For the first time this season, the lights were on for Friday night high school football at John H. Lawrence Sports Complex at Troy Buchanan High School.
Unfortunately for the Trojans – and their fans – the Holt Indians ungraciously turned the lights out on their hosts in the second half. Holt combined Troy miscues and its own high-powered offense for a third-quarter outburst that a close contest into a 44-7 rout.
Leading 10-7 after a 20-yard field goal from Brayden Burthardt as time expired in the first half, the Indians went to work in the third quarter. Jackson Smith’s 9-yard TD run was followed by a 30-yard TD pass by quarterback Cooper Brown to Colin Bunner.
After Holt’s special teams blocked a Mason Gessert punt, Smith scored his second touchdown of the quarter, this time from eight yards out to up the lead to 31-7.
Nick Bova then fumbled on Troy’s first play of its next possession. Defensive end Clayton Mitchell scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 21 yards untouched into the night to cap a 27-point explosion to lead 37-7 after three quarters.
Trojans coach Ryan Nesbitt said his team had a sound game plan in the first plan – and even got a 71-yard blast for a score from Bova on the second play of the game for their efforts. However, he also said he had no explanation for what happened to his squad in the third quarter.
“In the first half, we stuck to the script. We just didn’t finish drives,” Nesbitt said. “The second half? I have no words.”
Holt coach Ethan Place said his Indians overcame a slow start and played the kind of football they’re capable of playing.
“They came out after halftime, and focused on their game – and we’re a dangerous team if we can do that,” said Place, whose Indians improved to 6-1 on the season with the win. “We also know if we focused on their strengths offensively, which is their running game, we could handle them.
“If we could handle their running game, we would do well.”
The loss was Troy’s third consecutive after a 3-1 start, and dropped the Trojans below .500 at 3-4, which matches the team’s entire loss total from last season.
Nevertheless, Nesbitt said there’s nothing wrong with his young unit – and he was confident with what he has going forward.
“We’re fine,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re a young football team.
“This is a good football team. We’ll be fine.”