Everyone knew this was going to be a war of attrition. A matter of who'd make the fewest mistakes.
Three weeks ago, James Allen, high school analyst for Time Warner Cable Sports and the Albany Times-Union, wrote that he felt Shaker, the defending Liberty Division champion in Class AA, would run the table, thereby winning another division title. He also predicted Troy High would finish 6-1, presumably losing to Shaker.
As Lee Corso of ESPN would say, not so fast, my friends.
In front of the biggest home crowd of the season, Troy took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, ending with QB John Germinerio taking it in himself from 5 yards out. However, the extra point was blocked, and Troy led, 6-0, after 1 period.
In the 2nd period, after a Shaker punt, Dev Holmes called for a fair catch, but the ball went right through his hands, and the Blue Bison recovered. Anthony Johnson took it in one play later, and after an extra point, Shaker led, 7-6. However, this didn't last long, as Germinerio found Ethan Evans in the corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, and Troy led, 12-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Shaker's Matthew Medici appeared to put Shaker back in front as time expired, but the touchdown was called back due to a penalty, allowing the Flying Horses to go in the locker room with the lead.
Shaker took the lead back in the second half, but again, couldn't hold it, as Germinerio took matters into his own hands again, scoring the game winner on a 1 yard keeper. This time, the two-point conversion was successful, and Troy held off a late rally to win, 20-13.
While star tailback Joey Ward didn't find the end zone despite another 100 yard night, he made his presence felt on defense as well with a quarterback sack in the first period. Troy racked up 3 sacks in all in the first half. So much for the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
Just before halftime, the rains came, which spoiled Homecoming festivities. What started as mere drizzle turned into a downpour just before the half, and ye scribe decided to head home to catch the rest of the game on TV. Unfortunately, I missed most of the second half, and picked up the info via a post-game recap. I'd left my umbrella at home, thinking it wouldn't rain. Well, a weather forecaster I'm not.
Anyway, softball ace Hunter Levesque, actually a 3-sport star at Troy (also is on the swimming team as well as junior varsity basketball), was crowned Homecoming Queen. She received the loudest ovation upon being introduced, and the cheers grew louder when outgoing Queen Ariana Judge laid the tiara on Levesque's head. As was the case at Homecoming last year under clear skies, most folks headed for the exits afterward, this time because of the rain.
Up next for Troy is a road game at Colonie before the Flying Horses return home for Senior Night vs. Schenectady in 2 weeks. They then close on the road at Columbia, and one must assume that if they can avoid a letdown vs. Colonie, they could have the Liberty Division wrapped up by the time they reach Columbia on October 14.