Troy and Tippecanoe hadn’t played in over 30 years before Friday’s high school football game, but the teams are plenty familiar with each other. While the Trojans struggled the last four years, they heard plenty about Tippecanoe’s regular season and playoff victories.
Troy was determined to show how good it was against Tippecanoe, and the message was delivered in the second half. The Trojans scored the last three touchdowns in a GWOC American North contest to pull away to a 35-7 win.
Tippecanoe won at least eight games in each of the last four seasons, while Troy won 10 games total in the same time.
“We really wanted this game because they’ve been talking crap to us for a long time now,” Troy senior quarterback Hayden Kotwica said. “It was good to finally show them what’s up.”
Kotwica scored the game’s first touchdown on a five-yard run in the first quarter and then threw two touchdown passes in the second half to help the Trojans (5-1, 1-0 GWOC North) run away. Kotwica, who set a school record with 2,021 passing yards last year, has helped the Trojans’ offense average 396 yards and 29.3 points per game this season.
“Hayden has been very unselfish in the fact that we threw the ball a lot last year and aren’t now,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “We’re running the ball a lot more this year, but he’s all in. All of our kids care about the ‘W,’ not who gets their name in the paper or on the Internet, because they just want to win games and see ‘Troy Trojans in the newspaper.”
After Kotwica’s first touchdown run, Troy added another score on a 1-yard run by Josh Browder late in the second to increase the lead to 14-0. But Tippecanoe drove down the field near the end of the second and scored on a 9-yard pass from Aaron Hughes to Quenten Williams.
“I thought in the first half we bent a little bit there defensively, but in the second half we made a few adjustments and our defense was ready to rock and roll, and they did an awesome job,” Burgbacher said.
Tippecanoe (4-2, 0-1) drove into Troy territory on the first drive of the second half, but Jacob Anderson grabbed an interception in front of a Tippecanoe player on a fourth-down try.
Troy quickly took advantage of the interception. After a big run by Kotwica, Josh Browder broke a tackle on a handoff and raced 50 yards up the home sideline for a touchdown. Kotwica then threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Matt McGillivary and a 37-yard score to Zion Taylor to blow the game open.
The win was special for both Matt Burgbacher and his father Charlie, who is Troy’s defensive coordinator. Charlie Burgbacher coached at Tipp for nearly three decades before going to Troy last year, and Matt is a Tippecanoe alumnus.