After a 29-point loss on the road at Francis Howell on Sept. 25, Troy Buchanan took the short drive to Wentzville to try to get back on the winning track Friday night against Timberland.
Unlike the contest against Francis Howell, the Trojans’ fate came down to two yards – and Troy Buchanan fell one yard short – in a 21-15 loss to the Wolves.
Down six points, Troy gained possession of the ball after a Timberland punt with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and put its power running game to work, looking to score the game-winning touchdown – and running the clock out in the process.
However, the Wolves’ defense stiffened just outside the red zone, and both squads found themselves in a war of attrition: fourth down and two yards to go at the Timberland 22-yard-line.
Kayden Ulhmeyer’s was bottled up by the Timberland defense on an attempted quarterback sneak with at the 1:39 mark to seal a second consecutive defeat for the Trojans.
Uhlmeyer had scored on that same play early in the second quarter from the 2-yard-line to get his team on the board, and Trojans’ coach Ryan Nesbitt trusted his team to get the first down to keep the drive going with the call.
“Everything was shaping up for the finish we wanted,” said Nesbitt, whose squad fell to 3-3 on the season. “This is a young team full of sophomores, and we didn’t make the plays we needed to make early to win the game, but we were in the game at the end.”
Timberland coach Ed Gilreath said his defense did nothing special on the game-deciding stop.
“That was great to see the boys come through like that,” he said. “We were just playing our playing our base defense, and I told them to just get it done and do your jobs.”
Early on, it looked like a potential Timberland rout. A 10-yard Glenn Scott TD run was followed by an 80-yard blast untouched through the Troy defense – and the Wolves had a sudden 14-0 advantage at the 2:51 mark of the opening quarter.
However, after Ulhmeyer’s score, Mason Gessert knocked home a 22-yard field goal with six seconds left to go into halftime with the Trojans trailing 14-9.
But Timberland took the second-half kickoff, and marched down the field on the Troy defense into the end zone once again. Quarterback Ryan Dickherber found paydirt from six yards out to increase the score to 21-9 with 7:55 in the third quarter.
“At the end of the day, (the Wolves) made some plays,” Nesbitt said. “It just came down to a couple of miscues by our team, and it cost us. We’re a young team.”
The Trojans wouldn’t go away though. Troy’s defense shut down Timberland’s offense for the rest of the game, and Zach Collins’ 8-yard TD run through several defenders at 10:12 of the fourth quarter set up the gladiator-like finish between the two teams.
“We’re just a young team that’s learning how to win – and we were playing a team that played for the district championship last year,” Gilreath said. “We played three-and-a-half quarters of good football, and we had to hold on at the end.”
Up next, the Trojans return home to face Holt, who suffered its first loss at the hands of Francis Howell. Nesbitt said his team must get back to its 1-0 each week mentality to end its slide and defeat the Indians in the Gateway-South Conference battle.
“The mentality hasn’t changed,” he said. “We’re playing good football teams.
“The sun’s going to come up tomorrow. We just have to get ready (for Holt).”