Unbeaten Troup looks to stay hot
Published 11:19 am Friday, October 12, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re hoping to make history.
The Troup Tigers have never beaten the LaGrange Grangers three straight times, and they’ll have an opportunity to do that tonight at Callaway Stadium.
Troup, which was off last week, will put its unbeaten record on the line against rival LaGrange.
Troup (6-0 overall) is 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA, while LaGrange (1-5 overall) is 0-3 in region play.
It’s always an emotional game, but Troup head coach Tanner Glisson doesn’t expect his players to have any issues dealing with the moment.
A year ago, Troup beat LaGrange 38-0, but it was only a 7-0 game at the half.
“I think we have done a much better job this year of handling games like this,” said Glisson, who has a chance to become the first Troup coach to beat LaGrange three times. “We’ve had more experience. We played in the Callaway game. We played in the Harris game, and that was a rivalry. And last year we were in the playoffs. This team is a little more used to it. Last year, I think we were so excited (against LaGrange), and trying so hard. This team is a lot more mature. They’re just older.”
The Tigers have blown the doors off of just about every team they’ve played this season.
Only Callaway managed to keep things competitive into the second half, and Troup won that game 37-20.
Troup gets it done with a powerful offense that is averaging more yards per game (520) than any team in the state, regardless of classification. The Tigers are scoring 43 points per game, which is the fourth highest total in Class AAAA.
Junior Kobe Hudson has been a marvel in his first season at quarterback.
Hudson has completed 80-of-127 passes for 1,650 yards with 20 touchdowns, and he has also run for 578 yards with seven touchdowns.
Five Troup players are in double digits in receptions, including Jamari Thrash, who has 18 catches for 457 yards with eight touchdowns.
Joko Willis is next with 16 catches for 337 yards and four touchdowns, and Mark-Anthony Dixon has 12 receptions for 176 yards with three touchdowns.
Ja’Rell Smith, another member of Troup’s talented wide-receiver corps, has 12 catches for 322 yards with three touchdowns, and Trea Mitchell has 11 catches for 218 yards with one touchdown.
Tyree Carlisle and Trey Williams have provided a solid one-two punch at running back.
Williams has 428 yards on 77 attempts with three touchdowns, and Carlisle has run for 249 yards on 42 carries with four touchdowns.
Defensively, senior linebacker Kevin Martin is on track to lead the team in tackles for a third straight year.
Martin is tops on the team with 48 tackles, including 38 solo stops.
Fellow inside linebacker Jatavian Smith has 22 tackles, and Jabralin Gooden has 20 tackles.
King Mwikuta and Devon Hill are the leading tacklers among the outside linebackers, and Jeremiah Holston, Kaliff Thornton, Andy Boykin and Monta Hall have been getting it done on the defensive line.
Nick Ligon is tops in the secondary with 26 tackles, and Alonzo Ogletree has 14 tackles and four interceptions, and Jace Godwin has two interceptions.
In the special-teams department, Helsyn Martinez has has been getting it done at kicker, and Dixon has excelled at punter, although he hasn’t been needed very often.
While Troup appears to have the upper-hand, Glisson said nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to a rivalry game.
“Anytime you have a rivalry going on, Georgia and Georgia Tech, Alabama and Auburn, Florida and Florida State, you can’t write anybody off, or assume this is going to happen,” Glisson said. “We feel good. We feel like we’ve had good preparation. So we’ll go out and see where the chips fall.”
TROUP VS. LAGRANGE
WHEN: Today, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: Troup (6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA); LaGrange (1-5 overall, 0-3 in Region 5-AAAA)
LAST YEAR: Troup beat LaGrange 38-0
ALL-TIME SERIES: LaGrange leads 30-10