By David Fong
TROY — The Troy football team will be taking on a familiar foe on familiar turf.
The Trojans learned their destiny Sunday afternoon when the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Troy (10-1) will be taking on Cincinnati Anderson (8-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Miamisburg High School in a Division II regional semifinal playoff game. It will be the third year in a row the two teams have met in the playoffs, but the first time they’ve played at a neutral site.
In 2016, Troy beat Anderson 41-35 in a regional quarterfinal game at Troy Memorial Stadium. Last year, the Redskins beat the Trojans 33-0 at their home stadium. First-round playoff games take place at the higher-seeded team’s home stadium. All games beyond the first round take place at neutral sites.
Miamisburg’s new stadium — located at 1860 Belvo Rd. in Miamisburg — replaced historic Harmon Field in 2016. Last year, Troy defeated Miamisburg 31-21 in Week 5 on the new field.
“The big thing for us is we are playing Week 12, which means you know you are going to be playing at a neutral site,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. In his four years as Troy’s head coach, he has led the Trojans to the playoffs three times. “We played down there last year, so we are familiar with it. No matter where you are playing in Week 12, you know it’s going to be a great facility.
“We know we are going to have a good crowd and bring a lot of people; we know they are going to have a good crowd and bring a lot of people. We expect it to be a great atmosphere for a high school football game, which is what you want in the playoffs. These are the types of experiences and opportunities we want our kids to have.”
The winner of Friday’s game will move on to the Division II regional championship game, where it will face the winner of Winton Woods (10-1) vs Little Miami (9-2). Troy is looking for its first regional final appearance since 1996. The Trojans’ lone regional title came in 1985, when they advanced to the Division I state semifinals, falling to Cincinnati Moeller.
This will be Troy’s ninth appearance in the regional semifinals, with the previous appearances coming in: 1985, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2016. The OHSAA did not have a playoff system prior to 1972. From 1972-1999, only four teams from each region qualified for the playoffs, meaning once a team qualified, its first-round game as a regional semifinal game.
Troy has now made the playoffs eight times since the playoffs were expanded to eight teams per region in 1999. The previous seven appearances were: 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017.
“Obviously we are very happy to be playing in Week 12, but we are not satisfied,” Burgbacher said. “We want to keep playing as long as we possibly can.”
To do that, Troy will first have to get by a familiar Anderson team best known for its high-powered passing attack on offense.
“We’ve got a little rivalry going,” Burgbacher said. “We are definitely familiar with what they do and we know they are familiar with what we do. Obviously the personnel for both teams has changed quite a bit since that first game two years ago. But they are still going to do a lot of the same things they’ve been doing the past two years.
“With every step you take in the postseason, the stakes get a little higher. We’ve just got to focus on us and being the best version of Troy football we can be.”
Lehman vs. Fort Loramie
The only other area team in the playoffs is Lehman, which features a number of players from Miami County on its roster. Lehman (8-3) will play Fort Loramie (10-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium in a Division VII regional quarterfinal game. Lehman has played a number of regular season and playoff games at Alexander Stadium in prior years.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong