The Tigers stood toe-to-toe with Class AAAAAA powerhouse Newnan Friday night at Callaway Stadium, but when the clock struck zero, they were on the wrong end of a 21-14 score.
The Tigers carried a 14-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Cougars scored 21 points in a span of less than three minutes to take control of the game.
Troup fell to 0-3, and it will be off next week before beginning Region 5-AAAA play against Alexander on Sept. 28.
As tough as the loss was, Troup head coach Lynn Kendall felt it was a step in the right direction after losses to Redan and Callaway.
“This is the first time they finally believed in themselves,” Kendall said.
Kendall said his message to the players before the game was “all of us believe in you, and there’s a lot of people up in the stands that believe in you, you just have to believe in yourself.”
For much of the game, the Tigers were the better team.
Through three quarters, Troup’s defense controlled things, and the run-oriented offense moved the ball well with running back Daryl Dunlap, among others, chewing up big chunks of yardage.
The Tigers controlled the action in the first half, but with the clock winding down they’d yet to put points on the board.
That changed with 1:16 remaining in the half when Lemonta Truitt scored on a 15-yard run to cap an eight-play, 61-yard drive, with all of the damage coming on the ground.
Troup was aided by a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the Newnan 14-yard line.
Newnan moved to the Troup 28 in the waning moments of the half, but Truitt came up with an interception to end that threat.
Troup’s defense set up the second touchdown.
The Cougars had the ball early in the third quarter when Troup’s Ricky Frazier came up with a fumble after a completed pass.
Frazier returned the ball about 30 yards to the Newnan 4-yard line, and three plays later, Dunlap scored on a 1-yard run.
Will Bates’ second extra point of the night put Troup up 14-0 with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, the Cougars got the ball at the Troup 29-yard line after a short punt, and they needed six plays to put their first points on the board.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Quinton Dix scored on a 3-yard run, and the extra point trimmed Troup’s lead to 14-7.
Troup’s next possession ended with an interception, and Newnan took over at the Tigers’ 49-yard line.
Two plays later, Newnan quarterback Bailey Bryant found a wide-open Traon Moss for a 45-yard touchdown, and the extra point tied it at 14-14 with 8:47 left in the game.
The Cougars kept the momentum going their way when Troup fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Newnan took over at the 28-yard line.
Bryant kept the ball for a 24-yard gain, and Dix scored on a 4-yard run on the next play, and the Cougars were ahead 21-14 with 8:20 remaining.
After a Newnan fumble later in the quarter, the Tigers got the ball at the 12-yard line, but they were unable to advance the ball, and the possession ended with a missed field goal.
After Newnan’s next possession ended with a punt, Troup had one last chance to drive for a possible tying score.
The Tigers made it to the Newnan 40-yard line after a facemask penalty, but the drive ended when a fourth-down play failed, and the Cougars were able to run out the clock.