Tigers hope to move to 5-0

Published 10:46 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry


LAGRANGE – They’ve got a chance to join an exclusive club.

If the Troup Tigers beat Chapel Hill in their Region 5-AAAA opener on Friday, they’ll become the fourth team in school history to make it halfway through the regular season without dropping a game.

“If we go to 5-0, there are only two teams in Troup history with a better start,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “I think our program is very healthy. We’re in a good position to move into region play and see what happens.”

The best start in school history came in 1972 when Troup won its first eight games before losing to Cedartown.

Troup started 5-0 in 1978, and it was 6-0 in 2003 on the way to a 10-win season and a berth in the state quarterfinals.

Standing between this Troup team and a 5-0 start is a Chapel Hill squad enjoying a nice season of its own.

With last week’s 21-14 overtime win over Whitewater, Chapel Hill is 3-1 heading into region play.

“I think people don’t realize how good Chapel Hill is,” Glisson said. “They were the number four playoff team last year, and now they’re 3-1 this year. They’ve got a lot of momentum, and we’ve got to go to their place. We’ve got to go play. And then it doesn’t get any easier.”

It’s a veteran Chapel Hill team, although it did have to replace a gifted quarterback.

“They brought back almost the entire team, except for the quarterback,” Glisson said. “He was dynamic. The one they replaced him with is a junior. He’s very, very athletic, and he’s still learning the quarterback position.

“Defensively,” Glisson added, “they don’t have any real standouts, but they have real good high-school defensive players. They beat a good, solid Whitewater team in overtime. And going to their place will be tough.”

Chapel Hill’s defense will be put to the test against Troup’s explosive offense.

Troup is averaging 41 points per game, with senior quarterback Montez Crowe leading the way.

Crowe has completed 68-of-99 passes for 1,316 yards, and he has thrown 11 touchdowns.

Crowe’s favorite target has been Jamari Thrash, who has 17 catches for 418 yards with four touchdowns.

Ja’Rell Smith has 13 catches for 200 yards with a touchdown, and Mark-Anthony Dixon has 10 receptions for 330 yards with two touchdowns, including a 98-yard scoring catch against Kendrick.

Tight end Kenly Bridwell also has 10 catches for 150 yards with a touchdown, and running back Tyree Carlisle has 10 receptions for 122 yards.

Kobe Hudson, who has been slowed by injury, has caught seven balls for 134 yards, and he has three touchdowns.

Carlisle headlines Troup’s rushing attack with 29 carries for 173 yards with three touchdowns, and Trey Williams has run for 91 yards.

Troup’s defense has been getting it done as well.

The Tigers struggled a bit defensively in a season-opening 31-28 win over the Hardaway Hawks, but they’ve only allowed 24 points in the past three games.

“Defensively, I think we’re very, very close to catching our stride,” Glisson said. “We’re close to putting together a complete game. I think our best defense is ahead of us.”

Glisson said the defensive players had a strong effort during practice on Tuesday.

“That was about as fast as I’ve seen our defense fly around in a long time,” Glisson said. “I think it was because of repetition, and understanding the scheme. So I feel good about it. Now we’ve got to go out and get it done on Friday, but I feel good about it.”

Troup was off last week after beating Lamar County 62-10 to improve to 4-0.,

Two weeks ago, the Tigers had a short week since school was canceled for two days because of the hurricane, but they’ve been hard at work since.

“With the weather, we got two built-in off days,” Glisson said. “We played Thursday, and we had five days off. So we came back, we went three days and really worked on some scheme stuff. It’s been good. I’m pretty pleased with where we are right now.”