Troy football perseveres for overtime win over Stebbins in MVL action

TROY — The Troy football team has had much adversity thrown at it already this season.

The latest was losing quarterback Josh Mayfield to a shoulder injury at the end of the Piqua game last week.

But, the Trojans just keep fighting back and that hard work was rewarded Friday night with a 28-21 win over previously unbeaten Stebbins at Troy Memorial Stadium.

“These kids have dealt with so much adversity this past couple weeks,” Troy coach Dan Gress said. “But, these kids just keep fighting. I am so proud of them.”

And in the end, it was a young offensive line and a growing defense that emerged to finish off the win.

Troy improves to 1-2 with the win, while Stebbins drops to 3-1.

In the overtime period, each team gets the ball at the other team’s 20-yard line.

Troy had possession first and three Nick Kawecki runs led to what would be the winning score.

Kawecki followed a two-yard run on first down with back-to-back nine yard runs for the score and Jack Kleinhenz’ kick made it 28-21.

“At that point, you have to score,” Gress said. “We just wanted to pound the rock. Our young offensive line just keeps getting better and better every game. That is a credit to them.”

Then, Stebbins had the opportunity to tie the game, but a Troy defense that came up with four turnovers in the game was up to the challenge.

After a holding penalty put the Indians in third and 14 from the 24, the game ended with two incomplete passes.

“Our defense played great all night,” Gress said. “And that is a good Stebbins offense. They are explosive.”

Things, certainly didn’t look good for the Trojans early.

After a five-yard punt, Stebbins started at the Troy 25 on its first possession and Omar Holloway ran it in from four yards out and Shawn Dozier kicked the PAT to make it 7-0 with 7:41 to go in the first quarter.

After Troy turned the ball over on downs, Stebbins was driving near midfield when the first of two big plays gave Troy a spark.

Eli Smith stepped in front of a Stebbins pass and returned it 29 yards to the Stebbins 21.

Troy went backwards and had a fourth-and-24 from the 35 when Kleinhenz ran 25 yards with a fake punt that led to a one-yard run by quarterback Donnie Stanley with Kleinhenz kicking the PAT.

“Things were not going our way at the start of the game,” Gress said. “Those are the kind of plays you have to have.”

On the first play following the kickoff, Stebbins quarterback Nate Keller hooked up with Rayvonn Harris-Belle for a 65-yard TD pass.

But Stanley, a junior making his first start at quarterback, answered with a 78-yard TD pass to Kleinhenz and Kleinhenz kick made it 14-14 with 10:08 remaining in the half.

“Donnie (Stanley) has been a staple of our program since junior high,” Gress said. “I am just happy for him to get this opportunity. I think the biggest thing is he just took command out there like a quarterback.”

Stebbins started the second half with fumbles on consecutive plays, recovered by JJ McCoy and Kellen Strayer respectively.

Strayer’s recovery gave Troy the ball at the Stebbins 26 and the Trojans cashed in.

Stanley converted a fourth-and-six from the 22 with a 17-yard pass to Kleinhenz and Jahari Ward ran it in from five yards out with Kleinhenz kick making it 21-14 with 7:08 to go in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Wyatt Smith picked off a Keller pass and returned it to the Stebbins 39, but a field goal attempt on the drive was wide.

Later Troy appeared to have taken a 10-point lead when Kleinhenz kicked a 35-yard field goal, but it was waived off because of 12 men on the field.

After the defense stopped Stebbins, the Trojans fumbled the punt and the Indians took over the Troy 35-yard line.

“The 12 men on the field is on me,” Gress said.

Keller hooked up with Adrian Norton for a diving catch in the end zone on a 33-yard pass and Dozier’s kick made it 21-21 with 5:09 to go.

Neither team could score after that, setting up the overtime where Troy’s offensive line and defense took over.

Unofficially, Kawecki had 181 yards on 28 carries, while Stanley completed 10 of 20 passes for 166 yards and Kleinhenz had two receptions for 95 yards and Wolke had five receptions for 43 yards.

Keller completed 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards.

Harris-Belle had seven receptions for 105 yards and Norton had six catches for 67 yards.

Holloway had 21 carries for 108 yards.

Now, Troy heads to Fairborn Friday looking to even its record — and take on whatever adversity gets thrown the Trojans way.