Eureka downs Troy in key 7-B matchup
Kody Hoffman, who came in to play quarterback for a series in the fourth quarter, picks up yardage on Friday against Eureka.
| September 21, 2009 12:00 AM
Walking toward the locker room following his team’s 35-8 loss to Eureka, Trojans head coach Rich McElmurry could only shake his head.
“Too many turnovers and too much Price.”
To sum up the game quickly, the veteran Troy coach hit the nail on the head. The Trojans committed eight turnovers and Price rushed for 282 yards on 32 carries in the District 7-B matchup.
“He’s a very good athlete … he just runs hard,” McElmurry said about Eureka’s No. 44 – a 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior. “If you start keying on him, it opens up so many other things.”
Both turnovers and Price took center stage from the very beginning. On the Trojans’ first series, Eureka’s David Wilson picked off Troy’s Mike Ormiston to give his team the ball at its own 36. Price then took over and ripped off a 35-yard gain on his first carry.
It appeared as though the Trojans would hold when Eureka started to shoot itself in the foot. After getting down to the 2, the Lions were flagged for holding and a false start. Troy’s Trent Cratty then knocked down a pass into the end zone to put Eureka into a third-and-17.
But Price worked his magic, the Trojans couldn’t wrap him up on a few tackle opportunities and he scored down the left sideline.
During one stretch in the first half, Troy saw four consecutive drives end with a turnover. In all, Eureka picked off six Trojan passes – four by Ormiston and the other two on option pass attempts by Jake Higgins. Troy also fumbled the ball away twice.
“I thought we’d have a tough time,” McElmurry said about Eureka. “I thought we would move the ball on them. We just had some mental lapses in there.”
Eureka went on to build a 27-0 lead. Taylor Vaughn scored on a 17-yard run late in the first and Price broke off an 86-yard sprint to the end zone 54 seconds into the second period. Then after both teams battled back and forth for most of the period, the Lions scored on another big play when QB Colin Gillard found Andrew Sanders on a 41-yard TD.
Troy responded at that point with a quick series that covered 82 yards in just 43 seconds. Starting the drive on their own 18, the Trojans moved the chains with a 14-yard run by Caleb Kelso. Later facing a third-and-4, Troy had its biggest play of the game on a pass from Ormiston to Brian Hammrich. The play covered 50 yards and got the ball down to the 10-yard line. The ball moved up another five yards on a Eureka penalty.
Jake Alexander then scored the only Troy TD of the night on a 5-yard run. He also scored on a two-point conversion pass from Ormiston.
Despite all of the turnovers and miscues, Troy was still within striking distance with a 19-point halftime deficit and 24 minutes of game clock remaining.
“I was happy with the second half. We could’ve laid down and watch them run over us,” McElmurry said. “That’s something to build on.”
Eureka continued to move the ball but the Troy defense came up big when needed. On the first series, the Lions had to punt and later in the quarter, Hammrich ended another Eureka drive with a sack.
Still, Troy couldn’t iron out its turnover problems and get back into the game. In fact, the Trojans’ first three possessions of the second half ended on turnovers.
After recovering a fumble at the 15-yard line, the Lions scored with the short field on a three-yard run up the middle by Gillard.
“We only gave up one score in the second half,” McElmurry said. “We just made mistakes … they forced us to make mistakes.”
Troy kept the Lions out of the end zone on the first series of the fourth quarter. On third-and-goal, Kody Hoffman deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and on fourth down, the Lions fumbled the ball and recovered it, but lost possession on downs.
The Trojans moved the ball a bit on their final drive. Hoffman got some time in at quarterback and picked up 28 yards on his first carry. However, the drive stalled at midfield.
Troy ended up with 238 yards of total offense – 115 on the ground and 123 through the air. Alexander rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries, Ormiston completed 9-of-19 passes and both Hoffman and Derrick Winslow had three catches apiece.
Troy (1-1, 2-1) heads to Plains on Friday for another conference matchup.