GIRARD — Girard’s Ty Norris found wide receiver Evan Troike on a 30-yard touchdown pass with :34 seconds remaining in the game to push the Trojans to a 23-16 win over visiting Columbus Titans on Friday night.
“They lined up with a linebacker on the inside with safety help over the top, and coach Philpot called a great play with the slant-and-go.” said Troike.
“The safety bit on the slant, and Ty threw a perfect pass.” added Troike.
“Evan is a key player our offense,” said Norris. “With his speed, it makes my job a little easier knowing I can lob it into the air and he’s going to run under it.”
With the heat index showing 90 degrees at kickoff, the Trojans opened the contest with a sweltering defense to match the humid weather.
Girard stopped the Titans on their first few possessions, including a interception by cornerback Durbie McReynolds on a underthrown pass from Columbus quarterback Jared Graham.
It was the first of two picks from Graham in the first quarter, with Trojan linebacker Caden Lallemand coming away with the second takeaway late in the quarter.
Kreed Curran put the Trojans on the board with a 3-yard touchdown plunge.
After the Trojans failed to score in the redzone, the Titans responded late in the first quarter with a lengthy drive, paced by big plays from Tommy Shallenburger and Shawn Robinson.
Grayson Walden punched in the touchdown from the goal line to cut the lead to 7-6.
After a facemask penalty against the Trojans gave the Titans a second chance at points, Walden scored the two-point conversion to give Columbus a 8-7 lead.
Trojan quarterback Ty Norris returned the lead to Girard early in third quarter on a 12-yard touchdown rush. Girard converted the two-point conversion to take a 15-8 advantage.
Girard threatened to add to the lead midway in the third, when a blocked punt set the team up on the 33-yard line.
The Columbus defense came up with another stop to slow the Trojan’s momentum. The Titans defense displayed a “bend but not break” mentality on defense, and it showed again when they stopped the Trojan drive by forcing a fumble on a Norris sack.
Creed stalled a Columbus drive midway in the fourth quarter with a interception, which led to a 47-yard strike from Norris to Evan Troike. The Titans would once again stop the Trojans on the edge of the redzone to take possession.
On the ensuring drive, Robinson broke two tackles on his way to a 50-yard outside run on fourth down.
Girard’s defense came away with the key stop at their 28 yardline to take possession.
Norris would mishandle the snap, and Columbus gained possession on the Trojan 30, with a chance to tie the ball game.
On second down, Robinson would take a screen pass 28-yards to cut the deficit to one.
The Titans ran a reverse lateral to convert the two-point conversion and take the lead, 16-15 with 1:12 to go in the fourth quarter.
McReynolds would take the squib kick to midfield to start the Trojan drive.
Norris completed his opening two passes of the drive to Troike on the sideline to stop the clock, before rushing 17 yards to move the ball just outside the redzone.
Girard was forced to take timeout with :42 seconds remaining after the Titans came away with a sack on Norris.