TROY — Troy scored the first 27 points of the game and held on for a 33-21 victory over Shaker in the Section 2 Class AA football championship game Thursday, Nov. 3, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s East Campus Stadium.
Dev Holmes returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for Troy’s first touchdown. Then, tailback Joey Ward unleashed a 69-yard option pass to Holmes for another quick score to put the Flying Horses (10-0) ahead 13-0 less than three minutes into the game.
Troy’s next drive took longer, but netted the same result. Quarterback John Germinerio completed a pair of key passes to keep the series going, and then finished it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to make the score 20-0 after one quarter.
Ward, who rushed for 182 yards, increased Troy’s lead to 27 points with a 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Shaker (8-2) got into the end zone three seconds before halftime on quarterback Wahid Nabi’s 5-yard scoring strike to Mike Broughton, but the deficit was still three touchdowns.
The Blue Bison carried the momentum into the third quarter. Maki Medici caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Nabi to trim Troy’s lead to 27-14, and Michael Stiso intercepted Germinerio to set up another Shaker scoring drive — one capped by Kwasi Addo’s 6-yard run to start the fourth quarter.
Troy went back to its ground attack, giving Ward the ball on virtually every play of its ensuing series. Ward rewarded the Flying Horses with several long runs and a 7-yard insurance touchdown to give his team a 33-21 advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
Shaker tried to regain the momentum through the air. Nabi threw one incomplete pass and then attempted to hit Stiso along the sideline on second down. Stiso tried a one-handed catch, but the ball bounced off his right hand and into the arms of a Troy defender for an interception. Troy then ran out the remaining time to win the title.
Nabi threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns to lead Shaker’s offense.
Troy advances to the Class AA regionals against the Section 9 champion Saturday, Nov. 12, in Kingston.
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