By David Fong
CINCINNATI — Everything that could go wrong, did.
From the moment the Troy football team’s coaching headsets stopped working just before game time, right up until the bitter end, the Trojans simply didn’t have any answers for Anderson Friday in a 33-0 loss in the Division II regional quarterfinals.
With the loss, Troy’s season came to an end at 8-3, while Anderson improved to 10-1 and will advance to the next round of the playoffs.
Anderson jumped out to a 20-0 lead early and Troy never could quite recover from there.
“That’s a good football team,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said of Anderson. “We couldn’t off to a slow start and we did. They got off to a fast start and put us in a hole and we never could recover. They also played a whale of a game on defense.”
It was the first time Troy’s offense had been shut out since a 48-0 loss to Trotwood-Madison in the season opener. In last year’s regional quarterfinal meeting between the two teams, Troy was able to prevail in a 41-35 shootout. Friday, Anderson had all the answers on both sides of the ball.
Anderson got off to a blistering start and Troy simply couldn’t keep up early.
The Redskins wasted little time in taking the opening drive 65 yards for a touchdown, capping it off with a 10-yard run by Volpenhein.
Troy’s offense couldn’t answer, as Anderson’s defense held the Trojans without a first down on its first two drives. Following Troy’s second punt of the night, the Redskins took the ball and went 75 yards for a touchdown as Volpenhein again did the damage with his feet, scoring on a 35-yard quarterback draw to put Anderson up 12-0.
Following another Trojan punt, Anderson’s offense kept right on clicking, as Volepenhein led his team to another quick score, capping off the scoring drive with a touchdown pass to put the Redskins up 20-0 following the two-point conversion.
The Trojan offense finally got things to slowly start churning on its third drive, driving down to the Anderson 35. Troy’s drive would stall however, as the Trojans turned the ball over on downs. Troy’s defense would get its first stop of the night, however, as Anderson turned the ball over on downs inside the Trojan 10 yard line.
Troy would answer with a slow, methodical drive that would eat up almost the entire second quarter, but ultimately that drive ultimately fizzled, as the Trojans turned the ball over on downs inside the Redskin 15. From there, Anderson was able to run out the clock and take a 20-0 halftime lead.
“That would have put us right back in it if we had scored,” Burgbacher said. “We could have gone into halftime 20-7 and then had some momentum and get the kickoff to start the second half. But give them credit — they made the plays when they had to.”
Anderson was able to add two more touchdowns in the second half to stretch its lead to 33-0 and start the running clock. From there, it was only a matter of time — or lack of time — before Troy’s season came to an end.
“I’ll say this much for our kids,” Burgbacher said. “They never quit. I’ll give them that.”
Which also sums up the careers of Troy’s 15 seniors who played their final game. They were 1-9 as freshman, 2-8 as sophomores, 10-2 as juniors and 8-3 this season. Along the way, they won back-to-back Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division titles and made to playoff appearances.
“I’m going to miss these guys,” Burgbacher said. “They’ve definitely left their mark on this program. They are going to be remembered for a long time to come. They helped turn this program around.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong