By David Fong
LIMA — It was a productive, if somewhat limited, night for the Troy football team Friday in its first official scrimmage of the preseason against Lima Senior at Spartan Stadium.
With storms looming in the area and Lima Senior team sporting a significantly smaller roster than Troy, the varsity portion of that scrimmage was limited to three 10-play possessions for each offense. There was no down-and-distance portion of the scrimmage. Both teams also played their junior varsity rosters for two possessions.
In the varsity portion of the scrimmage, the Trojans outscored the Spartans 2-1, while Lima Senior outscored Troy 2-0 in the junior varsity scrimmage.
“I was pleased with how we did; we saw some very good things,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “We did have to cut it short because we had some concerns about the weather. I would have liked to have gotten some of our older guys some more reps, but it just didn’t work out that way. But I was also glad to get some of our younger guys some reps. They come to practice every day, and they deserved this opportunity.
“The good thing was we got to go against another team, which is always a good thing. We’ve spent the past two weeks going against our teammates every day in practice. I know the kids were excited to finally get out here and go against someone else. Lima Senior is a very good team. We saw some good things and we saw some things we needed to work on.”
The Spartans opened the scrimmage on offense and weren’t able to move the ball until the final of their 10 plays, when they connected on a long pass inside the Troy 5-yard line. Other than that, however, Troy’s defense largely controlled things, as senior defensive lineman Zach Niswonger recorded a quarterback sack and senior outside linebacker Sam Jackson picked off a pass.
“I thought our defense played well,” Burgbacher said. “The one thing I liked was the way we swarmed to the ball. Did we miss some tackles? Yes, but the nice thing was that when we did miss a tackle, there was always another guy right there to make the tackle.”
On Troy’s first offensive possession, junior quarterback Brayden Siler connected with senior slot receiver Shane Shoop, who slipped several tackles and turned what looked to be a short gain into a 30-yard shot into the heart of Lima Senior territory. It was the debut at receiver for Shoop, who — in addition to starting at inside linebacker the past two years — has moonlighted at running back for the Trojans. If that play was any indication of things to come, it could be a big year for Shoop in the slot.
Several plays after that big gain, junior running back Kevin Walters rumbled in from 10 yards out for Troy’s first touchdown of the night. Returning All-Ohio running back Jaydon Culp-Bishop, Jackson, Walters, Carlos Quintero and Noah Young all saw time in the backfield Friday for the Trojans.
“We have great depth at running back,” Burgbacher said. “We really feel like we have four or five guys who are capable of carrying the ball for us. We are going to use all of those guys. You’ve got to remember that Sammy is also going to be playing defense for us. Kevin is going to be playing some defense for us. We may even need to use Jaydon on defense. So we want to be able to use all of those running backs and keep them fresh.”
On Lima Senior’s second possession, Troy’s defense again took control. The drive was highlighted by Shoop forcing a fumble, which senior defensive lineman Garrett Jones recovered. Later in the drive, Shoop and senior linebacker Austin Blair teamed up on a quarterback sack.
Troy’s offense scored again on its second possession. Several runs by Culp-Bishop got the Trojans to midfield, then Siler hooked up with senior tight end Spencer Klopfenstein, who got behind the Spartan defense for a 50-yard touchdown. It was essentially the varsity debut for Siler, who only saw relief duty at quarterback last season as a sophomore.
“He did a good job,” Burgbacher said of Siler. “He got hit a few times, but he always popped right back up. He made some good throws. You have to remember that in our offense, there’s always going to be little things he could have done — he could have handed off here or kept the ball and run here or thrown to a different receiver. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for him in the film room. But overall, I was really pleased with how he played.”
Lima Senior did break through on its third possession with a 65-yard quarterback keeper for a score, while Troy failed to produce much yardage on its third and final possession of the varsity portion of the scrimmage. The junior varsity portion of the scrimmage was highlighted by an interception by sophomore Dawson Roby and several bruising runs by bullish sophomore quarterback La’Manual Kemp.
“The thing I was most pleased about was our kids’ effort,” Burgbacher said. “Our kids came out here and played hard. They gave it everything they had.”
Troy will host Dunbar in its final scrimmage at 7 p.m Aug. 17 at Troy Memorial Stadium. The Trojans open the regular season at 7 p.m Aug. 24 against Belmont at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Miami East vs.
CASSTOWN — After shutting out Lehman’s varsity in a scrimmage on Tuesday night, the Miami East Vikings continued to dominate on Friday, shutting out Southeastern’s varsity while scoring seven touchdowns.
Against Lehman, Justin Brown and Vincent Villella each scored a rushing touchdown and Brown added an interception return for a score, giving East three touchdowns to the Cavaliers’ zero.
And against Southeastern on Friday, Brown scored on touchdown runs of 40 and 25 yards, as well as catching a 70-yard touchdown pass from Ian Gengler — one of Gengler’s three TD passes on the night. Blaine Brokschmidt caught the other two touchdown passes, both 70-yarders. Brokschmidt and Brown also both added interception returns for scores as the Viking defense again looked dominant.
Miami East hosts Northwestern in its final scrimmage on Aug. 17 before traveling to Milton-Union for the season opener on Aug. 24.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong