Game day for Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers felt positive about their chances a year ago as they opened a new season with a game at Ridgeland, but there were question marks.
Troup not only lost more than 20 seniors from the 2017 team that went 9-3, but it also had to replace a handful of coaches.
Any worries that the Tigers would take a step back were allayed with that opening-night performance, though.
Facing a strong Ridgeland team, Troup dominated the game in every possible way on the way to a 32-0 victory.
That was the start of a special season for Troup, which went 12-2 and reached the Class AAAA state semifinals where it lost to eventual state-champion Blessed Trinity.
Troup is hoping the 2019 season will get off to a similar start.
Troup will face Ridgeland in the season opener for the second straight season, but this game will be played at Callaway Stadium, with kickoff set for Friday at 7:30 p.m.
While this will be Troup’s first game, Ridgeland kicked things off with a 38-8 loss to Calhoun last week.
Also on Friday, the Lafayette Christian School and Unity Preparatory Academy of West Georgia teams will continue their seasons.
Lafayette Christian (1-1) will be at Sherwood Christian Academy in Albany, while Unity Prep will play Community Christian at Hendrix Stadium in Hogansville.
Callaway and LaGrange, who opened their seasons last week, are off this week, which means that Troup’s game will be the main event in the community.
“We like being front and center,” said Tanner Glisson, Troup’s fifth-year head coach. “We like that nobody else plays, and they can come see us play.”
As was the case a year ago, there will be some new players on the field, and some different coaches on the sideline.
Among the new coaches is defensive coordinator Mike Healy, and former quarterbacks coach Paul Brewer has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
With the Troup program in such a good place, and with the new indoor practice facility nearing its completion, Glisson was able to bring in the type of people he wanted.
“We were able to be picky,” Glisson said. “We were able to choose people that fit us, not just with Xs and Os, but in the school as teachers. It was a very thorough process. We are so blessed with this staff. This is the most tight-knit staff I’ve ever been a part of. It’s one of the best staffs I’ve ever been a part of.”
On the field, Troup is having to replace some key personnel on both sides of the ball, but there are plenty of gifted players returning, including all-state quarterback Kobe Hudson.
Also back on offense is running back Trey Williams, offensive-lineman Michael Irvin, and big-play wide receiver Mark-Anthony Dixon.
On a defense that flourished in the spring game against Newnan and the preseason game against Northside-Columbus, defensive lineman Andy Boykin and linebacker Devon Hill will lead the way.
The Tigers are hoping to continue the upward trend they’ve been on in recent years.
After going 1-9 in 2015, the Tigers have won 29 games the past three years, and they’ve improved their win total in each of those seasons.
Ridgeland, meanwhile, is under the direction of first-year head coach Kip Klein, who takes over a program that has been on a nice run. Klein, a long-time assistant coach who has been a part of the football program since 1993.