- Nick Dudukovich Contributing Writer
Troy quarterback Sam Coleman’s first varsity touchdown will be something the senior never forgets.
With the television cameras of Thursday Night Lights watching, Coleman’s first score as the Trojans’ field general came on an 11-yard scramble on fourth and 6.
The first-quarter touchdown gave Troy a 14-0 lead and set the Trojans on their way to a 28-6 victory against the Buccaneers at home..
Coleman dropped back to pass, but the clock ticking in the quarterback’s head told him to take off scrambling when he didn’t see anything he liked.
“It was a little bit of a breakdown (on the play). I think there was good protection, but sometimes I get a little antsy, and I take off,” Coleman said. “So I decided to take off … and it was good blocking by Derek McDonagh on the backside, so I just took off and it was easy.”
Troy coach Matt Burgbacher was quick to admit some of the calls in his playbook will break down, and credited his senior’s decision making, despite it being just his second varsity quarterback start.
“That’s just a kid making plays,” Burgbacher said. “Sam had some really good moments, and some bad moments. But you know, he’s still learning. The speed on Friday night is a lot different than on Saturday mornings.”
Trojans halfback Jaydon Culp-Bishop got the scoring started with a 32-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
With the Buccaneers fumbling the opening kickoff, and then going down 7-0, Xenia coach Trace Smitherman knew his squad would be facing an uphill battle the rest of the night, especially after committing three first-half turnovers.
“We dug ourselves a huge hole to get the party started,” he said. “We opened with the ball, and we fumble on the kick return. Then we get the ball moving a little bit, and we throw an interception.”
The pick came courtesy of Zach Boyer, who recorded two interceptions.
Boyer’s second pick crushed what looked like a promising first-quarter drive, engineered by a 20-yard keeper from Xenia quarterback Jonny Shampton and a 27-yard rush by Corey Burnette Jr.
Xenia then took its shot with the deep ball, but the pass was intercepted by Boyer in the end zone for a touchback.
Coleman then made his memorable dash, and later capped his first half with a 26-yard pass to Boyer with 46 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Despite a 21-0 halftime deficit, Xenia put itself in a position to make a comeback.
Sincere Wells cut into Troy’s three-touchdown lead with an 18-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
With just under two minutes to play in the third, Xenia had a shot to make it a one-possession game, but the Buccaneers couldn’t convert four attempts from within the 5-yard line.
On 4th and goal, a pitch eluded the hands of Xenia’s halfback, and the ball ended up in the Buccaneers backfield. As a result, Troy took over on downs.
“First and goal on the 3, and we’re unable to punch it in. We’ve got to do a better job,” Smitherman said.
Xenia rushed for more yards than the Trojans (145-138), but for the second straight week was unable present an aerial attack.
Coleman completed 10 of 28 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions.