The Trojan War

Liberty and Troy football face off in a battle of two 2-0 teams


Eric Mason

Tyler Cotton scored on a 79-yard touchdown pass in Liberty’s 28-12 loss to Troy. Here he is pictured at a game the previous week against Westminster.

Donny Robinson, Reporter

Coming into this game, Liberty had only played Troy twice before. The first time was when Liberty first opened and the second in a jamboree from last year so the Trojans were still kind of a new opponent to the Eagles at this point.

Both teams were undefeated with a record of 2-0 and played on Thursday night at Troy. The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved due to the forecast of heavy storms.

Troy ultimately pulled the “Trojan Horse” on Liberty though as they won 28-12 with a total of 391 total yards – 380 of them rushing yards and 11 passing yards. The Eagles had a tough time stopping their run game, especially Collin Nichols, who had 165 yards on 19 attempts who once played for the notorious North County Cowboys.

The first quarter didn’t go so hot for the Eagles as it was the first time this year that they let an opponent score before the second quarter. The quarter can be summed up by two Troy touchdowns and a rough time for Liberty.

The Trojans scoring came from their quarterback Kendall Hutchison with a 1 yard run at 4:52 and running back Alzaae Walker with a 14 yarder and both were followed by a Mason Gessert extra point. The Eagles didn’t get much done though as they had a fumble that also came with a penalty, but Troy also got a penalty in the quarter as well but the Eagles were impacted it more.

The end of the first quarter closed with Liberty trailing Troy 14-0.

The second quarter is where the Eagles have scored their first points every game this year and they would continue this very quickly at the beginning of the second.

The quarter began and within 12 seconds Donavan Arrington launched a rocket to Tyler Cotton for a 79 yard touchdown but Josh Paubel’s extra point was blocked afterwards.

With a lot of time remaining at 11:48, Liberty made a run at the Trojans, trailing 14-6.

Liberty went for an onside kick but it had gone awry as the Eagles did not recover and they had also received a 15 yard penalty.

The Eagles looked to have stopped the Trojans drive with the highlight being a 2 yard tackle for loss by Zach Dotson but the Trojans went for it on 4th and 2 by handing it off to Collin Nichols for a 3 yard run and a new set of downs. Troy also had been called for holding and had another penalty after Kendall Hutchison threw a completed pass.

Grant Baker brought down Hutchison but not before he gets rid of it by throwing the ball out of bounds. Troy now had a 3rd and 23 and had a penalty on the play. The Eagles had now forced the Trojans to a 4th and 16 and Mason Gessert had punted the ball to Jarrin McKeithen but the Eagles had made a costly mistake. A flag was thrown and it was against the Eagles for roughing the punter and the Trojans were awarded a first down putting them on the Liberty 23.

Alzaae Walker was handed the ball and took off for 21 yards (which is also his jersey number) and was stopped at the Liberty 2 yard line. The next play, Kendall Hutchison went in for a 2 yard touchdown and an extra point was knocked through the uprights by Mason Gessert right after.

Now with 7:42 left before halftime, the Trojans go over the Eagles 21-6.

Liberty’s drive back on offense was stopped by the Trojan army and the Eagles went for the punt.

Josh Paubel booted it deep across the field and now Troy had the ball once again.

Hutchison handed the ball off to Dallas King and he gets a gain of 7 yards. Zach Dotson showed his power again with a 5 yard tackle for loss.

The Eagles eventually got the ball back and it off to a returned Jarrin McKeithen for a 4 yard gain but an illegal blocking penalty is called upon the Eagles.

The Eagles were shut down again and punted the ball away and no there was 1:24 left in the half.

The half ended with Troy getting penalized on 3rd and 4 and Azaae Walker having a 1st down run.

With the first half over, the Trojans still had a comfortable 21-6 lead.

The third quarter began and went by pretty quick.

On a 3rd and 9, Donavan Arrington tries to connect with Tyler Cotton again but it is broken up.

Liberty then punted giving Troy the ball yet again.

Kendall Hutchison took the ball himself for an advance of 15 yards. The Trojans were at a 2nd and 12 but Dallas King dug them out of that whole a bit with a 10 yard dash. Collin Nichols then kept adding to his stellar night with a 1st down blast. Daniel Hempen had other plans by bringing him back 1 yard on his next run attempt.

Troy got a penalty for chop blocking and were at 4th and 9 but decided to get risky again and go for it but it ultimately failed as Hutchison’s pass attempt to Isaiah Hanebrink was incomplete resulting in a turnover.

Arrington couldn’t escape as he was sacked by Timmy Meyer. He attempted to throw again but this time to Nick Lovell and it was incomplete.

Liberty was forced to punt the ball again to Troy.

Walker had the ball again and pedaled for 9. Hutchison’s pass is complete to King for 11 but Jordin Garey came in with a Kam Chancellor esque hit. King was unaffected by the hit though as he ran for a 1st down the next play.

Both teams had some scuffles with each other as Liberty and Troy receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Liberty finally caught a break as they recovered a fumble by the Trojans but they are on their own 21 yard line.

Tyler Cotton was handed the ball but dragged back 6 yards. Donavan Arrington now does what he does best with a blazing hot 81 yard keeper for the Eagles second touchdown of the game that was followed by an attempted 2 point conversion run play that was brought to a screeching halt.

With 37 seconds left in the 3rd, the score would now stand 21-12 with Liberty not going down to the Trojans.

Before the quarter ended, the Trojans fumbled and it was so close to being recovered by the Eagles and may have even been a turning point for them if they had taken the ball from them.

The fourth quarter was a little bit faster than the third and was more simple too.

Hutchison matches his jersey number for the amount of yards he got on his dash with 11. Troy must have had a lot of confidence on 4th down because when the Eagles put them at 4th and 1, they went all in for it and got a fresh set of downs. Nichols got 5 nickels worth of yards on his charge and bringing him out of bounds was Jeffrey Radichel. Walker pulls out another first down for the Trojans which brings us to a 7 yard touchdown run by Nichols that set up a Mason Gessert extra point.

With 6:06 remaining, it was clear that Troy had taken over Liberty by leading 28-12.

Troy had forced a final punt upon Liberty with Arrington coming off sort of limping but had seemed fine when he got to the sideline.

With 2:30 left in the game, Troy’s student section did the all too familiar “start the buses” chant.

With 58 seconds remaining, the Trojans took a knee resulting in the game being over and a 28-12 victory.

The Eagles will hopefully learn from this game and move onto their next opponent – the 3-0 Fort Zumwalt North Panthers. The Eagles will travel to Fort Zumwalt North on Friday, Sept. 14 and look to beat them for the first time ever in program history.