Comeback attempt falls short for Troy in final seconds against Loyalsock
TROY — They say football is a game of inches, and at Alparon Park where Troy hosted Loyalsock on Friday — the outcome came down to just one yard.
The Trojans fell by a score of 36-35, and a failed two-point conversion with 2:57 left in the contest that came up just one yard short proved to be the difference and gave the Trojans their first loss of 2022.
“We were playing to win this week,” Troy Head Coach Jim Smith said. “We moved the ball on some short yardage, and we felt good about the decision to go for it. But, we came up short, but either way I didn’t feel like going into multiple overtimes. In the situation we were in we had a chance to win it with two minutes left, and we came up short.”
Though the game came down to a play late — there was a massive amount of drama leading up to that pivotal moment.
A few plays into the second quarter — Troy would draw first blood.
They would score on a Clayton Smith run from five yards out set up by an offsides penalty by Loyalsock.
Troy would find themselves leading 7-0 with 10:49 left in the second, but it wouldn’t take long for Loyalsock to respond.
Tyler Gee would find Jaylin Andrews on a fourth-down pass for a 34-yard touchdown and evened the score.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Troy special teams unit would once again make a monstrous play, and Charles Oldroyd would field the kick at his 10-yard line and race 90-yards to paydirt to go up 14-7.
But Loyalsock would once again have an answer for Troy — and used a 77-yard drive capped by a Davion Hill touchdown to even the score.
Loyalsock would throw a heave at the halftime buzzer that would be caught in the end zone — but a holding call would negate the play and send the game into the break tied at 14.
After the break Loyalsock seemed to have one thing in mind — get Hill the ball.
Hill would score the next two touchdowns of the game, one from 37 yards out and one from 24 yards out.
The Lancers took a 28-14 lead with 3:55 left in the third.
With all the momentum in Loyalsock’s favor, Troy would start to rally.
“I was happy with how the guys responded,” Coach Smith said. “This is a very athletic football team. We had some injuries in this. We lost our best defensive player (Kory Schucker) and leader in our middle linebacker early on. That wasn’t easy. But I felt like the kids did a wonderful job hanging in there.”
Evan Woodward picked up a big third-and-long with his legs on the next Troy possession, and Jackson Taylor scored one play later on a 40-yard run to cut the gap to 28-21.
Troy’s defense would come up with a huge stop on the next drive, and Justice Chimics would use a big return to set up the Trojans deep in enemy territory to start the fourth.
Woodward would take full advantage — and scored on a 26-yard keeper.
As Coach Smith said – Troy was playing to win, and the Trojans would convert on the two-point conversion to go up 29-28 only 10:24 left in the contest.
Loyalsock responded just a few drives later on a Gee run — and regained the lead at 36-29 after converting the two-point conversion.
On the kickoff, Loyalsock would kick a dribbler through to Troy, and a mishandling would give Loyalsock the ball back.
But Troy would continue to show their toughness, and one play later, the Trojan defense stripped the ball from Hill. Clayton Smith did the rest as he took it all the way to the end zone.
With 2:57 left — Troy opted to go for two.
With the game on the line they would fall just short, and Loyalsock would escape Alparon Park with a 36-35 win.
“We were one yard away from winning the game, and Loyalsock just made a play.” Coach Smith said.
Troy will have another daunting matchup next week.
The Trojans will host Canton next Friday for the Old Shoe, with Canton also coming off itd first loss of the season against Jersey Shore.
“I don’t care where you look in the state, I don’t care what classification you look in. This Loyalsock team has some of the best athletes in the state of Pennsylvania,” Coach Smith said. “I think we proved tonight that we can play with anybody, and we did learn that.”
Next Friday’s game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Alparon Park.