By David Fong
TROY — On a night in which the Troy football team put a spark back into an electric Troy Memorial Stadium, the Trojans ran out of power with just 8 seconds left in the game, dropping a 21-17 heartbreaker to Miamisburg.
Troy led 17-14 on a Jake Anderson field goal in the fourth quarter, but Miamisburg got the ball back with just minutes to play and went the distance with time running out, with quarterback Tate Vongsy ultimately hooking up with Tyler Johnson in the back corner of the end zone to give the Vikings a 21-17 lead and, eventually, the win.
With the loss, Troy — which came into the game ranked No. 5 in the Division II state poll — fell to 4-1, while Miamisburg improved to 4-1.
Although it was a loss for the Trojans, it was a major step in the right direction against a team that had blown Troy out the past three seasons.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “That’s what high school football is all about. Our kids left it on the field. Their kids left it on the field. That was a great match up and, you know, you can’t ask for anything more.”
Troy relied on big plays in the first half to jump out to a 14-7 lead.
Troy nearly drew first blood early in the second quarter, driving down to the Miamisburg 13. On second down, however, Miamisburg picked off a Kotwica pass in the end zone.
Four plays later, Miamisburg’s Vongsy hooked up with Johnson on a 58-yard touchdown pass, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
Troy remained calm, however, and came storming back late in the half. After a Miamisburg punt, the Trojans took over at their own 5 yard line with 3:05 left before halftime. A key third down completion from Hayden Kotwica to Hayata Nagata kept the drive alive and then, two plays later, Browder broke free on a 75-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 7-7.
Browder had 10 carries for 147 yards in the first half alone. He would finish the game with 170 yards on the ground.
Troy’s defense would then force a three-and-out, giving Troy the ball back with 36 seconds left to play in the half. Kotwica broke free for a 10-yard run, then Browder got loose on a 24-yard run to give the Trojans the ball at the Miamisburg 33 with 1 second left on the block.
On the final play of the half, Kotwica dropped a perfectly placed pass into Zion Taylor’s arms in the end zone. Jake Anderson booted the extra point, giving the Trojans a 14-7 lead and energizing the sold-out home side of Troy Memorial Stadium heading into halftime.
In the second half, a Trojan turnover allowed Miamisburg to tie the game in the third quarter. Following a Trojan fumble at its own 41, Miamisburg capped off a touchdown drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Tony Johnson.
“We knew coming in you had to win the penalty battle and you had to win the turnover battle. We lost both. And then we lost the score, 21-17. Those are things we can fix. We can fix those, and we will. Our kids are going to rebound. We’ll be OK.”
Following a Miamisburg punt, Troy took over at its own 15 with 10:34 to play. The Trojans went 84 yards, pushing the ball down to the Viking 1-yard-line. Anderson booted the 18-yard field goal, giving the Trojans the lead.
The Troy defense had several chances to stop the Vikings on the final drive, but the Vikings managed to make crucial plays on third down and had the drive kept alive on targeting penalty near midfield. From there, Vongsy was able to make the pass to Johnson just inbounds to give Miamisburg the victory.
Troy will need to regroup quickly, as it opens Greater Western Ohio Conference American North play next week at Troy Memorial Stadium against Tippecanoe.
“We’re gonna sulk on this tonight, then we’re gonna come back in at 8 a.m., we’re going to get a good workout in and then we’re gonna prepare for Tipp. You’ve got to rebound quick. We’ve faced adversity all year. We’ve faced a lot of positive adversity … now we’ve got to face some negative adversity.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong