Troy, NY — The last time Troy completed in Class AA was 2010. They won the Section 2 title that year, and dropped down to Class A the next season. 6 years later, they’re back in Class AA, and they’re the champions once again.
The Flying Horses (10-0, NYS #8) got a great effort from wild card player Dev Holmes, who scored on the first two drives offensively for Troy. The game got off to a really quick start when Holmes burst through the Shaker defense for an 88-yard kickoff return TD on the opening kickoff. On the next drive, Holmes caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from Troy running back Joey Ward, on a trick play. The Horses continued to dominate the first half, as senior QB John Germinerio and Ward each found the end zone to extend the lead to 27-0 in the 2nd quarter. Shaker, though, would not go down quietly.
The Bison put together a great 2-minute drill right before the half, and they hit paydirt when senior QB Wahid Nabi found receiver Mike Broughton for a 5-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left in the first half. It was Broughton’s first and only touchdown of the year. Despite Troy leading 27-7 at halftime, it somehow felt like Shaker was the one with the momentum, after scoring the last-second touchdown.
Shaker received the ball to start the second half, and put together a long 6-minute drive to score again, as receiver Maki Medici caught a pass from Nabi from 9-yards out to cut the lead to 27-14. On the following drive, Germinerio had a man wide open down the field for what would have been a touchdown, but he underthrew it, and it was intercepted by Shaker’s Mike Stiso. Starting at midfield, Shaker drove down again, and Kwasi Addo found the end zone from 6 yards to cut Troy’s lead to 27-21, 4 seconds into the 4th quarter. The Bison had all the momentum on their side, and both teams knew it. With Troy getting the ball for just their second possession of the half, they knew what they needed to do.
They handed the ball off to Joey Ward almost every play of the drive, and he absolutely took over. A 68-yard drive resulted in a 7-yard touchdown from Ward, expanding the lead to 33-21, and cutting off the Bison’s momentum. Shaker wasn’t able to do anything after that, and Troy ran the clock all the way down after taking over on downs.
Ward finished with 182 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on a season-high 29 carries. He also was 1-1 passing for a 69-yard touchdown on the night, during the aforementioned trick play pass to Holmes. Shaker’s defense was able to slow down the passing game of Troy, as Germinerio was 7-13 for only 116 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 interception. Troy held the dominant Shaker running back duo of Kwasi Addo and Mikael Brown to a combined 84 yards, but QB Wahid Nabi had a solid game. He was 9-21 for a season-high 146 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The Horses just piled it on early, and withstood the comeback to take home the crown.
It was without a doubt an emotional win for Troy offensive coordinator Matt Grasso, who lost his father, Joe Grasso, during the season. Grasso coached Bishop Maginn every year that they fielded a team (1977-2015), and was an assistant at CBA during the time of his death. Winning the Section 2 title is a great way to honor the late coach, and you have to be happy for Matt Grasso.
Troy will play the winner of the Section 9 title game between Monroe-Woodbury and Newburgh Free Academy. The regional matchup will be played November 12th in Kingston.