Game day for Tigers

Published 1:49 am Thursday, September 12, 2019


Daily News

So far, so good for the Troup Tigers.

Coming off the best season in the history of the program, the Tigers have kept right on rolling this season, starting 2-0 with a pair of blowout wins.

After opening with a 59-24 victory over Ridgeland, Troup overwhelmed Columbus 68-13 last week.

Troup will look to keep the good times going when it hosts a talented Harris County squad on Thursday, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Troup went 12-2 last season and reached the Class AAAA state semifinals before losing to eventual state-champion Blessed Trinity.

While the Tigers figured to be a formidable squad again this year, they didn’t come into the season without question marks considering everyone they lost, including players and coaches.

Yet through the sprint game, a preseason game and two regular-season games, Troup has the look of a team very capable of competing for a state championship.

“You’re coming off losing 24 seniors and seven coaches,” said Tanner Glisson, who is in his fifth season as Troup’s head coach. “You play pretty well in the spring game, you play pretty well in the scrimmage, and we played OK in the first game (against Ridgeland) and won by 30, and we played pretty decent in the last game and scored 60. So for four games, this team is starting to catch its stride a little bit and getting some experience, and they’re accustomed to winning, and that’s always a big thing when you expect to win.”

Ridgeland and Columbus are both solid teams that won playoff games last season, but they were no match for Troup.

“Two of three years ago, they would have given us all they could handle,” Glisson said, indicating how far Troup’s program has come.

Today’s opponent is a capable Harris County team that is 2-1 after losing to Upson-Lee last week.

Harris County has an explosive offense led by two talented wide receivers, including former Troup Tiger Ja’Rell Smith.

Smith was a key member of Troup’s offense last season and he had a touchdown catch in the spring game, but he transferred to Harris County when the school year ended

Smith has 14 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in three games, and fellow wide receiver Tailique Williams has 12 receptions for 266 yards with five touchdowns.

The man throwing the passes to Williams and Smith is sophomore Cooper Corey, who has completed 31-of-51 passes for 466 yards and seven touchdowns.

Harris County will be tested by a Troup defense that gave up a couple of scores against Columbus but was dominant otherwise.

“They had two big plays. Other than that, I was very pleased with the way we played defensively,” Glisson said. “I think schematically we took a big step forward. Now, we’re going to get challenged a lot. Number four (Williams) and number 14 (Smith) are really, really good. We’ll have a hard time with those guys.”

Among Troup’s defensive standouts last week was freshman linebacker A.J. Tucker, who was in double digits in tackles.

Senior linebacker Jabralin Gooden had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, and Glisson felt corner back Sirr Morgan performed well.

“He’s really come along, and he’s really solidified the corner spot for us,” Glisson said of Morgan.

Offensively, it was more of the same for the Tigers, who have been impossible to stop so far.

Kobe Hudson completed 9-of-16 passes for 225 yards with five touchdowns, and the senior also ran for 57 yards on seven carries with a touchdown.

Zy Varner had two touchdown catches, and Mark-Anthony Dixon, Marquavious Kelley and Luke Purnell each had one scoring reception.

In the ground game, Trey Williams and Navantae Moss each had 148 yards with a touchdown, and backup quarterback Nick Schweizer had 51 rushing hards with a touchdown.

Leading the way was an offensive line that has performed superbly so far.

“I was so high on this offensive line coming in, and I think they’ve lived up to what I said,” Glisson said. “They’re a very athletic offensive line.”

Troup also had a solid game on special teams, with Isaac Andrews and Cole Partain making the extra points.

Andrews and Partain, along with Cody Bran and Nolan Barton, are sharing the kicking duties.

“They’re all sharing punting, kickoffs, and it’s a weekly competition,” Glisson said. “We’re trying to go with who has the hot hand.”

While Troup is seemingly scoring at will and the defense is playing well, Glisson wants to make sure the kicking game is up to par as well.

“I venture to say we play close to 30 on special teams,” Glisson said. “We want to make sure they feel it’s not an afterthought, because that is hugely important.”


WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: Troup (2-0); Harris County (2-1)

LAST MEETING: Troup beat Harris County 53-6 last season