It was not the start the Troup Tigers were hoping for.
The Tigers got the ball first in Thursday’s showdown with the Carrollton Trojans, and they were facing a third-and-short situation deep in their own territory.
Troup fumbled the ball, the Trojans recovered, and a few plays later they were in the end zone.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, that was a sign of things to come.
Carrollton scored touchdowns the first six times it touched the ball en route to a 49-12 victory at Callaway Stadium.
It was more of the same for the unbeaten Trojans (6-0, 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA), who have dominated every opponent they’ve faced this season.
Troup (2-4, 1-2), meanwhile, wrapped up a brutal two-game stretch.
Troup lost to top-ranked Sandy Creek 21-0 last week, and less than a week later it was on the field to play the state’s second-ranked team.
“That’s tough back-to-back. That’s not something your typical high-school kid faces, playing them back-to-back like that,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said. “That was tough. At the same time, we had a good game plan, we just didn’t execute tonight.”
Troup had a pair of lost fumbles in the first half, and they both led to Carrollton touchdowns.
The first fumble gave the Trojans the ball inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
“We did some things you just can’t do. We turned the ball over,” Kendall said. “They get the ball at the 8, and they get one inside the 20. They get two quick touchdowns, and you’re digging yourself out of a hole, and things snowballed a little bit.”
Carrollton obviously had a lot to do with Troup’s troubles.
The Trojans opened the season with a 35-14 victory over Oxford (Ala.), and that’s the most competitive game they’ve had.
Since then the Trojans have won every game they’ve played by at least 35 points.
In their three region games, the Trojans have scored a combined 152 points, and they’ve given up just 26 points.
“They’re an outstanding football team,” Kendall said. “When you look at them and Sandy Creek, that’ll be a good ballgame to watch. They’re a fine football program.”
Kendall did like the way his team competed, especially in the second half when the Tigers and Trojans both scored seven points.
Senior running back Daryl Dunlap scored both of Troup’s touchdowns.
He had a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and a 47-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our seniors stepped up in the second half and showed some solid leadership,” Kendall said. “They were able to get the rest of the team behind them. Enough is enough. So hat’s off to them for stepping up, and I’m proud of them for doing that.”
After Troup’s early fumble, Carrollton scored on a 3-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jarvis Terrell.
Troup went three-and-out on its next possession, and Terrell struck again, this time for a 44-yard touchdown run, and it was 14-0.
After another Troup three-and-out, Terrell’s 9-yard touchdown run gave Carrollton a 21-0 lead, and there was still more than four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Tigers lost their second fumble on their ensuing possession, and that led to a 3-yard scoring run by quarterback Wil Garrett, and the Trojans were up 28-0 after the first quarter.
Early in the third quarter, Malik Sheppard’s 15-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 35-0, and Garrett then threw a 65-yard scoring pass to Dante Wigley, and it was a 42-0 game.
Troup finally caught a break later in the second quarter when a Carrollton player muffed a punt return, and the Tigers got the ball at the 32-yard line.
Seven plays later, Dunlap scored on a 7-yard run on third-and-goal, and the Tigers were on the board with 54 seconds left in the half.
A two-point attempt failed, and Carrollton’s lead was 42-6 at halftime.
The Trojans took the second-half kickoff and drove for a touchdown, with Terrell delivering his fourth scoring run of the game.
Troup responded with a 12-play, 71-yard drive that ended when a fourth-down play failed at the Carrollton 20-yard line.
Although the drive didn’t yield any points, Kendall liked the way the offense moved the ball with quarterback Will Smith at the helm.
Smith had three carries for 23 yards on the drive, and he also completed a 7-yard pass to Quaydo Florence.
Dunlap and Dre Towns also had some nice runs on the drive.
“We came out and we drove the ball, and unfortunately we got bogged down, but that’s what we’re looking for,” Kendall said. “Will Smith did a great job keeping the ball running. Daryl Dunlap ran hard. I thought Daryl had a really good game against Carrollton tonight.”
The Tigers added a final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After Dunlap ripped off a 20-yard run, he beat the Carrollton defense for a 47-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring.
Troup will now prepare for another Thursday-night game next week against Columbus at Kinnett Stadium.
“It hurts, but you can’t dwell on it too long, because you’ve got another one coming up in seven days,” Kendall said.