By: By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
October 25, 2013
There was no drama this year.
A year ago, the Troup Tigers had to rally from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Fayette County 47-37.
In the rematch, Troup made sure there wouldn’t be any late-game suspense with a 33-6 victory on senior night at Callaway Stadium.
It was a dominant all-around effort for the Tigers.
The defense didn’t allow a point, and the Troup offense controlled the action with its powerful running game, as well as some timely passes from quarterback Will Smith.
The one time Fayette County looked like it might be gaining some momentum, Troup had an answer.
After Fayette County scored on an interception return in the third quarter to get within 14, Quaydo Florence came right back with a kickoff return for a touchdown, and Troup was back in control.
The Tigers (4-4 overall) improved to 3-2 in Region 5-AAAA heading into next week’s showdown with the rival LaGrange Grangers.
Troup closes the regular season the following week against Shaw.
If the Tigers win both games, they’ll be in the state playoffs.
“Every game from here until we’re done keeps getting bigger,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said.
Troup’s defense put the first points on the board Friday night, with Kelsey McCutcheon scooping up a fumble and returning it 25 yards for the touchdown.
The two-point attempt was unsuccessful, and Troup led 6-0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
It looked like the Tigers were going to add to their lead midway through the second quarter.
After Fayette County failed on a fourth-down attempt, Troup took over near midfield and drove it down to the 1-yard line.
The big play on the drive was a 15-yard completion from Will Smith to Justice Marable.
On fourth down from the one, though, Fayette County came up with a stop, and the Tigers had to give the ball up.
Troup’s defense then forced a three-and-out, and the offense got the ball back at the Fayette County 37-yard line with more than a minute remaining.
Smith completed passes of 13 yards to Diquize Johnson, and 12 yards to Florence to put the ball on the 14-yard line.
After a 6-yard keeper by Smith, Dre Towns scored on an 8-yard run with six seconds left in the half.
After the failed two-point attempt, Troup was up 12-0, which was the score at the half.
“We went in at halftime and made some very good adjustments,” Kendall said. “We talked about some things we needed to step up on really. There were no Xs and Os adjustments really, we just told them you have to step it up.”
Fayette County got the ball first in the third quarter, but it went three-and-out and punted, and Troup got the ball at its own 32-yard line.
Troup went 68 yards in nine plays for the touchdown, and all of the damage was done on the ground.
Daryl Dunlap was the workhorse on the drive with five carries, and he scored on a 21-yard run with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Smith kept the ball for the two-point conversion, and Troup was up 20-0.
After another Fayette County punt, Troup had the ball back with a chance to salt the game away.
Instead, Vincent Bey picked off a pass and returned it about 50 yards for the touchdown, and Troup’s lead was down to 20-6.
Fayette’s momentum was short-lived, though.
Florence took the ensuing kickoff at about the 30-yard line, and he took off and out-raced everyone for the touchdown, and Troup led 26-6 with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
“He did a great job of answering, and grabbing the momentum back,” Kendall said. “I thought that was a great effort by him.”
Troup capped the scoring with a 59-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
That drive was set up by a sack by Devonte Swanson on fourth down that ended a Fayette County drive.
That play was part of a superb effort by the Troup defense.
“I thought we played very physical tonight,” Kendall said. “I thought as the game went along, that started showing up a little bit.”
On Troup’s final possession,Brandon Heard had a 28-yard run to put the ball on the 7-yard line, and Dunlap scored on the next play.
Michael Young made the extra point with 17 seconds showing on the clock to cap the socring.