Troy finishes a season to remember
As the Troy players gathered after their 33-6 loss to Berks Catholic in the PIAA, Class AA quarterfinals coach Jim Smith let them know that while their season had ended, their accomplishments would be remembered forever.
The season didn't end the way the Trojans wanted. But, what Troy did this year was accomplish things that had never been done before at the school.
"I told the kids that we have had a sort of a saying all year that the game is taken from you, time takes the game from you. For these seniors they are not going to put on a uniform again most of them. But, the one way you can live forever is to do what this team did. Go and win a district championship like they did.
"I think they have been an underdog in every postseason game they have played and up until today they dominated and worked hard and this team is going to be talked about for many, many years to come in Troy and for that I say they are going to be remembered forever."
When this season began the Trojans had some big expectations and early on they suffered a tough loss, falling to Wellsboro in week two.
However, the Trojans learned from that loss and now they hope they are able to learn from this loss as well.
"That game (Wellsboro) was kind of a building point to work forward from for the rest of the year and I hope next year we can build even more from this season," junior Chance Lantz said.
Getting to states, facing a team like Berks Catholic, has given the Trojans an idea of what it takes to get to the next level.
"We understand we have to prepare a lot better and work harder in practice," junior Dylan Brennan said.
Winning the district title, getting to the state playoffs, it's something that has ignited a lot of interest among the youth in Troy, and also among the fan base.
"We just hope they have hope for the future," Troy senior Jed Wright said.
"It made every game so much more fun to have the crowds going nuts over everything," Lantz said.
As the Trojans took to the field for Saturday's game they were led out by a group of youth players, kids that one day could make up a future Troy team.
"We have 15 to 20 young little guys that ride along with us and these little guys are like sponges," Smith said. "A lot of these little guys know the game at a much higher level than their age. These guys understand what it takes to win. These guys that played here today are heroes to these little guys. I really, truly think there's been a monster built down the road and this team built that monster."
Smith knows how much this year's team has brought the community together in Troy.
"The fane base has been great, there have been more and more every week and we have traveled well," he said. "There has been a lot of support, a lot of signs, a lot of people donating food, local businesses. It's really been something that's brought our community together and I don't know if these young mean realize what they have done for our town, but they have done a lot."
Despite the loss the Troy players understand what they accomplished this year.
"The last game didn't turn out the way we wanted, but it was a great season," Wright said.
And, the Trojans showed that they are a team that will keep working as they fought until the end Saturday, scoring on their final drive of the game.
"There is absolutely no quit in this team," Brennan said. "You never quit, if you are down a thousand points and they score every time they get the ball, you never quit in anything. Every starter on the team knows not to quit no matter what is going on. No matter what the circumstances are not to quit."
Smith has watched this team work hard to get to this point and he knows they will keep working.
"The kids have responded well," Smith said. "They have been in the weight room the last two years. We had a good core of kids that played in this game that will be back. A majority of them will be back. We have some pretty important seniors we have to replace, but we have some very capable kids that will com on the field and you really wouldn't know the difference."
Not only has the team worked hard, but Smith believes they have learned what it takes to win and the expectations are different now for Troy football.
"Knowing how to win these games is an art," Smith said. "The intelligence it takes to get through these big games and the confidence is important. I think our team has learned a lot from this run the last four or five weeks.
"These kids expect to win now. It's not easy either. They came in with that. We were expected to win the league, and didn't. It's not an easy thing to hold over your head when you are supposed to win and it's something that I think early on we had a difficult time coming to grips with, but as they season went on they became more confident."
And, now the returning players will get back to work, start preparing for next year with the expectations of more success.
"We are going to take it as it comes," Brennan said. "We are going to see where we are next year and go for it."