By David Fong
TROY — Matt Burgbacher knows what the records would indicate.
He’s not buying it, however.
Sure, the Troy football team is 3-0 and state ranked, while Fairborn — Troy’s opponent Friday night — is 0-3. As far as Burgbacher is concerned, however, those records are completely meaningless.
“When you look at how they lost, you realize this is a good Fairborn team,” Burgbacher, Troy’s coach, said. “They lost by 12 points to a Bellbrook team that is 3-0. Against a Beavercreek team that is also 3-0, they were only down 21-14 late in the third quarter. This is a much better team than their record would indicate.”
Burgbacher said he’s expecting the Skyhawks’ best effort when the Trojans come to town Friday. The game will be played at Baker Middle School, 100 Lincoln Dr., Fairborn.
“They’ve sort of self-destructed a few times this season with costly turnovers,” Burgbacher said. “They’ve really had some costly turnovers that have put them in some bad situations. We can’t go in there expecting them to make those mistakes against us. We are expecting them to give us their best shot. We are going to have to keep the pressure on them and make our own opportunities.”
Burgacher said he’s impressed with what he’s seen from the Skyhawks on offense, particularly junior quarterback Wesley Watts, who is second in the entire Greater Western Ohio Conference in passing, having completed 34 of 77 passes for 589 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“They’ve got a very, very good quarterback,” Burgbacher said. “He’s got one of the best arms we’ve seen all year, plus he’s a very mobile quarterback. He’s the kind of kid who can run from sideline to sideline and still throw the ball 40 or 50 yards downfield.”
He’s got a pair of talented receivers in senior Gracen Barnhart, who leads the GWOC in receiving with 13 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns, along with senior Leighton Moore, who has six catches for 108 yards. The team’s leading rusher is K.J. Redmon, who has 29 carries for 120 yards this season.
“They have two very good receivers who you know you’ve got to account for on every play,” Burgbacher said. “But if you get too caught up in trying to stop those two guys, they are going to hit you with the Redmon kid. They’ve got a lot of talented skill players. Their offensive line has nice size — they’ve got a couple of kids in the upper 200s.”
Defensively, Fairborn runs multiple formations.
“They’ll give you mostly a 4-3 look, but they’ll also give you a 4-4 look,” Burgbacher said. “Their leading tackler is their outside linebacker, while their second-leading tackler is their defensive end. They’ll put both of those guys to the strong side and show man coverage.”
Burgbacher said the key for his team Friday will be maintaining focus and not getting caught up in the records.
“We know we need to go out every week and play our best game,” he said. “In football, the best team doesn’t always win — but whoever is the best team that night does always win. We need to be the best team Friday night. We can’t get caught looking ahead.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong