Playoff time for Tigers
Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for.
The Troup Tigers headed into their regular-season showdown with Cartersville with a chance to improve to 10-0 and win the Region 5-AAAA championship.
Instead, the Tigers found themselves trailing 14-0 less than two minutes into the game, and it was the Purple Hurricanes (10-0) soaring to a 43-10 victory to win its seventh consecutive region title.
Fortunately for the Tigers, as disappointing as that night was, they have more football to play.
Troup (9-1), which has matched the school record for regular-season wins, will host Oconee County (6-4) on Thursday in the opening round of the Class AAAA state playoffs, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.
“We played absolutely terrible (against Cartersville),” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We got our pride hurt. We got our feelings hurt. But, all year long, this group, win or lose, and of course we haven’t lost but one, it’s been all right, what’s next? This group has done a really good job with it, and Sunday night was no different. We came in, we had a team meeting, and we wanted to talk about why things went the way they did. And they had a great idea of why things went that way, and what they thought we could adjust to make it better next time. And we tried to do that this week, and I think they’re just ready to get out there. They’re ready to get going.”
Despite last week’s outcome, it has been a special season for the Tigers.
Facing a challenging schedule that includes seven playoff teams, Troup won its first nine games before falling to Cartersville.
The Tigers get it done with a high-powered offense, led by junior quarterback Kobe Hudson, that averages more than 40 points per game.
Troup’s defense has been superb as well, holding opponents to less than 18 points per game.
While the Tigers have been crisp in all areas for most of the season, they had some uncharacteristic miscues last week that proved costly.
“It was two 9-0 teams, so somebody was going to lose,” Glisson said. “More than losing, the execution part of it was the most disappointing. We just didn’t play well. We don’t talk about the losing part, more so it’s the execution part. Hopefully everybody learned from it.”
If the Tigers win today, they’ll have an opportunity to do something a Troup football team hasn’t done in more than 30 years.
Troup hasn’t had playoff wins in back-to-back years since it made consecutive trips to the state quarterfinals in 1986 and 1987.
Troup also has an opportunity to reach double digits in wins for the fourth time in school history.
If Troup wins two playoff games, it would tie the school record for victories in a season.
“We’ve got a lot of things out there, but those kids don’t care about that,” Glisson said. “They just want to win. But it is a good accomplishment for the program and where we are, so we’re excited.”
Standing in Troup’s way is an Oconee County team that earned its playoff spot by finishing third in Region 8-AAAA.
Oconee County is in the same region with St. Pius X, which beat Troup in the second round of the state playoffs a year ago.
Oconee County hung tough with St. Pius and lost 28-14, and Glisson said that performance was eye-opening.
“They’ve played pretty well,” Glisson said. “To get our boys’ attention, it was easy to just plug in the St. Pius film. They ended up losing to St. Pius 28-14. But, it was a really good football game. They played their tails off.”
Oconee County is led by Max Johnson, a 6-foot-4 quarterback who is the son of former NFL quarterback Doug Johnson.
“The kid is 6-4 and can throw it,” Glisson said. “So, they definitely have our attention, and you can’t slip up now.”
TROUP VS. OCONEE COUNTY
WHEN: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
WHAT: Opening round of the Class AAAA state playoffs
RECORDS: Troup (9-1); Oconee County (6-4)
ON THE LINE: Winner advances to play either Pickens County or White County in the second round
LAST MEETING: Troup beat Oconee County 17-14 in the Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2001