Troy receiver Austin Stanaford is tackled by Butler’s Logan Mason during the first half of Friday night’s Miami Valley League opener at Troy Memorial Stadium. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Troy tops Butler in Miami Valley League opener, moves to 2-0

“I feel like every week we grow closer as a team and show each other more and more what we can do,” he said. “It’s fun to be out there with my brothers.”

Last week the Trojans were a running team behind 176 yards and three touchdowns by Kevin Walters in an overtime victory against Belmont. But the Trojans liked the matchups for their outside receivers in Week 2 against Vandalia Butler, and Siler took advantage. “We have confidence in our dudes,” he said.

Siler ran for two touchdowns, but the final two minutes of the first half were a quarterback’s dream. After Weston Smith’s second interception, Siler hit Nicolas Barr in stride down the right sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass. With 39 seconds left in the half, Siler hit Austin Stanaford with a 41-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline.

“Every day in practice we complete those, so in the game it shouldn’t be any different,” Siler said. “I know if I throw it up to them they’re going to come down with it.”

That sudden two-touchdown lead sparked the Trojans to a 35-14 victory over Butler in the inaugural Miami Valley League game. Both teams helped form the league with eight other former Greater Western Ohio Conference schools.

“I’ll bet Brayden did have a lot of fun,” said first-year Troy head coach Dan Gress, who has worked on the Troy staff since 2015. “He and the wide receivers made a lot of big plays that really opened the game up for our offense.”

Like every high school team, the Trojans (2-0) are breaking in new starters. But for Butler second-year coach John Puckett varsity inexperience is in abundance. He started 10 sophomores Friday and four seniors who are first-year players.

“It’s tough, but we’re battling,” Puckett said. “We’ve got to communicate the game plan a little bit better and make it a little more simple so our young guys can execute it.”

The Aviators (0-2) started fast with opening drives to the Troy seven-yard line and the 10. But one drive ended with a blocked field goal and the second on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1. They did respond to tie the score at 7-7 in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Luke Mitchell threw to junior wide receiver Ryan Wilson for a 49-yard touchdown.

Puckett said his young team is gritty, and the Aviators showed it in the third quarter with a drive that consumed eight minutes and 47 seconds and got them back in the game.

Mitchell made some big runs and completed a number of key passes on an 18-play, 85-yard drive to trim Troy’s lead to 21-14 with 1:02 left in the quarter.

“He made some great plays and he made some not-so-great plays,” Puckett said. “That’s what you have to live with when you have a sophomore quarterback.”

The Trojans responded with two drives that ended with four-yard scoring runs by Siler and Walters.

“At that point you’ve got to dig deep and say that the game’s on the line,” Siler said.

Siler, a second-year starter, completed 8 or 19 passes for 182 yards and rushed 18 times for 99 yards. Walters carried 13 times, mostly in the second half, for 104 yards.

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