Offenses come to life in Week 2
LAGRANGE – The Troup High aerial attack is going strong.
Through two games, quarterback Montez Crowe has accumulated more than 400 yards through the air, and he has thrown four touchdowns passes, including three to freshman Kobe Hudson.
Senior Ken Truitt also has a touchdown catch, running back Camren Russell was a big part of the passing attack during the season opener against Hardaway, and senior wide receiver Chanse Hill has a handful of catches.
Crowe, a junior who made his first career start in last year’s season finale against Whitewater, said he believes in the men he’s throwing the ball to.
“I have a lot of confidence in them, because I see what they do in practice to prepare for the game,” Crowe said.
One of those receivers Crowe believes in is Hudson, whose high-school career is off to a flying start.
Hudson had a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the season opener against Hardaway, and he had two more scoring receptions against Kendrick.
In the Kendrick game, Hudson had a 37-yard touchdown catch in the closing moments of the first half, and he had a 45-yard scoring reception in the third quarter.
Truitt got into the act in the fourth quarter, and he made his 28-yard scoring catch while being interfered with by a Kendrick defender.
“I just want the ball,” Truitt said. “That’s all it is. I want it.”
In the season opener, Russell was Troup’s leading receiver out of the backfield with 113 yards.
A year ago, Troup’s passing attack wasn’t much of a factor, but with Crowe at the helm that has changed this season.
“The passing game, it’s come a long way,” Russell said. “It’s improved a lot.”
Russell headlines Troup’s running attack, and he had a pair of touchdown runs against Kendrick, and Jackson Davis had a scoring run in the Hardaway game.
With Russell running strong, Crowe making big plays in the passing game, and an inexperienced offensive line getting better every game, Troup’s offense could be difficult for opposing defenses to stop this season.
“We can be as good as we believe we can be,” Russell said. “We are very talented. We can be great.”
CALLAWAY: It has been a heck of a two-game stretch for Callaway seniors Dylan Johnson and Braylon Sanders.
Johnson, Callaway’s quarterback, has accounted for six touchdowns in the first two games.
Johnson has thrown three touchdown passes, he has two scoring runs, and he also has a touchdown catch.
Sanders, meanwhile, has two long touchdown catches covering nearly 150 yards, and he also threw a scoring pass to Johnson on a trick play.
In last week’s 42-28 road win over Handley (Ala.), Johnson pulled off the trifecta with a touchdown run, a scoring catch, and a touchdown pass.
In the first half, Callaway was inside the Handley 10-yard line when Sanders took a pitch, and he threw back to Johnson for the touchdown.
Also in the first half, Johnson had a short touchdown run, and then in the second half, he threw a 73-yard scoring pass to Sanders.
In a 37-6 win over LaGrange to open the season, Johnson opened the second half by throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass to Sanders.
Also against LaGrange, Johnson threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to DQ Wilkerson on a screen play, and he had a scoring run in the first half.
Johnson has played parts of three seasons at quarterback, and offensive coordinator Matt Napier puts a lot on his shoulders.
Oftentimes, Johnson is given the option on a given player to either run the ball or pass it, depending on what the opposing defense does.
“A lot of people are doing it now. It’s RPO, run-pass option,” Napier said. “You have a run play called with a pass play tagged to it. That’s pretty cool. That’s a new thing that a lot of people are going to. It’s something that’s become popular in the last couple of years.”
The big plays haven’t been limited to Johnson and Sanders.
In the Handley game, freshman running back Cartavious Bigsby had a 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory, and fullback Jibrell Jackson had two scoring runs in that game.
Against LaGrange, DJ Atkins had a 2-yard touchdown run, and the junior had a number of explosive runs in that game.
LAGRANGE: One of the big question marks coming into the season for the Grangers was was who would step up and fill the void left at wide receiver by the departure of some talented seniors, and so far, sophomore Jamari Thrash and junior Bo Russell have occupied that role nicely.
In the season opener against Callaway, Thrash had a 47-yard catch from Nathan Cronic that set up LaGrange’s lone touchdown.
Then in last week’s 28-7 win over Villa Rica, Thrash again showed off his big-play ability when he took a short pass from Amad Ogletree and turned it into a 53-yard touchdown.
In that same game, Russell had explosive plays of his own, including a 50-yard catch from Ogletree in the fourth quarter that led to a game-clinching touchdown.
LaGrange has also had some big plays on the ground, mostly courtesy of Ogletree.
Against Villa Rica, Ogletree had a 26-yard touchdown run on a play where he spotted an opening, and then exploded toward the end zone for the score.
Throughout that game Ogletree got it done on the ground, and he was also effective in the passing game.
Ogletree had a stellar all-around day, passing for 107 yards and running for 98 more.
Cornell Kendrick has been effective in short-yardage situations for LaGrange, and he has touchdown runs in each of the first two games.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports