Troup returns to Sandy Creek
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a massive step for a resurgent Troup High football team.
Coming off a difficult 2015 season, Troup got off to a solid start in 2016, and it took a 4-1 record into a road showdown against Sandy Creek.
Any doubts as to the legitimacy of that Troup team were erased following its performance that night.
It was tied 14-14 at the half, and Troup dominated the second half on the way to a 28-20 victory over a Sandy Creek team that at the time was ranked third in the state.
“That was really a defining moment for us,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said “It was a situation where we were off to a better start, but people were questioning our schedule.”
It wasn’t a flukish win.
The Tigers were the better team in the second half, although a late touchdown by the Patriots added a bit of suspense to the occasion.
When Troup recovered an onside kick, the win was in the bag.
A year ago, Troup beat Sandy Creek 71-16 at Callaway Stadium, with Montez Crowe throwing for more than 500 yards with eight touchdowns.
“Troup had never beaten Sandy Creek before, so it was a monumental win for us as a program,” Glisson said. “It gave us a belief, it justified what we already thought.”
those two teams will meet again on Friday night in Tyrone, and unlike two years ago, there are no questions as to the strength of Troup’s team.
Following last week’s 56-24 over Chapel Hill in the Region 5-AAAA opener, Troup (5-0) reached the midway point of the regular season with a perfect record.
Troup has outscored its five opponents by a combined score of 225-64, and it is averaging 45 points per game.
The Tigers get it done with a dynamic offense led by junior quarterback Kobe Hudson, who has completed 73-off-111 passes for 1,514 yards with 18 touchdowns.
Troup has a gifted group of wide receivers including Jamari Thrash, Joko Willis, Mark-Anthony Dixon, Ja’Rell Smith and Trea Mitchell who have 17 touchdown catches between them.
Hudson has also run for 327 yards with six touchdowns, and Tyree Carlisle and Trey Williams lead a formidable rushing attack.
Sandy Creek has a high-scoring offense of its own.
The Patriots average more than 40 points per game, and they’re coming off a 55-21 victory over Starr’s Mill.
Sandy Creek is led by quarterback Jamal Lewis as well as a talented group of running backs.
“Going on the road is a big challenge, especially when you’re the one everybody’s pointing at right now,” Glisson said. “They’ll be ready, and they’ll be fired up, and we’ve got some bumps and bruises.”
Glisson added that “we’ve just got to get our team ready to go. It’s about what we do. When we execute at a high level, we’re hard to beat.”
Glisson said the season has reached a point where making it through practice can be a grind at times.
“These guys have played so much football, there’s only so much we can give them in practice,” Glisson said. “It’s kind of like, hurry up Friday night and get here. Let’s go. But they have to understand the process. You have to put in the same amount of work every week to get to Friday night so you can be successful. So we’ll see. But you have to feel good where we’re sitting. We have visions of bigger things, but it happens by playing one game at a time.”
TROUP VS. SANDY CREEK
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Sandy Creek
RECORDS: Troup (5-0, 1-0 in Region 5-AAAA); Sandy Creek (3-2, 0-0 in Region 5-AAAA)
LAST MEETING: Troup beat Sandy Creek 71-16
COACHES: Troup – Tanner Glisson; Sandy Creek – Brett Garvin