By David Fong
REYNOLDSBURG — All told, the Troy football team got in roughly 80 plays in its scrimmage against Reynoldsburg Saturday.
First-year coach Matt Burgbacher was pleased with 70 of them.
And the 10 with which he wasn’t happy? All fixable mistakes.
“We’ve got a lot of positives we can build on,” Burgbacher said after his team was outscored 4-1 by Reynoldsburg Saturday — 2-1 in the 10-play series portion of the scrimmage and 2-0 in the “down and distance” portion. “We gave up five big plays on defense — four of which they scored on — but they didn’t drive the ball on us. All of their touchdowns came on big plays where we made mistakes.
“Offensively, we probably left five or six touchdowns on the field. We were off an inch here or an inch there. But all of those are things we can fix. We’d rather make those types of mistakes now when it doesn’t count than in a game when it does count. We can fix all of the mistakes we made. I’m happy with how things went. Can we get better? Obviously — and that’s what we are going to work on when we meet Monday.”
To start the scrimmage, each team received three series of 10 plays, in which down and distance were not kept or measured. Troy opened on offense and picked up decent yardage on a screen pass from quarterback Hayden Kotwica to running back Elijah Pearson and a tough run by Marc Scordia. Troy ran out of downs at the Reynoldsburg 35, however.
Reynoldsburg answered quickly with a 65-yard touchdown pass. Reynoldsburg’s four touchdowns came on a 65-yard pass, a 50-yard pass, a 45-yard run and a 25-yard pass.
“Big plays hurt us, obviously,” Burgbacher said. “We need to work on some things there. But overall, we weren’t unhappy with how our defense played. We were happy they weren’t able to drive the ball on us. I know some kids probably aren’t happy with how they played, but the good thing is they are going to get another chance to get better.”
Troy’s second drive of the scrimmage resulted in its lone score. Kotwica completed a pair of long passes to receivers Zach Boyer and Luke Robinson on the drive, eventually setting up a 5-yard touchdown strike to Boyer.
“We saw some good things on offense, particularly during the 10-play portion,” Burgbacher said. “We didn’t do as well once we went to the down-and-distance. But we did see a lot of positive things.”
Reynoldsburg appeared to be on its way to another score on the second drive of the game, but Scordia — who went both ways at running back and linebacker — picked off a pass in the Trojan redzone to thwart the drive. On Troy’s third and final drive of the 10-play portion of the scrimmage, Kotwica was sharp in driving the Trojans down the field, but a series of penalties bogged down the drive.
Reynoldsburg scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass on its final 10-play series before both teams went to down and distance drives.
Troy’s offense struggled during its three down and distance drives, going three-and-out and two of the drives and never crossing midfield. Reynoldsburg, meanwhile, would score on a long run and a 25-yard pass to end the scrimmage. Troy’s defense did record another turnover on Reynoldsburg’s second drive, however, as Tristan Meek forced a fumble and Scoria pounced on it deep in Trojan territory.
Still, though, Burgbacher was pleased with what he saw.
“We’ll go in and look at film and find the things we did wrong — and we’ll also look at the things we did right and find out why they worked,” he said. “It’s all part of the learning process. What made me happiest was the enthusiasm we had. These kids were excited to be out here and playing football.”
Troy hosts Dunbar at 7 p.m. Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium in the final scrimmage of the preseason. Troy opens the regular season Aug. 27 — a Thursday — against Chaminade Julienne at Wayne High School.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org