Tigers gear up for playoffs

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

November 3, 2013

The Troup Tigers are in the playoffs, and they’ll be the third seed from Region 5-AAAA.

None of that will change in this week’s regular-season finale against the Shaw Raiders.

The Tigers still have plenty to play for, though.

The Tigers have won three in a row, including Friday’s big 27-8 win over LaGrange, and they want to carry that momentum into the playoffs.

Also, a victory over Shaw would give the Tigers (5-4, 4-2 in region play) a winning regular season.

“That’s our goal now, is having a winning record, and that’s a great turnaround from last year,” said Troup head coach Lynn Kendall, whose team went 3-7 last season and missed the playoffs.

The situation is a lot different from a year ago when Troup and Shaw played.

The winner of that game was going to make the playoffs, while the loser would be done for the season.

The Raiders won, and they advanced to state, while the Tigers wrapped up a disappointing season.

This year, Shaw has already been eliminated from the playoff race, and Troup’s postseason berth is secure.

Kendall said his team will give the Shaw game its full effort, though.

“It’s important to finish strong, even though we’re in the playoffs, so we can continue with some momentum going into the playoffs,” Kendall said.

The LaGrange Grangers, meanwhile, still have a chance of making the playoffs, although it’s a long shot.

The Grangers (3-6 overall) fell to 3-3 in Region 5-AAAA with last week’s loss to Troup.

LaGrange is in a tie with Alexander for the fourth and final playoff spot in the region.

Alexander holds the tiebreaker edge because of it’s head-to-head win, though, so it would get the playoff spot if it finishes tied with LaGrange.

Alexander also has a big advantage schedule-wise in the final game.

While LaGrange will be on the road to face a powerful Carrollton team, Alexander will host a Fayette County squad with just one win this season.

So to make the playoffs, LaGrange has to beat Carrollton, and Alexander has to lose to Fayette County.

LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch just hopes his team comes out and finishes strong.

“We’ll find out a lot next week,” Branch said after Friday’s loss. “You’re playing a great Carrollton team. We’ll see who shows up for practice.”

Callaway finds itself in the same situation as Troup.

The Cavaliers (8-1 overall) wrapped up the Region 4-AAA championship with last week’s win over Douglass.

On Friday, Callaway will be on the road against Rockmart in a game that won’t impact either team.

Callaway (6-0 in the region) will be number one regardless, and Rockmart (3-6, 2-4) was eliminated from playoff contention with last week’s 20-0 loss to B.E.S.T. Academy.

Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said as satisfying as it was to win a region title, there’s not much time for celebrating right now.

“It’s a good feeling,” Wiggins said Saturday morning. “We’ll enjoy it now, and starting (Sunday) we’ll get back to work and get ready for Rockmart.”