Troy captures Old Shoe
BY CHAnce Cook
The rain started early in the 58th annual Old Shoe game and didn't let up for the duration of the Troy Trojans' 29-14 victory over the Canton Warriors Friday night at Alparon Park.
The Trojans got the scoring started early, as a 48-yard run by Quarterback Jed Wright gave Troy the first points of the game with 10:11 to play in the first quarter. Kicker Josh McClaren tacked on the extra point to put Troy up 7-0.
Canton was not to be outdone on their next drive, as three running plays were capped off with a 27 yard touchdown run by Warrior running back Wes Moore. Brian Jannone's extra point tied the score at seven with 9:03 left to play in the quarter.
The Trojans took little time to retake the lead as Wright out-ran the defense on his way to a 47 yard rushing touchdown. McClaren's extra point put the Trojans back up by seven with 7:06 to play in the quarter.
The back and forth scoring would come to a halt on the Warrior's next drive, as their 56-yard drive ended on a turnover on downs at the Trojans' 28-yard line.
The Warriors got the ball back after a Troy three-and-out with a chance to tie the game with a touchdown. Canton's ten play drive stalled at the Troy eight yard line, as they were unable to punch the ball into the endzone despite being in a first and goal situation at the ten yard line.
Troy capitalized on their next drive with a seven yard touchdown run by running back Justin Bradley with 5:33 left to play in the half. McClaren's extra point attempt sailed wide and left the Trojans' with a 20-7 lead.
Canton's would go three-and-out on their next drive, punting the ball back to the Trojans and giving them opportunity to add to their lead before halftime.
Troy took nearly three minutes to drive to Canton's ten-yard line before the Warrior defense forced the Trojans into a fourth down situation with ten seconds to play in the half. Troy settled for a 27-yard field goal attempt that failed, leaving the score 20-7 going into halftime.
Canton's and Troy traded punts to start the third quarter, with Troy's punt by McClaren being downed inside the Warrior's ten-yard line.
Canton's ensuing drive saw them march down the field to the Trojan's 32-yard line before linebacker Issac Haven's recovered a Canton fumble to end the drive that could have brought the Warriors back to within a touchdown.
Troy capitalized on the Canton turnover, using seven run plays to cover 58 yards before Wright found the end zone for the third time in the game on a one yard touchdown run. Troy's two-point conversion attempt failed and the Trojan's lead was increased to 26-7 with 11:26 to play in the game.
Head coach Jim Smith is happy with the way his quarterback has progressed through the season.
"Each game [Wright] gets better with his reads," Smith said. Wright finished the game with 209 yards and three touchdowns on nineteen carries.
Canton's next possession ended with their fourth three-and-out of the game, but on Troy's ensuing possession Wright lost control of the ball and Canton recovered the fumble to give them a chance to cut into the Trojan lead.
The Warriors took advantage of the Troy turnover quickly, as Moore again found the endzone on a two yard run on third and goal with 7:46 to play in the game. Jannone's extra point was good and the Trojan's lead was cut to 26-14.
The Warriors had little time to make up their two score deficit, but they would not get the ball back quickly enough as their onside kick attempt went out of bounds.
Troy took over five minutes off of the clock on their final drive of the game before McClaren connected on a 36-yard field goal that sealed the game for the Trojans and brought the Old Shoe back to Troy.
For head coach Jim Smith, bringing the Old Shoe back to Troy was special for their program.
"It was huge to win this game," Smith said. "It's been six or seven years since Troy has had this."
Smith admitted that regardless of season records he knew Canton would play his Trojans tough.
"You will not find a better coaching staff than Canton anywhere around," he said. "Their kids showed up and played and I thought it was a good football game."