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Trojans finish strong against Bluehawks

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| October 27, 2009 12:00 AM

Without a trip to state playoffs on the line, the Troy-Thompson Falls football game on Friday night didn’t hold much importance. Unlike last season, both the Trojans and Bluehawks had been eliminated from the postseason race.

Still, the game meant a lot to coaches and players who wanted to end the season playing top-caliber football. And on senior night – as well as homecoming night – the Trojans put together a complete game in a 30-14 victory.

“This game was played with a lot of intensity considering there was nothing on the line,” Troy coach Rich McElmurry said. “It was nice to finish that way for the seniors. You always remember your last game.”

The Troy offense compiled just over 300 yards and the defense shutout the opposition in the second half to finish the season with an overall record of 3-5.

“I never felt comfortable until that last first down when we could kneel on the ball,” McElmurry said. “I think our run defense played exceptionally well.”

McElmurry’s point was easy to see in the final statistics. The Bluehawks managed just 46 rushing yards with top runner Richard Lyons limited to 39 yards on 13 carries.

Troy never trailed and drew first blood on the third play of the game. First, Thompson Falls fumbled the ball away on the game-opening kickoff return. Troy senior Pat Hickman fell on the ball to give the Trojans possession at the Bluehawk 37.

Jake Alexander followed with a TD on Troy’s second play from scrimmage. The hard-running senior broke tackles and kept his balance during a 24-yard run to the end zone. Alexander, who finished with 122 yards on 23 carries, also converted the two-point conversion run.

Thompson Falls countered on its next possession with an 18-yard touchdown pass from QB Will Darby to Kevin Hagedorn. The Bluehawks tied the game with a successful two-point conversion pass.

The Trojans found paydirt again in the closing minutes of the first quarter. Getting the ball near midfield following a 20-yard punt and benefiting from a 15-yard penalty, the Trojans scored on a 17-yard jaunt by senior Caleb Kelso. He added the two-point conversion run for a 16-8 lead.

The Bluehawks closed to within two points in the final minute of the first half. The drive had stayed alive when the Trojans fumbled on a punt return. Later on third-and-goal, Darby plunged forward for the TD. On the two-point conversion attempt, Troy’s Kelso came up with a big hit at the 1-yard line to keep the Trojans in front.

Thompson Falls found nothing but frustration on its first two possessions of the second half. On both occasions, Trojan junior Trent Cratty came away with interceptions.

“I really believe it came down to turnovers,” McElmurry said. “The turnovers were huge.”

The Trojans had struggled with turnovers in previous games and had lost the ball on that punt return fumble late in the second quarter. But this time around, Troy avoided those game-changing mistakes late in the contest.

Following Cratty’s second interception, the Trojans set up shop in the red zone. Ormiston moved the chains on third-and-2 with a short run and Kelso scored the touchdown from four yards out.

“We would’ve liked to have made the two-point conversion that we missed,” McElmurry said about a failed run attempt that followed.

The Troy defense came up with big plays on the Bluehawks’ ensuing possession. On fourth-and-9 from the Trojan 33, Ormiston ended the drive by knocking down a pass.

Troy followed up with a 15-play, 70-yard drive that used up nearly half of the fourth quarter. On the fifth play, the Trojans converted on third-and-9 with a 17-yard pass from Ormiston to Derrick Winslow. And on fourth-and-goal from the 11, Troy scored on the fleaflicker with an 11-yard pass from Ormiston to Jake Higgins.

“That’s exactly what we wanted,” McElmurry said about the time-consuming drive that ended with a 30-14 lead.

Kody Hoffman scored the two-point conversion on a pass from Ormiston.

Thompson Falls tried to get its passing game going on the next possession but Ormiston got an interception to end the visitors’ hopes. Troy followed with another long drive to end the game and the QB took a knee in the final seconds with the ball on the five-yard line.

Ormiston completed 12-of-19 passes for 99 yards with four catches to Hoffman, three to Alexander and two to Kelso. Besides the 122 from Alexander, the Trojans also got 63 yards on 11 carries from Kelso.

Troy finished 7-B District play with a 3-5 overall record.