Troup faces fellow unbeaten team
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Something will have to give.
The Troup Tigers and Chapel Hill Panthers have both made it through the first four games of the season without a loss.
Those two teams will meet at Callaway Stadium tonight in the Region 5-AAAA opener, and one of them will walk away with its first loss of the season, and the other will remain perfect.
“You’ve got a 4-0 Chapel Hill team that is very talented, and they believe they’re good,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “That makes them extremely dangerous. This is their best team they’ve ever had. They’ve never started 4-0.”
Chapel Hill is led by talented senior quarterback KJ Burton, who is a legitimate two-way threat.
Burton has thrown for 257 yards with two touchdowns, and he has also run for 386 yards with five touchdowns.
Burton showed how explosive he can be in a 49-19 win over Starr’s Mill on Sept. 7 when he ran for 200 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns while completing 4-of-7 passes for 73 yards with a touchdown.
With Burton leading the way, Chapel Hill is averaging close to 30 points per game, and its defense has only allowed 33 points in four games.
In three of its games, Chapel Hill has allowed seven or fewer points.
Troup has also been impressive on the way to a 4-0 start.
The Tigers are scoring 42 points per game, and they’ve given up 40 points in four games.
Troup quarterback Kobe Hudson has been sensational, completing 48-of-78 passes for 977 yards with 12 touchdowns, and he has run for 246 yards on 27 attempts with five touchdowns.
Joko Willis has been Hudson’s favorite target with 12 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown, and Jamari Thrash has 10 receptions for 233 yards with five touchdowns.
Mark-Anthony Dixon has 10 catches for 172 yards with three touchdowns, and Ja’Rell Smith has caught five balls for 170 yards with a touchdown.
Trey Williams leads the rushing attack with 264 yards on 42 carries with two touchdowns, and Tyree Carlisle has 27 runs for 143 yards with two touchdowns.
Troup’s defense is paced by senior linebacker Kevin Martin, who had 11 tackles in last week’s win over Callaway and is on pace to lead the team in tackles for a third straight year.
Glisson figures with the regular season nearly halfway gone, there are no more secrets.
“By this time of year, teams pretty much are who they are,” Glisson said. “You have certain tweaks and things you’re going to clean up, but you are who you are at this point. We have to keep modifying, and make sure our habits are good, and take a look at special teams and make sure we’re staying on point with special teams. You can never get enough practice with special teams.”
Troup is coming off a hard-earned 37-20 victory over Callaway.
The game was still in the balance when Troup scored a touchdown with less than two minutes. That scoring drive came on the heels of a Callaway touchdown that made it a 10-point game.
While Troup has the ability to score quickly, the mindset on the final drive was to put the game away with the running attack.
Hudson capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
“We went out there, we said we’re not going to throw the ball,” Glisson said. “We need first downs. And so I think we ran the ball 10 times on that drive and never threw a pass. We were able to establish the run. That was real big for us.”
Glisson added that “it was really good to physically line up and go out them for 10 plays. It was good to see our guys come off the ball.”
Glisson said the Tigers didn’t come out of the game unscathed.
“We’re a little nicked up, and I’m sure everybody is this time of year,” Glisson said. “We had a tough game versus Callaway, and we’ll a little beat up, a little tired. And it’s been hot. We pushed them hard yesterday. It’s time to get fresh and see how we respond.”
TROUP VS. CHAPEL HILL
WHEN: Today, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: Troup (4-0); Chapel Hill (4-0)