GREENVILLE – It may sound cliché, but it really was a tale of two halves at the Troy-Greenville football game on Friday night.
The first half belonged to the home team which was celebrating its Senior night. Despite trailing 20-12 at halftime, the Green Wave held their own against the playoff-bound Trojans scoring the first points of the game and then embarking on a long drive that ended up in the end zone to close the first half.
However, Troy has had a strong season with seven wins coming into the game. They made halftime adjustments and scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to cruise to a 48-12 win.
“Troy is a really good football team,” Greenville coach Aaron Shaffer said. “Sometimes in a game like that where you’re probably a decided underdog and you play well for a half it fires them up a bit. We talked with our kids and the challenge was to get rallied up for the second half, but the Culp-Bishop kid is obviously really good and he broke some long runs tonight. I’m just proud of the way our kids fought and continued to play. It was all heart and effort.”
It was Jaydon Culp-Bishop, a 5-foot-10, 183-pound senior running back, who did most of the damage for Troy. He bruised and battered the Wave’s defense for 399 yards and six touchdowns on just 28 carries (a 14.3 yards per carry average). Culp-Bishop is the rushing leader in yardage and touchdowns in the Greater Western Ohio Conference with 1,739 yards and 28 touchdowns through nine games. Greenville as a team only has 1,431 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
“We came out in the third quarter and scored three touchdowns in the first seven minutes,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “That’s the team we expect to have and we have to do that for 48 minutes. Greenville came out and played hard and made a couple plays in the first half. We let a few things effect us and we just told them at halftime to settle down and relax and let’s just go after it and play Troy football and our kids did that in the third quarter. It was good, but we want to see that for 48 minutes.
Marcus Wood handled the Greenville scoring on the night. He had a 50-yard catch and run in the first quarter that saw him break numerous tackles to give his team an early 6-0 lead. He also caught a 3-yarder from quarterback Tyler Beyke in the left corner of the end zone with 4 seconds left in the first half to pull Greenville within 8 points at halftime.
“About every time you talk to an opposing coach before the game they talk about how good Marcus is,” Shaffer said. “He is just a special player. His personality is unreal. He’s an energy kid and a relatively quiet kid until you get him between the lines and to watch that kid make plays is really something special. He’s a really talented kid and I’m proud of the way he played.”
Wood was Beyke’s favorite target on the night finishing the game with 8 receptions for 126 yards and the 2 TDs. Beyke completed 15-of-22 passes in all for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted twice, one each by Jacob Adams and Weston Smith. Greenville also intercepted Troy quarterback Brayden Siler and recovered two Trojans fumbles. Jacob Goldsmith corralled the Green Wave interception late in the game and Terry Miller and Ethan Flanery each had a fumble recovery.
“Tyler had one of his better games tonight against a good team,” Shaffer said. “He has had to show some toughness the last few weeks and battle through some things physically. He’s feeling good again and is really starting to figure it out as he continues to grow and get better in that position. There were a lot of bright spots for him tonight which will hopefully turn into a really bright, bright future for him next year. I’m real proud of the way he played tonight.”
The win unofficially clinched a playoff spot for Troy (8-1, 4-0 GWOC North), which currently ranks third in the Division II, Region 8 computer rankings. Greenville (3-6, 0-4 GWOC North) is ranked No. 22 unofficially in Division III, Region 12 and is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
“Our kids knew we were coming over here to clinch a playoff spot and a share of the GWOC title,” Burgbacher said. “Obviously if we were able to do that then we would just be focused on one thing next week and we were able to do that, so we’re going home with a victory and right where we want to be at 8-1 and we control our own destiny.”
Next week is the last week of the regular season. Both teams will be on the road with Greenville at Sidney and Troy at Piqua.
G – Marcus Wood 50 pass from Tyler Beyke (Kick failed)
T – Jaydon Culp-Bishop 2 run (Brayden Siler kick)
T- Culp-Bishop 55 run (Siler kick)
T – Culp-Bishop 13 run (Kick failed)
G – Wood 3 pass from Beyke (Kick failed)
T – Culp-Bishop 1 run (Siler kick)
T – Kobe Feltner 8 punt return (Siler kick)
T – Culp-Bishop 35 run (Siler kick)
T – Culp-Bishop 53 run (Siler kick)