Trojans surpass Hornets.

By: Robin Palmer | Wellsboro Gazette | October 27, 2011


2011 Wellsboro vs. TroyA week of celebration for the annual Wellsboro homecoming came to an end on Friday night, as the Hornets suffered a 13-48 loss to the Trojans.

"Coming out and starting like we did was great," stated Wellsboro head coach Steve Boyce. "The guys were up for it until we started shooting ourselves in the foot."

Senior Thomas Johnston came out onto the field and began the night with a two yard stint into the end zone to put the Hornets on the board first, leading 6-0.

Troy would return and answer the Hornets with a five yard run by Jed Wright with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter, tying the game at six apiece.

Wright would capitalize on two more, back-to-back returns into the end zone, one from 42 yards out to take the Trojans to a first quarter 20-6 lead.

"We gave up a 50 yd return on the ensuing kickoff, we fumbled four times in the first quarter, penalties, mental breakdowns," stated Boyce.

"What put us up in a big way made us fall even quicker and harder and we didn't handle it well."

Entering into the second quarter, Troy's Zack Root brought down a 55 yard pass from Lucas Havens, dodging into the end zone, followed by Tanner Bulkley with a one yard touchdown and Root again with a 41 yard pass from Havens to lead 41-6 at the half.

"We could try to say something about field conditions but in all honesty, they are playing on the same field," continued Boyce. "They didn't seem to have a problem with running or stopping the ball, so we shouldn't either.

"We knew going in that Troy was a good team, but not as good as the scoreboard showed. After the first quarter the wind was out of our sails. They didn't do anything that we hadn't prepared for all week, it came down to that we didn't execute what we needed and we didn't play to our potential. We didn't adjust much at halftime because what we had would work against them if we executed it."

Back out onto the field after the halftime ceremonies, Greg Ellsworth took Troy to a 48-6 lead with a three yard touchdown in the third, followed with the Hornets decreasing the deficit to a 13-48 loss after Levi Mack surged into the end zone with a 20 yard run.

"I'm not sure where we stand in the playoff picture, but it hasn't been a focus for us at all this year. We prepare one game at a time and don't look beyond Friday night.

"Our next game is huge and so will the one after. I think we will be better focused this week even after the tough loss. Homecoming has a million and one distractions that will take focus away from football. We don't have that issue this week, so we can just line up and play. When we are focused and loose, we can play with anybody."

Wellsboro's Ben Shaw posted 70 yards passing with Mike Pietropola adding in with 25 yards as a freshman.

Senior Thomas Johnston added to his card with another 54 yards rushing with 63 yards receiving, while Levi Mack posted 29 yards rushing and Kieron Smethers with 25 yards receiving.

Troy's Lucas Havens led the Trojans with 117 yards passing, with teammate Jed Wright posting 88 yards rushing and Zack Root with 108 yards receiving.

"We did, as a staff come out this year with some pretty heavy rules and discipline that players weren't use to, but to be successful it had to happen," stated coach Boyce, when asked about the response from the team with his takeover at the helm.

"This year was the learning curve for a lot of guys. We had a number that responded well and some that chose to leave football because of it. Having to have the weight room credits to play was big," he continued.

"Our guys were better prepared for the rigors of football season because of the time they spent getting bigger, faster, and stronger. Our injuries went way down this year and guys are delivering more shots than taking them.

"With strength brings an attitude and the attitude that they can play and beat anybody puts wins on the board.

"I am proud of our guys because everything we threw in their way to make them better they responded to and that has made all the difference in the world. Their hard work and dedication has brought our team to where it is today. Because of all the time in the gym and suffering through our camp this year, these guys bonded incredibly. It is this bond that makes them play as a team and work hard for the guy next to them," concluded Boyce.

The Hornets will play host to Towanda Friday night, October 28 before the rivalry final matchup of the regular season with North Penn on Friday, November 4.