Troup rolls in season opener
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers shrugged off a slow start to dismantle Ridgeland 59-24 on Friday night in their season opener at Callaway Stadium.
The Tigers were trailing 7-0 when they scored their first touchdown in the closing moments of the first quarter, and they didn’t look back.
With senior quarterback Kobe Hudson leading the way with a remarkable night, Troup scored seven offensive touchdowns and also got a kick return for a score by Trey Williams.
Hudson, an all-state player last season, had three touchdown passes and three scoring runs.
Williams had a scoring run in addition to his kick return for a touchdown, and Troup also scored two points on a safety late in the game.
The game was still somewhat in doubt early in the fourth quarter when Ridgeland kicked a field goal to get within 12, but Troup scored the final 23 points to win going away.
While happy to see his team open with a win, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson is hopeful the execution will improve as the season goes along.
Next up for Troup is Thursday’s road game against the Columbus Blue Devils.
“We were just not crisp,” Glisson said. “They came out in some stuff we had not seen. We thought they were going to be in spread, and they came out in two tights and tried to keep the ball away and milk the clock.”
Glisson added that “we came out and the stadium was dead, we were dead, and had a hard time getting a foothold. And then we had some big penalties. We had three touchdowns called back. You just can’t shoot yourself in the foot like that and get momentum. So lucky for us we’re talented enough to overcome that, but we won’t do that for long. We’ve got to get much better.”
It helped that Troup had Hudson on its side.
Hudson, showing off the form that allowed him to amass nearly 5,000 combined yards rushing and passing last season, was in on six scoring plays against Ridgeland.
Hudson threw touchdown passes of 44 and 37 yards to Mark-Anthony Dixon, and he tossed an 80-yard scoring strike to Zy Varner.
Hudson also had touchdown runs in the second half covering 10, 55 and 12 yards.
One of Hudson’s most impressive plays came late in the game with Troup trying to put Ridgeland away.
Hudson dropped back to pass and was under duress, and after changing directions a couple of times he threw a 39-yard strike to Varner for a completion.
Four plays later, Hudson’s 12-yard keeper and the Isaac Andrews extra point gave Troup a 50-24 lead.
Varner knows that with a quarterback of Hudson’s ability a play is never over.
“We know how our quarterback plays,” Varner said. “He can scramble, and he can throw it. That’s what he’s capable of doing.”
Early on, Ridgeland had the momentum.
The Panthers scored on their opening possession, with Jordan Blackwell tossing a 40-yard scoring pass to Torrance Roberts on a trick play.
Troup’s first possession ended with a failed fake-punt attempt, but Ridgeland was unable to take advantage of that break.
Jabralin Gooden recovered a fumble to give the ball back to Troup at its own 20-yard line.
It took the Tigers one play to put their first points on the scoreboard.
Varner, lined up on the right side of the field, took off in a straight line and caught a short pass from Hudson, and he outraced the Ridgeland defense for an 80-yard touchdown with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
Isaac Andrews made the first of his seven extra points, and the score was deadlocked at 7-7.
Following a Ridgeland three-and-out, Troup went 89 yards for another touchdown, with Hudson connecting with Dixon for a 37-yard score.
Williams ran in the two-point conversion attempt, and Troup led 15-7 with 7:42 left in the first half.
Ridgeland, showing off its own big-play ability, got a kickoff return for a touchdown by Terrance Roberts, and Troup’s lead was down to 15-13.
Back came the Tigers, who went 80 yards for another score, with Hudson tossing a 44-yard touchdown pass to Dixon.
Andrews converted the extra point to give Troup a 22-13 lead, and that was the score at the half.
The Tigers got the ball first in the second half, and they went 80 yards for a touchdown to add to their lead, with Hudson finishing things off with a 10-yard scoring run.
Ridgeland didn’t go away.
When Jordan Blackwell raced 36 yards for a touchdown with 1:56 left in the third quarter, Troup’s lead was down to 29-21.
Troup responded with yet another touchdown, going 61 yards for the score.
Williams capped the drive with a 26-yard scoring run down the left sideline, and Troup was ahead 36-21 with 11:24 left in the game.
Ridgeland got a field goal with 8:48 to play, trimming Troup’s lead to 36-24.
Once again the Tigers answered a Panthers’ score with points of their own.
Hudson capped an 80-yard drive with a 55-yard touchdown run, and Troup was ahead 43-24 with 7:18 remaining.
The Tigers continued to pour it on when they got the ball back, going 71 yards for the touchdown.
After Hudson made his highlight-reel play that ended with a 39-yard completion to Varner, the quarterback raced into the end zone from 12 yards out to make it a 50-24 game.
Moments later Ridgeland’s quarterback recovered a fumble in the end zone for a safety, and Troup led 52-24.
On the ensuing free kick, Williams weaved in and out for a 65-yard touchdown, and the Andrews extra point capped the scoring.
OF NOTE: For more photos, check out Facebook.com/LDNSports