Morning football no problem for Tigers

Published 6:31 pm Sunday, August 27, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

COLUMBUS – It was an early kickoff, but the Troup Tigers were wide-awake and ready to go.

Troup was at Kinnett Stadium on Saturday against Kendrick for an 11 a.m. game, which is about seven hours earlier than the team is accustomed to playing.

That didn’t bother the Tigers, who came roaring out of the gate with a kickoff return for a touchdown by Mark-Anthony Dixon, and they didn’t look back on the way to a 36-8 victory.

The Tigers led 36-0 after two quarters, and head coach Tanner Glisson opted to let the reserve players get most of the time on the field in the second half, which went quickly because of a running clock.

“Being up 36-0 at the half, there’s no sense in beating somebody into submission,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We’ve been on the flip side of that. So it was good to get all those young guys in. Those guys practice hard just like everybody else does, and like I told the coaches, those guys deserve to be coached hard.”

The first half was all Troup.

Senior quarterback Montez Crowe, who is off to a remarkable start this season, completed 9-of-11 passes for 220 yards with scoring passes to Dixon and Jamari Thrash.

Tyree Carlisle and Trey Williams each had touchdown runs, and Troup’s first-team defense blanked Kendrick in the first half.

“We’ve got some things to clean up, but 2-0 is as good as you can do,” Glisson said.

Dixon, who competed in the state finals in the 100-meter dash last spring, showed off that sprinter’s speed when he took the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.

Troup followed with some trickery.

Brantly Robinson took the snap on what appeared to be an extra-point attempt, but he stood up and completed a two-point pass to Kenly Bridwell, and Troup led 8-0.

“We work really hard on special teams,” Glisson said. “We started with (the kickoff return), and then we had the two-point conversion. We saw that on film. They were not covering our tight end, so we went ahead and fired that. So it was good to start like that and get some momentum.”

Kendrick responded with a nice drive that ended when Thrash deflected a pass on fourth down, giving the Tigers the ball at their own 5-yard line.

On third down, Troup faced third-and-10 from the 5-yard line when Thrash dropped back and delivered a deep ball down the left sideline.

The ball fell perfectly into the hands of Wilson, who never had to slow down, and moments later the sophomore celebrated a 95-yard scoring catch.

Carson Wreyford made the first of his four extra points, and Troup led 15-0 with 2:27 left in the first quarter.

A King Mwikuta sack helped make sure Kendrick’s second possession went nowhere, and Troup took over at its own 13 after a punt.

On third-and-long, senior tight end Kenly Bridwell made a sensational diving catch for a 43-yard gain.

Two plays later, Thrash’s 32-yard touchdown catch and the extra point put Troup on top 22-0 with 7:50 to play in the half.

Following a second straight Kendrick three-and-out, the Tigers went 56 yards in seven plays for another touchdown.

Crowe completed back-to-back 14-yard passes to Ja’Rell Smith before Carlisle scored on a 9-yard run, and Troup led 29-0.

The Tigers got the ball back moments later when Smith recovered a fumble at the Cherokees’ 15-yard line.

Five plays later, Williams muscled his way into the end zone from one yard out, and Wreyford knocked home the extra point go put Troup up 36-0.

Facing Troup’s second-team defense, Kendrick got a touchdown run from Stephon Williams.