Picture is clear for Tigers

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

October 30, 2013

If the Troup Tigers take care of their own business, they won’t have to do any scoreboard watching.

The Tigers head into Friday’s game against the rival LaGrange Grangers secure in this knowledge.

If they go out and win the game, they will be in the playoffs, most likely as the number three seed.

If the Tigers lose, they would still be in the playoff picture, but to make it to state they would likely have to win their regular-season finale against Shaw, and then possibly survive a mini-playoff the Monday after the regular season ends.

The preferred scenario, obviously, would be to win Friday and have the state invitation in the bag.

“You want to be in a situation where you have an opportunity to control your own destiny, instead of hoping some people are going to beat somebody else,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said. “And then you start looking at all the different scenarios and those types of things. You want to avoid that. And we’re in a situation where the opportunity is there, we just need to take advantage of the opportunity. We need to execute and make it happen.”

The Tigers (4-4 overall) bring a 3-2 Region 5-AAAA record into Friday’s game.

Troup fell to 1-2 in the region after back-to-back losses to Sandy Creek and Carrollton, but they’ve routed Columbus and Fayette County the past two weeks to move above .500 in the region.

Troup has also beaten Alexander, another playoff contender.

“They’ve come a long way,” Kendall said of his team. “I’m real proud of the players and coaches for doing all the things that were necessary to get us in a situation where they have this opportunity. That’s not something that happened overnight. There was a lot of hard work, and there’s a lot of hard work still to be done to be where we need to be.”

Troup won’t be out to trick LaGrange Friday night.

Offensively, the Tigers are a power running team, with Daryl Dunlap and Dre Towns putting up big numbers behind a big and talented group of offensive linemen.

Quarterback Will Smith is also a running threat, and he has been effective in the passing game when called upon, with senior receivers Quaydo Florence and Diquize Johnson getting it done.

Troup’s defense, meanwhile, has given up one touchdown in the past two games.

“There’s still a lot of areas to improve, but I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Kendall said. “It’s a real grinder what we put them through. They’ve responded very well. I think that’s paying off.”

Kendall is expecting an extremely difficult game Friday against a LaGrange team that is fighting for its playoff life.

LaGrange (3-5 overall) is also 3-2 in the region, but it finishes the regular season against Carrollton, the state’s second-ranked team.

“They have goals, season goals, just like we do, and we’ll both go into the game trying to achieve those goals,” Kendall said. “I’m looking forward to having good practices this week and good preparation, and getting ready for Friday night.”