Epic comeback win for Tigers
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2016
LAGRANGE – They never stopped believing.
Early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game against Bowdon, the Troup Tigers found themselves on the wrong end of a 27-14 score, and all the momentum rested with the visiting team.
Yet the Tigers, despite the seemingly long odds they faced at that point, kept coming, kept fighting, and maintained that belief that they could find a way to get it done.
They were right.
In an electrifying closing stretch, Troup scored a pair of late touchdowns, and the defense came through with some huge stops in a dramatic 28-27 victory for the home team.
After a 30-yard scoring pass from Montez Crowe to Ken Truitt and an extra point by Carson Wreyford, Troup had a one-point lead with less than two minutes to play.
Troup’s defense, which for much of the game didn’t have an answer for Bowdon’s run-oriented offense, then made one final stop on fourth down to sew up the victory.
Troup ran one kneel-down play, and the well-deserved celebration was on.
“We found out that Troup can really do it,” sophomore linebacker King Mwikuta said. “After all the stuff that Troup has been through, we had to do something. I told them we’ve got to do it now. And when we went out there and executed. I did my hardest, and my team did their hardest. And I love them for it.”
When Bowdon’s Cason Parmer tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Trent Estes, Troup was down by 13 points with 8:40 left in the game.
At that point, Troup had zero margin for error on either side of the ball if it was going to get its second win of the year.
“Coach (Tanner Glisson) said we’re going to get the ball, we’re going to score,” senior Jack Schweizer said. “We’re going to stop them, and we’ve got to score again. And that’s what we did.”
Following Parmer’s touchdown pass, Chanse Hill’s long kickoff return set Troup up in Bowdon territory, and Camren Russell capped a 45-yard touchdown drive with a 1-yard scoring run, and Wreyford’s extra point made it a 27-21 game with 5:20 to play.
Troup attempted an onside kick that was unsuccessful, so Bowdon took possession at midfield.
After three plays netted nine yards, Bowdon faced a fourth-and-one situation.
The defense made the critical stop, and Troup had the ball at its own 43-yard line, needing a touchdown and an extra point to take the lead.
A pass interference penalty on fourth down kept the drive alive, and a Crowe 10-yard gain put the ball on the Bowdon 30-yard line.
On the next play, Crowe threw the ball in the direction of Truitt, who had one-on-one coverage.
The defender had decent position, but Truitt wasn’t going to be denied, and he made the catch in the end zone to deadlock the score at 27-27.
“I was going to catch it,” Truitt said. “Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time situations.”
Troup still needed the extra point to take the lead, and Wreyford drilled the ball through the uprights to make it a 28-27 game with 1:42 to play.
Bowdon responded with a long kickoff return by Tay Sheppard to put the ball at midfield, but Troup’s defense was up to the challenge.
On fourth-and-seven, Parmer was tackled for no gain with 43 seconds left, and that was that.
While the offense did its part with the two late touchdowns, Crowe said the defense’s ability to make the late stops was critical to the comeback effort.
“Our defense stepped up the whole fourth quarter,” Crowe said. “I’ve got to give them credit. We couldn’t do it without the defense.”
In the first half, Troup surged to a 7-0 lead with a touchdown less than a minute into the game, but it was Bowdon taking a 14-7 lead at the break.
On their first possession, the Tigers went 61 yards in three plays, and Russell capped that quick drive with a 38-yard scoring run, and Wreyford made the extra point.
Later in the first quarter, Bowdon took over at the Troup 29-yard line after a bad snap on a punt.
Aaron Beasley scored on a 12-yard run, and Parmer’s extra point tied it at 7-7 with 1:51 left in the opening quarter.
Bowdon then attemped and recovered an onside kick to take over at the Troup 47-yard line, and that led to a 34-yard touchdown run by Tay Sheppard with 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Troup drove deep into Bowdon territory at the close of the second quarter, but it was unable to score, and Bowdon had a 13-7 lead at the half.
With 4:04 left in the third quarter, the Red Devils pushed that lead to 20-7 on a 5-yard touchdown run by Jamal Wyatt that capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive.
Troup had given up 20 consecutive points, and it needed to do something to turn the tide.
Freshman wide receiver Kobe Hudson accomodated.
Hudson caught a shot pass from Crowe, and he turned that into a 63-yard touchdown, and with the extra point Bowdon’s lead was down to 20-14 with 2:30 to play in the third quarter.
Back came Bowdon, which drove 80 yards in 11 plays, with Parmer finding Estes for the touchdown.
Bowdon seemed to be firmly in control, especially with the way its offense was controlling the clock, but Troup was able to turn things around and capture an emotional victory.
“To be down two touchdowns, and them being a run-heavy offense with the ability to run the clock out, that’s a big win,” Glisson said.
OF NOTE: For more on Friday’s game, check out Monday’s sports section. And for more photos, go to facebook.com/LDNsports
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports