards rushing and two scores on 22 carries, while Louden Murphy added 20 carries for 74 yards, and Carter Madden notched 15 carries for 61 yards.
They found most of their success running over the right side as they finished with 287 yards on the ground off 60 carries.
The Trojans struggled on the ground, with just 23 yards on 20 carries. Clayton Smith (six carries, eight yards) and Brendan Gilliland (two carries, eight yards) led the team.
Woodward found some success in passing the game early on, going 6-for-12 for 78 yards in the first half, but was held to 0-for-7 with two interceptions in the second.
“We couldn’t get snaps, we couldn’t throw the ball, it’s really nasty, really muddy,” Smith said. “It was poor field conditions with this weather. We both have to play in it, but they tolerated it better than we did, in the end.”
Troy’s defense was bend but don’t break in the first half, and got some a pair of big plays out of Woodward - an interception and possession ending tackle on third-and-short to force punt.
The second half, though, Troy’s defense wore down, and had a harder time tackling Southern’s backs.
“If you told me that we’d held them to 14 points I’d say we’d win the game,” said Smith. “We played hard, but we just didn’t make plays on offense when we had to, and that’s it. The better team won today.”
The Tigers took the opening kick-off, and after pair of Garcia runs of 20 and eight yards they got inside Troy territory. However, a holding call backed them up, and they never recovered, punting it away to the Trojans.
Troy took over at their own 11-yard line, but got out of the shadow of their own goal line thanks to a couple third down pass plays: Woodward to Chimics for 10 yards and Woodward to Mason Smith for 17.
A helmet to helmet call against Southern at midfield saw the Trojans get inside the Tigers 40-yard line. The drive stalled out there, though, and they were forced to punt.
Southern would nickel and dime their way down the field on their ensuing drive, going all the way from their own 10-yard line to midfield, a Woodward open field tackle on Madden on third-and-short would force the Tigers into a punt.
The Trojans started even further back this time, at their own 5-yard line, but a Woodward to Chimics hook up for 11-yards got them some breathing room.
A pair of pass plays to Gilliland (six yards) and Harwick (23-yards) saw the Trojans get out towards midfield.
Once again, though, Troy’s drive stalled after two short runs and an incompletion, forcing them to punt.
The Trojan defense appeared to force a 3-and-out, but a roughing the punter call gave Southern new life.
However, a pair of false starts backed them back up, and they were forced to punt away anyhow.
The Trojans had their best field position of the day, starting at their own 45-yard line. This is when their passing game began to fail them, as they had incompletions on two of the three plays, and they punted it back after a 3-and-out.
The Tigers gave it right back as Woodward picked off a Wise pass, giving Troy the ball on Southern’s side of the field, but with time ticking down.
Woodward would field Chimics for an 11-yard gain to the Southern 35-yard line on the first play from scrimmage.
However, a Troy holding call backed them back up to the Southern 45-yard line, and they ran out of time.
The Trojans got the ball to start the second half, and Mason Smith nearly returned it to the house, getting tackled by the kicker at the Tiger 44-yard line.
That’s when things started to turn against Troy.
On the first play from scrimmage Woodward’s pass was picked off when Murphy took the ball out of the receiver’s hands.
Southern took over at their own 23-yard line, and drove to the Trojan 31 on seven running plays. However, Wise fumbled the snap, and JB Burbage fell on it, giving Troy new life.
Taking over at their own 30-yard line, though, Troy went 3-and-out after two short runs and an incompletion.
A short punt gave Southern good field position at their own 44-yard line.
This time they finished off the drive, going 56-yards on 12 plays. There were two key plays on the drive - a Wise to Murphy 14-yard hook up on 4th-and-three, and then a Garcia 5-yard run on 3rd-and-4 - to keep the drive alive.
Eventually, on third-and-3 at the 5-yard line Garcia went over the right side of the line to pay dirt. Isaac Carter’s extra point was good, and it was 7-0 with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
Troy ensuing drive started promising enough with a 4-yard Gilliland run on first down. However, a bad snap saw Woodward get sacked for a four yard loss, and an incompletion on third down forced the Trojans to punt, once away.
The Tigers took over on their own 41-yard line, and on second down Garcia rumbled over the right side for 31-yards down to the Trojans 26. From there the Tigers chipped away, using 10 plays to get into the end zone - which came on third-and-goal from the one when Garcia leaped over the goal line.
Carter’s kick was good, and it was 14-0 with 5:32 left to play.
The Trojans would get two more tries to score, but their first drive ended in a punt, and their final drive ended in an interception.
Troy’s season ends at 12-1. They claimed their first league title since 2019, got the top seed for the district playoffs, and packed the stands on Friday night.
“It was a great season,” Smith said. “I’m proud of the kids. They worked hard. We’ll get after it real soon.”
Southern Columbia 14, Troy 0
S - Garrett Garcia 5-yard run (Isaac Carter kick), :41
S - Garrett Garcia 1-yard run (Carter kick), 5:32
Garrett Garcia 22-137-2, Louden Murphy 20-74, Carter Madden 15-61, Blake Wise 3-1
Blake Wise 2-7-13-0-1
Louden Murphy 1-14, Carter Madden 1-(-1)
Clayton Smith 6-8, Evan Woodward 4-0, Kael Millard 2-5, Mason Smith 5-3, Brendan Gilliland 2-8, Team 1-(-1)
Evan Woodward 6-19-78-0-2
Lincoln Chimics 3-32, Camryn Harwick 1-23, Mason Smith 1-17, Brendan Gilliland 1-6
Team Stats SCA Troy
Rushes/Yards 60/287 20/23
Passing Yards 13 78
First Downs 18 6
Penalties/Yards 5/45 3/20
Interceptions: Troy - Evan Woodward; SCA - Gavin Krebs, Louden Murphy
PHOTO CAPTION: Troy’s Mason Smith hauls in a catch…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING & LANCE LARCOM
Print Friendly Version