SAYRE — The Sayre Redskins battled the Troy Trojans in their Homecoming game Saturday night and rallied for a 22-21 win.
Any one who follows NTL football knows what Troy brings to the football field in recent history. They are big, physical and going to run the football at you, around you and over you.
True to form, Troy’s offense featured the running game with backs Clayton Smith and Damien Landon chewing up yards behind a bruising offensive line.
However, that ground attack was slow to get going. Sayre’s defense held the Trojans to four plays on each of their first three possessions.
While Troy may be a model of consistency, Sayre head coach Kevin Gorman admitted after the game that he is not always sure what his Redskins bring to the field each week.
“I expect to win every game. But I wonder what team we are going to get. Every week is different. Sometimes we are a good team, sometimes we are a bad team,” Gorman said.
While Troy’s offense was stuck in first gear, Sayre’s offense was struggling with the fundamentals. Poor snaps and fumbles plagued Sayre’s early possessions. Troy’s defense forced a fumble on Sayre’s first possession. Jackson Taylor recovered it for Troy and scampered 39 yards for a defensive touchdown. Troy held the first lead of the night, 7-0, after the extra point.
But, Gorman felt his team “clicked” Saturday night.
“Our guys matched their physicality. They just decided they were going to do it,” he said.
Two possessions later, Brayden Horton led Sayre on a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Horton was 4 for 4 passing on the drive, including the 15-yard touchdown pass to Josh Arnold. David Northrup rushed for the two-point conversion and Sayre led 8-7.
Late in the second quarter, the Trojan ground game broke through. Landon picked off a Horton pass and set up the Trojans with good field position. Landon and Smith carried the ball to the end zone in six plays. Smith punctuated the drive with a 43-yard touchdown run. The Trojans failed to convert the two points, but led 13-8.
Sayre answered with a 70-yard touchdown drive. Once again, it was Horton leading the way with his arm. He was 5 for 5 on the drive. Horton ran it in from two yards out to give Sayre a 14-13 lead. Sayre failed on the two-point conversion attempt.
In the second half, penalties plagued both teams. Sayre became the first team to overcome the flags and move the ball early in the fourth quarter, driving the ball 41 yards on 12 plays.
But the drive ended abruptly when Troy’s Gavin Cohick intercepted the ball at the Troy 3-yard line. His return was negated by penalties. But, the big red offensive machine fired to life.
Troy began pounding away with Landon. Penalties continued to stifle offensive progress, but Troy pounded the ball forward. Then, on fourth-and-16, Justice Chimics lofted a pass over the Redskin defense and into the hands of Cohick, who dashed 60 yards for the score. Landon converted the two-point conversion and Troy led 21-14 with time for one Sayre possession.
Jackson Hubbard fielded the ensuing kick at the Sayre 35-yard line and exploded for a 34-yard return. The return set Sayre up first-and-10 at the Troy 31-yard line.
Brayden Horton led the game winning drive from there. He rushed for 24 yards on the drive and completed two passes to Luke Horton, including a 13-yard touchdown pass. Down 21-20, with 0:37 left, Sayre went for two, and the win. Horton found Jackson Hubbard open in the end zone to complete the conversion and take the game’s final lead.
Troy’s offense was unable to answer as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Smith led Troy’s offense with 14 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Landon finished the night with 19 carries for 73 yards. Cohick scored the other offensive touchdown on the 60-yard pass play.
Brayden Horton led the Redskin attack. He had 14 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. He was 15 of 20 from the pocket for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Lucas Horton hauled in six of those passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Josh Arnold also caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Next week Sayre travels to Northwest Area and Troy travels to Towanda.