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WEEK 5: Unbeaten Troy faces big challenge in Miamisburg

Troy’s stunning turnaround will meet its greatest challenge when the Trojans (4-0) host Miamisburg (3-1) in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover high school football game tonight.

Troy struggled to 2-8 last season, Matt Burgbacher’s first as coach. Now, the Trojans are No. 1 in the Division II, Region 8 computer rankings and continue to climb up the D-II state poll. But that lofty status will be put to the test against Miamisburg, which is coming off a 45-12 blowout loss to Wayne.

“This is the kind of game that kids dream about playing,” said Burgbacher, an intervention specialist at the high school. “It’s got all kinds of meaning to it. It’s great to play a huge, meaningful game early in the season. It’s another measuring stick for us in how far we’ve come and where we’re at.”

Troy began the season with a shocking 10-6 defeat of mighty Trotwood-Madison and has beaten Northwest, Bellefontaine and Fairborn since. Miamisburg blew out West Carrollton, Chaminade Julienne and Thurgood Marshall before falling to Wayne.

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Burgbacher said he’s had former Troy coach Steve Nolan, now retired, talk to his team about the impact Trojans football has on the community. Burgbacher also said community and student support has been building each week.

“It’s a huge challenge, but we’re all looking forward to it,” he said.

Ironically, this might not be the only game these teams play. Miamisburg currently is No. 8 in Region 8 and the top eight teams advance to the playoffs.

• It’ll be a No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup when Valley View (4-0) visits Franklin (4-0) in a Southwestern Buckeye League showdown today. Franklin is top-rated in the Division III, Region 12 computer rankings and Valley View is the same in D-IV, Region 16.

“The biggest thing is just keeping the main thing the main thing,” Franklin coach Brad Childers said. “We know it’s going to be a playoff-type environment. It will be exciting.”

Franklin won 21-18 last season, but both teams were 5-5 and missed the playoffs.

• There shouldn’t be any chance of a letdown when Alter (4-0) hosts Fenwick (1-3) at Centerville. Last season Fenwick handed Alter (10-2) its only two losses.

“If somebody beats us twice in one year, we’re going to take notice,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “It’s not just another game. This is Fenwick.”

• Springfield (3-1) will play at its home Evans Stadium for the first time this season when Lebanon (3-1) visits today. An infestation of grubs and fungus forced the Wildcats to relocate at Wittenberg.

Ironically, both teams are coming off last-second wins, Springfield beating Centerville 26-20 and Lebanon stunning Beavercreek 27-21. Springfield senior Danny Davis has delivered 1,216 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in four games. Uncommitted, he’s being heavily recruited in both football and basketball.

• Coldwater (4-0) owns a distinct advantage over Midwest Athletic Conference rival St. Henry (3-1). The Cavaliers have beaten the Redskins in 20 consecutive regular-season games. St. Henry’s last defeat of Coldwater was 26-19 in OT in 1996.

St. Henry’s only loss this season was 27-13 to unbeaten and host Covington (4-0) in the season opener. St. Henry defensive back Parker Link has five interceptions. Coldwater has won 27 straight games.

• Mechanicsburg senior Kaleb Romero is the poster dual-threat QB. He surpassed 9,000 yards of career offense during last week’s 51-6 hammering of Ohio Heritage Conference rival Cedarville. That breaks down to 4,499 yards passing and 4,562 yards rushing in four seasons as a starter for a total career offense of 9,062 yards, an astonishing near-perfect balance.

Romero also has scored 432 career points. Mechanicsburg (4-0) is at Triad (0-4) today.

• The turnaround for Springfield Catholic Central (4-0) is tough to beat. The Irish were 0-20 in the 2013-14 seasons.

“This is new and exciting for the guys,” said coach Mike McKenna, a longtime Irish assistant who succeeded Steve Dewitt this season. “They never experienced much winning on the football field. A lot of these guys have been starting since they were freshmen. Now they’re gaining confidence.”

Central is at Northeastern (1-3) today.

• Another undefeated showdown will feature Covington (4-0) at Troy Christian (4-0). Covington has emerged as the best in the Cross County Conference. Troy Christian is independent but plays seven CCC teams.

Both teams feature first-year coaches: Tyler Cates at Covington and Steve Jones at TC.

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