Hurricanes, Tigers set for rematch

Published 1:59 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – Here we go again.

A year ago, the Troup Tigers were 8-1, and they were preparing to play the unbeaten Cartersville Purple Hurricanes for the Region 5-AAAA championship.

Flash forward nearly 365 days, and history is repeating itself.

Troup is 8-1, Cartersville is unbeaten, and those two teams are set to square off with first place in the region on the line.

There is one major difference this time around.

A year ago, Troup and Cartersville were both 5-0 in the region, so the winner was assured of finishing alone in first.

This season, while Cartersville has an unblemished region record, Troup is 4-1 in the region due to its 21-18 loss to Cedartown.

While it isn’t a winner-take-all game this year, the stakes are still high.

If Cartersville prevails, it will not only claim the region championship, but it will have won 40 consecutive games dating back to the 2015 season.

If Troup pulls off the upset, it will finish no worse than tied for first in the region while halting one of the longest winning streaks in state history.

Cedartown, which is tied for second at 4-1 in the region with Troup, closes its regular season against Chapel Hill on Friday.

Also this week, the Callaway Cavaliers will look to close the regular season on a winning note in a game that won’t have any impact on the region standings.

Callaway (8-1 overall) is 3-1 in Region 5-AA, and whatever happens in Thursday’s home game against Jordan, it will finish second behind Heard County.

LaGrange and Lafayette Christian School both completed their seasons last week.

Troup bounced back from its loss to Cedartown with an impressive 35-14 victory over a much-improved Central-Carroll team that was winless a year ago.

Troup’s Montez Crowe threw four touchdown passes, two to Jamari Thrash, and one apiece to Kobe Hudson and Ja’Rell Smith.

Tyree Carlisle added a touchdown run for the Tigers, who surged to a 35-7 lead late in the third quarter.

Troup was coming off its first loss in nearly a calendar year, and there didn’t appear to be any lingering effects.

“Last week, we let that one slip through our fingers,” Crowe said. “But Cedartown’s a good team. So we couldn’t dwell on it. We had to move forward, and we knew (Central’s) a good team.”

Cartersville, which was off last week, has yet to be tested in region play.

Cartersville had one competitive game early on when it outlasted Bartram Trail (Fla.) 52-45, but other than that it has been smooth sailing.

In region play, Cartersville out has outscored its five opponents by a combined score of 277-13.

Cartersville’s closest region game was its first one when it beat Cedartown 41-7, but it led that game 38-0 at the half.

Troup is obviously hoping this year’s game is more competitive.

In the 2016 regular-season finale, it was Cartersville surging to a huge early lead on the way to a 68-0 victory at home.

That game, Crowe said, was a learning experience.

“I think we all learned from last year, coming out so eager,” Crowe said. “This year, we all know we’ve got to just come out and play football. We just have to execute, and the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Cartersville is led by Clemson-bound quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who two weeks ago surpassed Deshaun Watson to become the state’s all-time leader in passing yards.

Cartersville is a lot more than just Lawrence, though.

The senior quarterback is surrounded by talented players on offense, and the defense is one of the state’s best.

“There’s a reason why they’ve won 39 in a row,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We know we’re up against a big challenge.”

For Callaway, the goal is to finish the regular strong and head into the Class AA playoffs with some momentum.

Callaway’s region-title hopes were basically vanquished with a 35-28 loss to Heard County, but it has followed up that loss with blowout wins over Temple and Spencer.

If Callaway beats Jordan, it will finish a regular season at 9-1 for the fourth time since 2008.

Jordan (2-7 overall) is 1-3 in the region, and it still has a shot at making the playoffs after last week’s dramatic 43-41 win over Temple.

For that to become a reality, though, Jordan will have to beat Callaway, and that’s a tall task.

Against Spencer, Callaway was clinging to a 14-7 lead at halftime, but it dominated the second half on the way to the 38-7 win.

Callaway started quickly with touchdowns on its first two possessions.

Qua Hines got things started with a 1-yard scoring run, and Kedrick Ramsey followed with a 41-yard touchdown pass to DQ Wilkerson, and Callaway led 14-0.

Noah Stephens got the second-half scoring started with a 35-yard field goal, and Callaway led 17-7, which was the score heading to the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, Ramsey threw touchdown passes of five yards to Jacob Freeman and 20 yards to Nathan Sapp, and Cartavious Bigsby had a 70-yard scoring run.

Stephens, in addition to his field goal, was perfect on his five extra-point attempts.



Jordan at Callaway, 7 p.m.


Cartersville at Troup, 7:30 p.m.