FOOTBALL: Troy rallies past Rochester | North Oakland Sports

FOOTBALL: Troy rallies past Rochester

| September 7, 2013 | Comments (0)

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TROY — When two teams are evenly matched, a football game can often boil down to a few players making key plays. Troy had its fair share Friday evening in the second half against Rochester.

After trailing 14-7 at the half, the Colts scored 14 unanswered points behind the stellar play of senior quarterback Jay Darrish and the steady play of their offensive and defensive lines to rally for a 21-14 victory over visiting Rochester in the OAA Red Division opener for both teams.

Troy (1-1, 1-0) managed the clock well and mixed in the running and passing game in the second half on the offensive side, while forcing Rochester to punt away four times after halftime.

The Colts also held Rochester to minus-9 yards rushing in the second half and just 56 passing yards over the final 24 minutes of play. Troy sacked Rochester quarterback Kevin Byrd five times in the second half. .

“(In the first half) we did not do a very good job containing their quarterback. It was pretty obvious all night. I thought our tackling at times was pretty poor. They just made plays,” offered veteran Troy coach Gary Griffith. “We talked about those types of things at halftime. We thought we could play better and try to eliminate some of those big plays in the second half. I thought we did a lot better job of that. Defensively we came up with a couple of stops. I think the hitting picked up a little bit. We just played better.”

Trailing 14-7 at the half, the Colts put together a 14-play drive that covered 72 yards and ended with 8:20 left in the third quarter when Eric Papandrea rushed into the end zone from six yards out. Jake Meissner’s extra point knotted the score at 14-14.

Two drives later, Jay Darrish was flushed out of the pocket near the 50 and his long bomb was hauled in by Jerome Marshall, who converted the catch and run and raced the final 14 yards into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The quick four-play drive ended with 11:48 left on the clock and proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

Darrish finished the night 21-for-29 passing for 259 yards and two touchdown passes. Papandrea (seven catches, 58 yards), Marshall (four catches, 71 yards) and Justice Bigelow (three catches, 55 yards) all finished with more than 50 receiving yards.

“Our playmakers stepped up and made some plays,” said Griffith. “In case I don’t say this often enough — Jay Darish is an outstanding high school football player. He’s as good of a passer as I’ve coached. This is my 39th year here. He has a cannon for an arm. He’s a leader. He does all the things you ask of a high school football player. If we protect for him a little bit, I think he would be even more dangerous.”

Rochester fumbled the ball five times in the contest, lost two of them, dropped an interception, had eight penalties, and gave up two long broken pass plays, one that resulted in the Troy’s go-ahead touchdown.

“It’s the little plays that hurt us. They turned out to be huge plays, actually,” admitted Rochester coach Erik Vernon.

“It was a bad and ugly game — we played undisciplined football,” continued Vernon. “From the start we had too many turnovers and penalties. I give Troy the credit. They executed their game plan, they did what they had to do and they had their players make plays. We had a chance to sack the quarterback a couple of times, (Darrish) would get loose and throw the ball down field and made the plays.”

Troy took advantage of a Rochester turnover and scored first with 11:44 left in the second quarter. After the Colts pounced on a loose football on the Rochester 16, Troy scored three plays later when Darrish connected with Bigelow with a 19-yard dart over the middle of the field for a 7-0 advantage.

Rochester responded with 8:02 left in the half when Demetrious Magee hauled in a Willie Mays-style catch in the corner of the end zone following a 12-yard fade pass from Byrd.

Rochester went ahead 14-7 at the half, when Tyler Carten wiggled into the end zone with a 4-yard scamper with 3:26 left in the second quarter. The Falcons’ offense went silent the rest of the night.

Magee with five catches for 93 yards for Rochester. Byrd was 11-for-22 passing for 157 yards, but the Falcons collected just 67 rushing yards.

“We just need to come back and play better,” added Vernon.

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