By David Fong
TROY — Matt Burgbacher didn’t mince words in describing what happened to the Troy football team the week following its last upset victory of Trotwood-Madison.
“We came out and laid an egg,” the Troy football coach said.
One year ago, the Troy football team pulled off a stunning 21-20 upset against state-ranked Trotwood. The following week, the Trojans — perhaps still riding a little too high after the Trotwood upset — came out and, to put it bluntly, got blasted 52-28 by Sidney.
“It was 22-0 eight minutes into the game,” Burgbacher said. “We were not prepared for that game.”
Last week, Troy opened the season with a 10-6 victory over Trotwood at Troy Memorial Stadium. The magnitude of the upset may not be quite as monumental as it was a year ago, but Burgbacher still wants to make sure the result week after the game is different as the Trojans prepare to host Cincinnati Northwest — a team that has defeated Troy the past two seasons — Friday.
“You know, there are negative distractions and there are positive distractions — and if you want to be successful, you have to be prepared to deal with them both,” Burgbacher said. “The first thing I told our boys after we beat Trotwood was that we won our season opener last year, too … and then we lost our next five games in a row. We did not handle success very well last year.
“We told the kids, ‘Enjoy this win this weekend, but we need to forget about it by Monday and come back ready to work.’ That Trotwood win was a big win for us — but we can reflect back on it after the season. Our goal for the year wasn’t to just beat Trotwood. That’s just a step in the process to how we want to finish the season. Now we’ve got to focus on Northwest.”
That’s because Northwest — which opened the season with a 40-0 win over Western Hills — presents a daunting enough challenge for the Trojans, with or without distractions. Northwest has been to the playoffs three of the past four seasons and has had a winning season each of the past five years.
“We have got to be focused on Northwest,” Burgbacher said. “They’ve got a good football team. They’ve got a new coach, Lee Johnson, he was an assistant at Northwest before he left to become the offensive coordinator at Hamilton — and now he’s back at Northwest, so he’s familiar with the kids and the school. They’ve got eight starters returning on offense and three returning on defense.”
Offensively, Burgbacher said he expects the Knights to spread things out with four wide receivers — but aren’t afraid to run the ball out of the spread, as well. In the win over Western Hills, quarterback Brandon Shelton completed 8 of 15 passes for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Eight different ballcarriers got in on the action, as well.
Northwest built a 33-0 halftime lead last week and played the entire second half under a running clock.
“They can put up points quick,” Burgbacher said. “They’ve got a big running back in Devont Faulkner. They’ve got their quarterback back. They’ve got four pretty good receivers and two starters back on the offensive line. Their skills guys are all experienced and the two offensive linemen they have returning were two of their better linemen last year.
“They like to sling the ball around and get you spread out, then hit you with their big running back. They run the power-read extremely well.”
Defensively, Northwest held Western Hills to 118 yards in total offense during last week’s shutout victory.
“They run a 3-3 stack,” Burgbacher said. “They’ll run some man-to-man, some Cover 3 and some Cover 4. Their down linemen are pretty good and their linebackers are all about 200 pounds and run pretty well. This is going to be a challenge for us.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong.
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