The Troy Trojans played what head coach Matt Burgbacher called “one of the most complete games we played in recent memory”, survived a first-half deficit, and came back to gain their fourth win of the year in a 28-13 win over Tipp.
Tipp City – The Red Devils were not impressed Friday with the Troy Trojans’ win last week over Miamisburg. They jumped to a 13–0 halftime lead over their Miami County rivals, only to see Troy come roaring back with 28 unanswered points to secure a 28-13 victory in the first week of GWOC American North action.
So, how to explain the role reversals by two fine football teams as the game played out?
Matt Burgbacher explains, “We put our defense in very difficult positions in the first half, and lest anyone forget, we played a very good, physical football team tonight in the Red Devils. They’re well-coached and just play the game very hard.”
It didn’t take long for an uneasiness to set in for the Trojan fans. On the second play from scrimmage Troy fumbled. It was recoverd by Tipp, and four plays later the Red Devils had a 3 point lead on a 28 yard field goal by Caiden Smith.
The Trojans’ second possession of the game was only marginally better as they were forced to punt. And, on a textbook perfect drive, Tipp sent the home crowd into a frenzy when QB Brent Detwiller hit all-purpose back Clay Barhorst with a 32-yard scoring strike on a little pop pass set up by five consecutive running plays.
In keeping with their first half problems, Troy delivered another three and out. Tipp immediately drove into field goal range, only to have the attempt blocked by the Trojans. The next drive for the Trojans saw one first down before they had to punt…again! And on the ensuing Tipp possession the Red Devils drove, and capitalized, as Smith delivered his second field goal of the night, giving the Red Devils a 13-point lead at the break.
For the half the men of Troy had 5 punts and a lost fumble.
Enter the magic of halftime speeches and adjustments, and whatever else leads to a total game reversal. Two beneficiaries of the halftime break were Trojan star running backs Sam Jackson and Jaydon Culp-Bishop. Together they teamed up to lead Troy to a respectable 165 yards on the ground as they often carried Tipp defenders with them for extra yardage.
Their explanation (Jackson and Culp-Bishop) for the turn around in quarter number three?
“We needed some positive feeling at halftime and we got it. Whether it came from the coaches, the seniors, whatever, we felt it in the second half.”
Red Devil boss, Joel Derge, had a little different take as he pointed to the lost fumble of the kick off to start the second half as a back breaker.
“It’s not like our players gave up or anything,” said Derge. “The turnover just seemed to ignite Troy, and they are too good ateam to give extra possessions.”
The numbers seem to support the coach. In a little over a minute and one half, the Trojans dented the scoreboard for the first time on a eight-yard run by Sam Jackson. After an exchange of several punts, Troy grabbed the lead for the first time in the game on a seven-yard scamper, once again by Jackson.
During this series the large crowd held their collective breaths as Tipp linebacker Matt Garber laid a punishing tackle on Troy’s Culp-Bishop. Culp-Bishop, stunned, was taken out of the game for several plays, only to return and team with Jackson to help Troy dominate the clock in the second half.
The remainder of the game would only get better for Troy and more bleak for the Red Devils as the Trojans intercepted the next four Tipp possessions, highlighted by Derek McDonagh’s pick and return that set up a TD run by Shane Shoop.
Sitting now at 3–3 on the year, all is not lost for the Red Devils. Coach Joel Derge was pragmatic.
“We’ll come in tomorrow, look at film, correct errors and prepare for our next opponent”.
Meanwhile, Matt Burgbacher had numerous reasons to savor the victory. While he enjoyed the comeback effort, he was particularly pleased that it would happen at Tipp and on a night when his father, Charlie, the long-time Red Devil head coach and now defensive coordinator at Troy, was being honored in a special ceremony at City Park.
The senior Burgbacher’s many accomplishments were outlined on a helmet prepared by the Tipp administration in a short, but heart-felt presentation before the game.
When asked to comment Charlie Burgbacher simply replied, “I was brought to Tipp to do a job and I guess we did OK.” (For the record: 26 years at Tipp, 185 wins, first play-off appearance in school history, followed by 10 straight appearances).
Watching the energy the veteran coach displays on the sidelines you come to realize that he one who coaches for all the right reasons. That’s why the Tipp fans gave him a standing ovation.
And frankly…it’s my guess that he was the source of the Trojans’ second half energy!