Troup turns page after tough loss
CARTERSVILLE – It couldn’t have started any worse.
The Troup Tigers got the ball first in Friday’s Region 5-AAAA-championship showdown against Cartersville, and they were hoping to string some first downs together and get settled in.
That didn’t happen.
On a third-down play, Troup fumbled, and Cartersville’s Trevor Lowe scooped the ball up and raced 25 yards for the touchdown.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, that’s pretty much how the rest of the night went.
Cartersville, the state’s top-ranked team and the prohibitive favorite to win a second straight state championship, rolled to a 68-0 victory on its home field.
It was a 56-0 game at the half, and Cartersville added on two more touchdowns in the second half.
It was an unfortunate way to finish what was a remarkably successful regular season for the Tigers, who went 8-2 one year after posting a 1-9 record.
Troup also finished second in the region to qualify for the state playoffs, and it will host West Hall on Thursday in the opening round.
As for the Cartersville game, it was just one of those nights for Troup.
Troup obviously didn’t play its best, and a Cartersville team coming off an off-week was clicking in every phase of the game.
Cartersville seized momentum from the start, and Troup was unable to recover.
“You just have to get back up,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “You’d like to have at least been in the game and kept it close for a while. But at the end of the day, if you got beat you got beat. It’s time to move on. I would have felt a lot different if that was the last game of the season. It just is what it is.”
The Tigers’ fortunes took a turn for the worse on the first play from scrimmage when junior quarterback Montez Crowe suffered an injury that slowed him for the rest of the night.
“Montez hyper-extended his thumb on the first play of the game,” Glisson said. “He got tackled, and he landed on top of his thumb. So as the game went on, it was swollen, and we had to tape it. By the third series, he could only grip the ball with four fingers.”
Crowe is an integral part of Troup’s offense whether he’s throwing the ball or running it, and not having him at full strength was a huge blow.
Cartersville’s defense ended up forcing five turnovers, and it had six sacks in the first half alone, and eight for the game.
Cartersville led 28-0 after the first quarter, and it added 28 more points in the second quarter to build the massive lead.
Kevin Martin and Nick Ligon had interceptions for the Tigers early in the third quarter, but they were unable to convert those turnovers into points.
With the game out of hand, Glisson began focusing on this week’s playoff game.
“Sometimes, you’ve just got to tip your hat and bite the bullet,” Glisson said. “If it’s 100-0, it’s 100-0. It doesn’t mean we’re going to quit. But we’re not going to show our hand. We’re not going to put our kids at risk of not being able to play the next week.”
Desspite the disappointment of last week’s game, it was a tremendous regular season for the Tigers.
After an opening loss to Hardaway, Troup won eight consecutive games before meeting its match against Cartersville.
Now, Troup will try to break through for a playoff win, something that has been a rare occurence of late.
The Tigers reached the state quarterfinals in 2003, and they’ve only won one playoff game since then.
“We’re excited,” Glisson said. “We’ve won one playoff game here in 13 years. So, you go from where we were last year to possibly winning a playoff game, and getting to nine wins. If we get to nine wins, there are only three teams in Troup history that have more wins. There were three 11-win teams. So that’s pretty good.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports