By David Fong
TROY — The numbers, Matt Burgbacher admits, are staggering.
Last Friday, the Troy football coach watched Cincinnati Anderson run 118 total plays — including 83 passing plays — in the Division II regional quarterfinals between the two teams. Troy held on for a 41-35 victory to move on to this Friday’s regional semifinal game against Miamisburg at Northmont Good Samaritan Stadium … but will there be long-term effects on the health of a defense that spent so much time on the field.
“Basically, our defense played two games in one night — the average number of offensive plays in a high school football game is about 50 or 60 for each team,” Burgbacher said. For the sake of comparison, Troy ran 56 plays against the Redskins last Friday. “That’s obviously something you don’t see very often at the high school level. Our guys were dead tired after that game.”
Still, though, Burgbacher — along with strength and conditioning coach Aaron Gibbons — have done their best to ensure the team is making a full recovery and will be rested and ready for this Friday’s game against Miamisburg.
“Coach Gibby (Gibbons) made sure the guys started drinking recovery drinks the minute they came in the locker room after the game,” Burgbacher said. “On Saturday morning, the big goal for us was to make sure we got our guys in here and got their blood flowing again. They still had a hard workout, but they did some different types of exercises to get their blood flowing again.”
Burgbacher said by the time practice rolled around on Monday, his team looked ready to play again.
“The thing you have to remember is these are 15 to 18 year old kids — their bodies do recover quickly,” he said. “These are the state playoffs. These kids want to play. On Monday, I saw zero signs on the practice field of any lingering effects from Friday’s game.”
Browder Sets Record
With his five touchdowns against Anderson — three receiving and two rushing — Troy senior tailback Josh Browder set a school record for most touchdowns scored by a single player in a playoff game. In fact, the 30 points Browder accounted for Friday was more than Troy scored as a team in 12 of its 16 playoff games.
The only time the Trojans scored more than Browder’s 30 points in playoff games were in 1985 vs. Toledo Central Catholic (36 points), 1992 vs. Springfield North (34), 1996 vs. Springfield South (32) and 2000 vs. Miamisburg (47).
Browder finished Friday’s game with 22 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns to go along with three catches for 114 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 357 yards in total offense.
Browder now has 1,418 rushing yards for the season, the 16th-highest single-season rushing total in school history. Next on the list for him to catch is Trojan legend Gordon Bell, who rushed for 1,447 yards in 1971.
Trojans Making History
Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game against Miamisburg, this year’s Troy football team already is breathing rarefied air.
For starters, the Trojans are the first team to make it to the regional semifinals since 2000 and just the ninth team overall to make it to the regional semifinals.
Two things worth keeping in mind: The Ohio High School Athletic Association did not institute a playoff system until 1972 and from 1972-1999, the playoffs started in the regional semifinal round, meaning that every team that reached the playoffs during that time period already was a regional semifinalist.
Since the playoffs were expanded in 1999, Troy has qualified for the regional quarterfinals five times (2000, 2004, 2010, 2011 and this season) and won its quarterfinal game just twice — in 2000 and this season.
Should Troy beat Miamisburg Friday, it will be just the fourth team in school history to reach the regional championship game. Troy also qualified for the regional finals in 1985, 1992 and 1996. It won a regional title and moved on to the state semifinals in 1985.
Finally, at 10-1, this year’s Troy team is just ninth team in school history to win 10 games in a season, having previously done it in 1946, 1970, 1971, 1985, 1992, 1996, 1997 and 2000. Again, it bears mentioning that had the playoffs existed before 1972, a number of Troy teams would have had a chance at 10 wins.
Also, some years did not include 10-game regular seasons. For example, Troy went 9-0 for three years in a row from 1955-57. Had there been a playoff system or even a 10-game regular season, it’s safe to assume those Trojan teams have had 10-win seasons.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong