Troy High sits one win away from first playoff bid since 2009

By: Timothy Pontzer | Troy Times | Published October 11, 2017

 Troy senior running back Teron Kinnard scores a touchdown against Auburn Hills Avondale earlier this season. The focal point of the offense, Kinnard has the Colts one victory away from the club’s first postseason appearance since 2009.

Troy senior running back Teron Kinnard scores a touchdown against Auburn Hills Avondale earlier this season. The focal point of the offense, Kinnard has the Colts one victory away from the club’s first postseason appearance since 2009.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

TROY — Chris Frasier graduated from Troy High in 2000.

Since that point, the Colts have only reached the football postseason three times (2007-09).

In his first year at the helm of the program, Frasier has Troy one victory away from punching a playoff ticket, buoyed by wins in four of the last five weeks.

“When I was brought in, many asked me what to expect my first year, and I was honest with them,” Frasier said after an Oct. 9 practice. “As a first-year coach, I didn’t know what to expect. There’s many new things to deal with, and I just wanted us to go out there and compete and let the chips fall where they may.”

Frasier stressed that he has tried to keep things simple in his rookie season on the sidelines. While he is in his 10th year with the program — previously serving as an offensive line and special teams coach — Frasier shied away from using standard motivation tactics at the year’s onset.

“I’ve seen plenty of teams post goals before the year, but we didn’t write any down,” Frasier said. “We only talked about competing, and so far we’ve done that. We talk about writing a story every week, and there’s still some chapters to be written, so we want to make sure there are positive things to write.”

When asked what he is most proud of from the group so far, Frasier cited the club’s mindset.

“We’re staying levelheaded,” Frasier explained. “Our confidence hasn’t changed from week to week. Every kid has bought in; they’re not bickering or turning on each other. Obviously it helps to win, but that thought process started before the season started, and I’m proud to represent a group that does that.”

Frasier remarked that his job has been made easier by strong leadership up and down his roster. He pointed to senior Maxwell Guitar as an example for everyone on his team to emulate.

“(Guitar) is the perfect package as a kid,” Frasier said. “Not only is he a great player (that) kids obviously look up to, but he never has a bad day. He’s always the same bubbly kid bringing energy and being a great leader. He’s a very tough kid and someone you want representing your program.”

Lining up at defensive end, tight end and fullback, Guitar is in the midst of his third year on varsity. A team captain, Guitar also holds a 4.2 GPA, benches 355 pounds and has aspirations of attending an Ivy League institution next fall.

“Things are much different around here,” Guitar said. “It’s been more fun-oriented. We really stress having fun, because at the end of the day this is just a game. Obviously you still have to get your work in and do your job, but it helps that we’re just playing loose. In the past, I was focused on not messing up instead of just making plays.”

Guitar cited team-building exercises that have taken place since the offseason as a key reason for Troy’s success. A scavenger hunt, laser tag nights and a “Lift-A-Thon” event against Troy Athens have helped to strengthen a bond between the Colts.

“We’re definitely a lot closer, and it shows on the field,” Guitar said. “This season is more exciting than anything. The pressure really hasn’t sunk in. Instead, we’re just having fun and taking it one week at a time.”

Frasier agreed, pointing to a Sept. 15 victory over Rochester Hills Stoney Creek as evidence for the way he wants Troy to approach each Friday night. That particular contest saw the Colts struggle offensively before junior wideout Will Flynn caught the game-winner with under two minutes remaining.

“We’ll take a win any way we can get it,” Frasier said. “We preach the ups and downs, and in that game the first two offensive plays were interceptions. We just kept fighting and fighting until (Flynn) scored. Earlier in the game, (Flynn) had muffed a punt, but he forgot about it and came up big. That sums up our team: simply gutting out a win.”

Starting with that decision over Stoney Creek, Troy has only allowed 14 total points in its last three victories.

“The offense carried the team the first couple games, and now the defense has had to pick it up the past few,” Frasier said. “That’s good team football; we want to be strong on both sides.”

Frasier singled out senior running back Teron Kinnard as the catalyst for the offense. At press time, the tailback had notched 728 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

“People have been telling me that I’m doing a great job of coaching him,” Frasier said with a smile. “When you have good kids, you’re a good coach. No one can teach Teron to run left, juke five people, run back right and score. We give him the ball and get out of the way.”

Troy will have to earn its postseason bid on the road, heading to Oak Park High at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 before finishing with the annual crosstown clash Oct. 20 at Athens.

“We know we’re getting close, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Frasier said. “We want to go out there and play a good game and, again, just let the chips fall where they may.”