TROY — With a pair of high-powered offenses squaring off in a key District 11-3A-I game, nobody saw this coming Friday night.
Instead of the expected shootout, the battle between Cameron Yoe and Troy turned out to be a low-scoring overtime classic.
Troy’s Zach Hrabcek sliced through the middle of the Yoe defense for a 12-yard score in the first overtime to give the Trojans their only lead of the game 21-14, before Yoe answered when Zane Zeinert hit Keshon Johnson on a 3-yard touchdown pass.
However, the snap on the point-after kick was low and bobbled, forcing an errant kick as the Trojans prevailed 21-20 on their home field.
Not only was it a crucial victory in the Trojans’ quest for a district title, it was a game that may have changed their outlook going forward.
“I’m proud of our defense and putting together the game plan they put together,” said Troy coach Ronnie Porter, whose team moved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in district. “We’ve been trying to find our identity on defense, and this was a big step toward that.”
Despite falling behind 14-0 in the first half, the Trojans limited the Yoemen’s ground game to less than 100 yards.
Troy controlled much of the first half with its prolific ground attack, but the Trojans’ first drive of the game stalled on downs at the Yoe 11-yard line. It happened again early in the second quarter inside the Yoemen 30.
Yoe caught a spark though when Pharrell Hemphill went 59 yards along the sideline for a touchdown to give the Yoemen a 7-0 lead at the 6:42 mark of the second quarter.
A snap over the Troy punter’s head gave Yoe prime field position at the Trojans 34. Four plays later, Zeinert found Phaibian Bynaum on a crossing route for a 21-yard touchdown and the Yoemen’s 14-0 advantage with 2:41 to go in the half.
Hrbacek, the area’s leading rusher who finished with 257 yards on 39 carries, popped loose untouched for a 66-yard touchdown to cut the Yoemen’s lead in half just before the break.
“That hurt us at the end of the half, and they got the ball to start the second half,” said Yoe coach Tommy Brashear, whose team slipped to 4-3 and 2-2. “I felt like, overall, we did a good job on (Hrbacek). They just made more plays than we did.”
The Trojans carried their momentum into the opening moments of the second half by going 50 yards in six plays to knot the game 14-all when fullback Hunter Martin, who provided a solid 63 yards on 13 carries, rumbled 22 yards for the game-tying touchdown just 3 minutes after intermission.
That would was the end of the scoring in regulation. Yoe’s Jesse Martinez couldn’t connect on a 28-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter but otherwise, neither team got inside the opponent’s 20 the rest of the way.
Troy needed just three plays to post a score in the first overtime when Hrbacek, who surpassed the 2,000-yard mark, scored his 32nd touchdown of the year.
It was more arduous for the Yoemen, who required seven plays and help from a fourth-down offside penalty on Troy to at last convert on Zeinert’s pass to Johnson.
“This really was a different game than I thought it would be,” Porter said. “If we want to win the district, we had to win this game. We still have some things to clean up, but this gets us going in the right direction.
TROY 21, CAMERON YOE 20 (OT)
Yoe 0 14 0 0 6 — 20
Troy 0 7 7 0 7 — 21
Yoe — Pharrell Hemphill 59 run (Jesse Martinez kick)
Yoe — Phaibian Bynaum 21 pass from Zane Zeinert (Martinez kick)
Troy — Zach Hrbacek 66 run (Tyler McKissick kick)
Troy — Hunter Martin 22 run (McKissick kick)
Troy — Hrbacek 12 run (McKissick kick)
Yoe — Keshon Johnson 3 pass from Zeinert (kick failed)
First downs 12 16
Rushes-yards 27-82 56-294
Passing yards 141 18
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-24-0 2-5-0
Punts-average 4-37.3 2-33
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-25 3-18
RUSHING — Yoe: Hemphill 4-58, Johnson 9-52, Bynaum 4-(-4), Kason Goolsby 2-(-10), Zeinert 8-(-14); Troy: Hrbacek 39-257, Martin 13-63, Kadin Workman 1-(-11), Jace Carr 3-(-15).
PASSING — Yoe: Zeinert 11-24-0-141; Troy: Carr 2-4-0-18, Hrbacek 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Yoe: Zakorien Spikes 3-57, Hemphill 3-50, Goolsby 2-23, Johnson 3-11; Troy: Jase Schmidt 1-12, Martin 1-6.