Tigers on the prowl
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a take-no-prisoners kind of night.
The Troup Tigers, coming off their impressive win over Ridgeland in the season opener, made their home debut on Thursday night, and they rolled to a 40-0 halftime lead on the way to a 47-13 victory over the Columbus Blue Devils.
The Tigers (2-0) put on a clinic in the opening two quarters.
The offense was unstoppable, with junior quarterback Kobe Hudson continuing to dazzle opposing defenses.
Hudson had touchdown runs of one and 34 yards, and he also threw scoring passes of 12 yards to Jamari Thrash and 60 yards to Tyree Carlisle.
Trey Williams added a 4-yard touchdown run for Troup.
The defense got into the act as well, with Alonzo Ogletree picking off a pass and racing 35 yards for a touchdown.
Troup’s lone score in the second half came Nick Schweizer threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mark-Anthony Dixon with less than a minute remaining.
There was a running clock in the second half, and Troup head coach Tanner Glisson emptied the bench and made sure everyone got some playing time.
“We played well,” Glisson said. “We had some special-teams hiccups, but not anything we can’t fix. But overall I thought it was a pretty good performance.”
Troup’s defense, which gave up almost nothing in a preseason game against Northside-Columbus and the regular-season opener against Ridgeland, was in fine form once again.
When the starters were on the field, a Columbus offense with some weapons was unable to get anything going.
Columbus did score two second-half touchdowns against Troup’s reserves.
“We’re trying to show we’ve got one of the best defenses in the state, and one of the best teams in the state,” said Troup defensive lineman Kaliff Thornton. “We’re just going to go out there and play.”
Troup’s offense, which has a ridiculous wealth of riches, moved the ball at will.
Hudson continues to look comfortable at quarterback, whether he’s heaving the ball downfield, or making defenders miss when he takes off running.
Hudson is surrounded by play-makers, including Jamari Thrash, who now has 20 touchdowns in his past 14 games.
“We feel like if we execute at a high level, we can be the most dangerous offense in the state,” Trash said. “We preach at practice, execute, execute, execute.We feel like if we execute at a high level, our odds of completing that play are very high.”
Troup’s defense made the game’s first big play on the opening possession, with Manderious Dix forcing a fumble that was recovered by Kevin Martin.
The Tigers then drove 55 yards for the game’s first touchdown, with Trey Williams scoring on a 4-yard run.
Hudson completed passes of 20 yards to Williams and 19 yards to Joko Willis on the scoring drive.
On Columbus’ next possession, King Mwikuta and Devon Hill both got to quarterback Donovan Carter, and Hill made the tackle for the sack.
There was a bad snap on the ensuing punt attempt, and the punter fell on the ball at his own 12-yard line.
Three plays later, Hudson rolled out and found Thrash in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass, and Helsyn Martinez made the extra point.
With 4:57 left in the first quarter, Troup led 13-0.
Columbus promptly went three-and-out, with Mwikuta making a hit on the quarterback on third down to force a punt.
The Tigers got the ball at their own 42-yard line, and they went to work.
Hudson completed a 12-yard pass to Trea Mitchell that put the ball a few footsteps away from the end zone.
On the next play, Hudson scored on a 1-yard keeper as time expired in the first quarter, and Martinez converted the extra point to give Troup a 20-0 lead.
It was more of the same on Columbus’ next possession, with Devon Hill collecting a sack on third down.
Hudson then showed off his big-play ability as a runner when he beat the Columbus defense for a 32-yard touchdown run, and Troup led 26-0 with 5:02 to play in the opening half.
When the Blue Devils got the ball back, Alonzo Ogletree read the quarterback and made the interception on the move, and he raced 35 yards to the end zone for the score.
It was Ogletree’s third interception of the season after he had two picks against Ridgeland.
Martinez hammered the extra point home, and Troup led 33-0 with 3:41 to play in the half.
It was more of the same for the Blue Devils when they got the ball back.
Montavious Hall got to Carter and made a sack to force another punt, and the Tigers began their final possession of the half at their own 40-yard line.
On third down, Hudson tossed a screen pass to Carlisle, and the senior showed off his speed and raced 60 yards for the touchdown, and Troup led 40-0 with 13 seconds showing on the clock.
Columbus got a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half to put some points on the board and avoid the shutout.
With time running down, Schweizer hooked up with Dixon for his first touchdown pass of the season.
Troup will visit Harris County next Friday before returning to Callaway Stadium for a showdown against the Callaway Cavaliers on Sept. 14.
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