Troy football improves to 3-0 with 16-7 win over Vandalia-Butler


TROY — First it was “The Drive” to put the Troy football team in position for its first 3-0 start since 2018.

Then, Devon Strobel put the finishing touches on a 16-7 win Thursday night with a sack in the end zone for a safety.

After Troy dominated a dominated a first half that ended scoreless, the Trojans found themselves leading 7-0 with 11:09 remaining in the game when they took over 93 yards from the end zone.

Three runs left Troy in third-and-six at its own 21.

Quarterback Aiden Kirkpatrick rolled left and found Jahari Ward for 34 yards down to the Butler 45-yard line.

On a third-and-nine from the 44, Kirkpatrick rolled right and he four Aidan Gorman on a short pass. Gorman eluded several tacklers and made an athletic move to the get into the end zone.

Cameron Stoltz’s PAT kick made it 14-0 with 6:43 remaining.

Butler then put together an 80-yard drive for its only points of the night.

On fourth-and-15 play from the its own 25, quarterback Luke Seibert hurled the ball downfield along the left sideline.

Receiver Braylen Crump battled for the ball and it was ruled simultaneous possession and a catch for a 42-yard gain and a first down at the Troy 33-yard line.

Three plays later, Kaiden Bates ran it in from 11 yards out and Mason Reckner kicked the PAT to make it 14-7 with 2:51 remaining.

After a Butler onside kick failed, the Aviators defense forced a punt.

Logan Ullery down Cameron Stoltz’s kick at the 10-yard line and penalty moved it back to the five-yard line.

On Butler’s third play, Strobel sealed the deal with a sack in the end zone for a safety.

After the free kick, Troy ran the clock out and began the celebration.

Troy had several opportunities to put points on the board in the opening half — and two touchdowns were called back by penalty.

First was a touchdown pass wiped out by penalty and then Carson Brown went 80 yards on a reverse, only to have it called back by a penalty.

Late in the half, Troy appeared poised to score again.

On a fake punt, Strobel ran 24 yards to the Butler 38-yard line.

Three runs by Jahari Ward and two Butler penalties gave Troy a first-and-five at the eight-yard line.

But, the drive stalled and a field goal attempt was wide, leaving it scoreless at halftime.

On the first possession of the second half, Troy broke through.

Strobel returned a kickoff to the 34-yard line and a personal foul moved the Trojans to the 49 to start the drive.

On a fourth-and-one at the Butler 40, Ward ran three yards to keep the drive alive.

On third and 10 two plays later, Ullery caught a short pass from Kirkpatrick, broke one tackle and followed a block by Dakota Manson for 26 yards to the 11-yard line.

Ward had a run down to the three-yard line and Manson scored from the two-yard line.

Stoltz’s kick made it 7-0 with 5:46 to go in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, Butler had a first down at Troy’s 29 after Seibert completed consecutive passes to Julius Rusk.

But, on third-and-nine from the 38, Troy’s Noah Miller sacked Seibert for a seven-yard loss that forced a punt and led to Troy’s big finish.

Ward led the rushing attack with 75 yards on 23 carries.

Kirkpatrick completed six of seven passes for 137 yards, hitting five different receivers.

The Troy defense limited Butler to 26 yards rushing. Strobel led the Trojan defense with seven tackles and Miller had five.

Seibert completed six of 14 passes for 87 yards.

Sam Mitchell led the Butler defense with nine tackles, while Dohnavan Collins and Austin Flohre both had eight tackles.

Troy will look to continue the momentum Friday, when West Carrollton visits.

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