By David Fong
HUBER HEIGHTS — Troy football coach Matt Burgbacher knew going in it wouldn’t be easy.
He was right.
Wayne — the Division I state runner-up a year ago and the No. 2 Division I team in the state according to the first Associated Press state poll of the season — was as good as advertised (maybe even better) in a 49-7 win over the Trojans Friday.
The Warriors led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, 49-0 at halftime, and cruised on in for the win in the second half under a running clock.
“They are a great team,” Burgbacher said. “We knew that. They are every bit as good as we thought they were. They are easily one of the best teams in the state.”
The good news? Troy will not face a team as highly ranked as the Warriors the rest of the season. Not that it will be easy the final six weeks of the season, but it’s hard to imagine Troy will face a team even as close to being as big, as strong or as fast as Wayne.
Before looking ahead, however, a final look back at Troy’s game with Wayne:
Offensive Player of the Game
On a night in which the Warriors’ bone-crunching defense limited what the Trojans were able to accomplish, junior receiver Hayata Nagata — in the first significant varsity action of his career — caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Troy quarterback Hayden Kotwica.
Nagata caught the pass at around the Wayne 5, spun out of a tackle and backed his way into the end zone for his first career varsity touchdown.
Defensive Player of the Game
Troy’s defense offered little resistance against Wayne’s high-powered offense in the early stages of the game, but was able to find some footing later — when the clock was running and most of the Warriors had retired to the bench to sit out the second half.
Sophomore linebacker Joah Schricker not only finished the game with five tackles, but recovered a fumble late in the game in the Trojan red zone that prevented another potential Wayne touchdown.
What This Means
The less said, the better. Troy’s program simply is not in a place — not yet, anyway — where it can compete with the elite Division I teams in the state. It was not a Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division game, so it’s probably best if the Trojans just move on.
Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if Wayne makes another deep postseason run.
What Happens Next
While Wayne almost certainly will be Troy’s toughest test of the season, it’s not as if the final six games of the season are cake walks by any stretch of the imagination. This week, Troy (1-3) will take on Xenia (1-3), which looked impressive in a 38-21 win over previously unbeaten Butler Friday.
From there, the Trojans will enter GWOC North play, where every game will be a battle. All five of Troy’s North opponents have won at least two games already this season.
Burgbacher has stated from the beginning of the season Troy’s first goal is winning the North. His team will have to put the Wayne loss in the past quickly and move on to the final six games of the season.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong