Troup looks to bounce back
Published 6:41 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – It’s bounce-back time for the Troup Tigers.
Through the first seven games of the season, the Tigers knew nothing but success, and it looked like they were poised to take a 9-0 record into the regular-season finale against top-ranked Cartersville.
That plan was interrupted last week, with the Cedartown Bulldogs getting a 21-18 victory on their home field.
As disappointing as last week’s loss was, Troup still has plenty to play for in the final two weeks of the regular season.
If Troup wins its next two games, it would finish tied for first in the region.
If Troup beats Central-Carroll and loses to Cartersville, it would still have a chance to finish second in the region and earn a home game for the state playoffs.
Troup (7-1 overall) will carry a 3-1 Region 5-AAAA record into Friday’s home game against Central-Carroll.
Central (3-5 overall) is
1-3 in the region, and it still has an outside shot at making the playoffs.
“We went back to basics this week, just slowing things down in practice, teaching a little bit more,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We taught really heavy off the film from Friday. So we feel like we’ve had a pretty decent week.”
That the Tigers are disappointed to be 7-1 is a testament to how far the program has come.
In 2015, Glisson’s first season as Troup’s head coach, the team dropped its first nine games and finished 1-9.
Troup went 8-3 a year ago and finished second in the region, and it had won 15 of 16 games in the regular season before falling to Cedartown.
“Two years ago, we would have killed to be 7-1,” Glisson said. “Now we’re all walking around moping, and mad.”
Another thing that has changed is the way opponents view Troup.
Beating a 1-9 football team isn’t a big deal, but beating an unbeaten team that features one of the state’s highest-scoring offenses is.
“We’ve just got to learn how to play with a target on our chest,” Glisson said. “We’re not on the top, but I’ve been telling these guys for about a year and a half now that it’s harder to stay up there than it is to get up there. You can get up there and touch greatness, but it’s hard to stay up there. We just didn’t match their intensity. We played hard, but we didn’t play extremely hard.”
Cedartown’s offense was held well below its season average in points, but it stayed on the field for a good portion of the game.
That helped limit the number of possessions Troup’s explosive offense had.
Quarterback Montez Crowe, who is second in the state in passing yardage, was 17-of-26 for 256 yards with three touchdowns.
Jamari Thrash caught eight balls for 163 yards with two touchdowns, and Kobe Hudson had six receptions for 79 yards with a touchdown.
Glisson said Cedartown changed its offensive strategy for Troup.
The Bulldogs used a tight end and huddled before a play, two things they rarely did in their first seven games.
“We’d only seen them five percent of the time play with a tight end, and we’d only seen them 10 percent of the time huddle,” Glisson said. “Well, Friday night, they line up with a tight end, they huddle, they take their time, and they controlled the tempo. And we can’t allow people to control the tempo. We’ve got to get off the field on defense.”
Troup’s offense, which averages more than 40 points per game, was held to a season low in points.
“We are a rhythm offense, and when you can’t get in a rhythm, you start pressing a little bit, and you start doing things you typically wouldn’t do,” Glisson said. “But we’ve got to control the tempo of the whole ballgame for us to be successful.”
Central-Carroll will no doubt look to do the same thing on Friday.
The Lions are primarily a running team, with senior Malcolm Brown leading the way with 688 yards on 98 attempts with eight touchdowns. Braden Dunson has run for 218 yards with four touchdowns.
Landon Schulenburg has thrown for 504 yards in eight games with four touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Glisson said it all starts up front for Central.
“Central, their offensive line, is the best offensive line we’ve played to date,” Glisson said. “Their offensive line is really good.”
Central has enjoyed a big-time turn-around this season.
Central struggled to an 0-10 record a year ago, but things have turned around this season under new head coach Darius Smiley.
“I think coach Smiley has done a great job,” Glisson said. “They’re really well-coached. They were up on Cedartown 14-0 and lost. They were tied with Chapel Hill 14-14 and lost. I think in the second half, their lack of depth kind of hurt them. But I think they are a very well-coached football team. I sent (Smiley) a text telling him he’s done a great job of coaching. He’s turned it around in one year.”
TROUP VS CENTRAL
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: Troup (7-1 overall, 3-1 in Region 5-AAAA); Central (3-5 overall, 1-3 in Region 5-AAAA)