By: Dan Stickradt
FOOTBALL: Troy rallies past Rochester Stoney Creek
BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Troy didn’t need to dominate Friday’s football game against Rochester Stoney Creek.
The Colts didn’t need to lead for long stretches of the OAA White Division contest against the host Cougars.
Troy did, nevertheless, find away to defeat Stoney Creek to begin the season 3-1.
The Colts put together one late drive which provided all the points they needed to prevail with a 7-3 triumph over the Cougars.
Noah Wagberg found Will Flynn down the middle of the field with a 20-yard touchdown pass and Michael Abitheira drilled the ensuing extra point with 1:02 remaining in the game and the Colts made it stand.
The drive, which began Troy’s 33, lasted 10 plays and was aided by 25 yards of penalties by Stoney Creek.
The Cougars’ last-ditch effort fell short on their own 47 as time expired.
“Our quarterback stuck with it and we made some nice plays in that final drive,” said first-year Troy coach Chris Frasier. “We gutted this out. Our defense kept us in the ball game and we made plays (down the stretch).”
The win helped Troy (3-1, 2-1) start the season with three wins in four tries for the first time since 2008.
“It’s been a while,” added Frasier. “I never thought I’d be the head coach at Troy High School and I certainly never thought we’d win this game 7-3. But a win is a win. We’ll take them any way we can.”
Troy’s offense was stagnant for most of the night. Wagberg was only 7-for-19 passing for 55 yards, while Teron Kinnard finished with 101 yards on 17 carries.
Troy collected 142 rushing yards and just 55 passing yards on the night.
Stoney Creek had a dozen penalties, which hurt many of its own drives while enabling Troy on their game-winning drive.
“Penalties and more penalties,” sighed Stoney Creek coach Jim Lantzy. “We shot ourselves in the foot. We hurt ourselves on several of our own drives and we helped them on theirs, especially the drive at the end.
“We should have won this game several times over,”continued Lantzy. “We dominated this game. Our defense kept us in it. But we hurt ourselves in the end. We came out and intercepted their first two passes and we drove the ball into their territory several times. We should have scored a lot of points early. We even had our kicker hit a (second) field goal but it was called back.”
Michael Melaragni is known as one of Michigan’s top soccer prospects. He’s not too shabby of a field goal and all-purpose kicker on the grid-iron as well.
Melaragni booted a 37-yard field goal with 8:24 left in the opening quarter which proved to be the sole scoring of the first half for the Cougars (1-3, 0-3). It turned out to be their only points.
Stoney Creek had a 23-yard FG nullified by a penalty, and Melaragni’s ensuing 33-yard attempt on the next play was wide left.
Stoney Creek could only paddle upstream with 89 total first-half yards. For the game, the Cougars collected 15 yards on the ground and 69 through the air from two different quarterbacks.
Troy wasn’t any better in the first half, having Kinnard’s 75-yard sprint for a score called back for a penalty.
Wagberg was picked off three times in the first half, including twice in the opening too minutes as well as the last play of the half. The Colts only amassed 82 rushing yards and eight passing yards over the first two quarters.