TROY – With a full moon above and Friday the 13th, Troy seemingly hexed North Penn-Mansfield and smacked down some serious voodoo on the Panthers with a 39-6 victory in disparaging fashion. Led by a devastating run game and a hungry defense, the Trojans took another bite out of the sandwich.
“You know, every week we take a bite out of the sandwich until it’s all gone,” said Troy head coach Jim Smith. “It’s one week at a time – not looking ahead. It’s one bite at a time. We aren’t trying to gobble the whole sandwich in one sitting. We are going to enjoy our food and try to get better each week and work hard to do that.”
The Trojans opened the game with Caleb Binford slashing for 23 yards followed by five-yard runs by Damien Landon. Two plays later Landon pounded through the line for 21 yards to the 21. After runs from Binford and Landon, quarterback Dom Ayers called his own number from the one for the game’s first score. Landon punched in the conversion for an early 8-0 lead.
North Penn returned the kickoff to near midfield, but the Troy defense thwarted the Panther offense. Punter Noah Spencer dropped the ball in on the nine, but the extra field did not hinder the Trojan offense.
After Ayers diced the defense for 21 yards, he drilled Cody Johnson for a 29-yard gain. After runs of five and four by Landon, Binford cut through for 21 yards. Landon capped the drive with a 29-yard run for the score and Binford ran in the conversion. 16-0.
The Panthers offense ghosted the field as they fumbled the ball on the handoff and Mason Imbt recovered on the NP-Mansfield 37-yard line. It took three plays and a Panther personal foul before Binford scored on a 20-yard scamper, knifing his way along the sideline. This time Landon converted the two-pointer.
Again, North Penn-Mansfield returned the kickoff to midfield only to turn the ball over on downs.
This time the Trojans relied on Landon, who carried the rock six times for 48 yards and scored on a 2-yard run with Binford adding the conversion for a 32-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
The curse continued for the Panthers. After gaining just four yards on the possession, Spencer dropped back to punt, but the snap clipped the up-man. Spencer scooped up the ball only to be sacked for a 7-yard loss. The Trojans failed to capitalize due to two personal fouls committed by Troy players and were forced to punt.
The spell continued to work against NP-Mansfield. After Colton Litzelman completed two passes to Spencer for just five yards, Spencer punted. This time the ball hung high and the strong winds pushed the ball backwards for a net of three yards.
After Ayers connected with Morgan Madigan for ten yards for Troy, Landon added a 6-yard run before scoring from 8-yards out. This time the Trojan switched things up and Zeb Oldroyd added the PAT for a 39-0 halftime lead.
Troy’s ground game crushed out 248 yards in the first half. Landon had 131 yards on 17 carries and Binford added 10 carries for 94 yards. Ayers completed six passes for 71 yards. The Trojan defense held the Panthers to just a single first down, which came on a targeting penalty.
North Penn-Mansfield and Bryan Bogaczyk showed some life to start the second half. After a pass interference call against Troy, Bogaczyk ripped a 16-yard run followed by a 28-yard thrashing run for a score to avoid the shutout.
The Trojan controlled the ball for the rest of the contest, allowing the Panthers only one additional possession in the half.
Landon led Troy with 154 yards and Binford added 110 yards on the ground. Ayers finished 10 of 14 for 101 yard in the air and 27 yards rushing.
Bogaczyk led the Panthers with 90 yards on ten carries.
“Our kids played well and played hard,” Smith said. “A little sloppy in the second half, trying to keep things reasonable. There was some confusion with that. We have to get a little better with that. I’m proud how the kids played. North Penn’s a team that scores a lot of points quick and, if not, they have a lot of yards doing it. You know, they didn’t have much and I’m really proud of how the defense played. They offense didn’t turn the ball over, so we have to keep rolling.”