Tigers find success on ground

Published 11:09 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Daily News

It’s not all about the big plays for the Troup Tigers.

While the Tigers have the ability to score from anywhere on the field with quarterback Kobe Hudson leading the way, they can also beat opposing defenses with a formidable ground attack.

It was the running game that led the way in last week’s 27-21 victory over Harris County.

While Hudson was efficient in the passing game, completing 11-of-15 passes with no interceptions and one touchdown, he only threw for 89 yards.

Troup did the bulk of its offensive damage on the ground, running for 276 yards on 39 attempts, with Hudson and Williams both running for more than 100 yards.

Williams was the workhorse with 121 yards on 23 attempts, and he scored two touchdowns.

Hudson ran the ball 11 times for 114 yards, good for an average of 10.4 yards per attempt.

Navantae Moss had 28 yards on three carries, while senior Carlos Cato had two rushing attempts for 13 yards.

Through three games, Troup’s ground game has been unstoppable.

The Tigers have run for 1,157 yards, and they’re averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt.

Williams has 60 carries for 479 yards with four touchdowns, and Hudson has 32 rushing attempts for 411 yards with four touchdowns.

Moss has contributed 188 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown.

While it no doubt helps to have some gifted players carrying the ball, it all starts on the line of scrimmage.

Coming into the season, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson felt the offensive line was going to be a strength of the team.

Even though Troup lost some key offensive linemen from last year’s team, as well as position coach Phillip Manning who was replaced by Connor McNamee, Glisson had absolute confidence in the ability of the returning players to get the job done.

“I’ve never had an offensive line as good as this one,” Glisson said. “They’re gritty, they’re smart, they’re athletic. They just get it. They love playing football.”

Against Harris County, the starting unit on the offensive line included Michael Irvin, Braxton Truitt, Will Cooley, Tyler Kitchens and Royce White, and Caleb Leslie also saw significant playing time.

In the previous game against Columbus, with Cooley unable to play, Zack Smith started on the offensive line and helped Troup run for 419 yards.

“Royce White, Cooley and those guys, they’re like kids in a candy story when it comes to playing football, and that’s good,” Glisson said. “They bring a lot of energy. It’s the best one I’ve had in 20 yards. They’re legit.”

MAKING PLAYS: Senior tight end Luke Purnell figured to be an integral part of the offense this season, and through three games, he has been.

Purnell leads the Tigers with nine catches for 120 yards, and he has scored touchdowns in two straight games.

In the Harris County game, Troup was down 7-0 when Purnell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter.

Troup’s second-leading receiver is running back Trey Williams, who has seven catches for 57 yards.

Zy Varner and Mark-Anthony Dixon have provided the big plays in the passing game.

Varner has six catches for 235 yards with three touchdowns, and Dixon has six receptions for 157 yards with three touchdowns.

Marquarious Kelley has also made an impact with five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.

FIRST CLOSE CALL: Last week against Harris County, the Tigers found themselves in a close game for the first time this season, and they passed that test with flying colors.

After beating Ridgeland 59-24 and Columbus 68-13, Troup was pushed to the limit by Harris County.

The outcome wasn’t decided until Jabralin Gooden picked off a pass with less than a minute left, putting the finishing touches on the 27-21 victory.

“You learn something about your team when you go through trials like this,” Glisson said. “So that was good. Just showing some character through adversity was good.”



WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: Troup (3-0); Callaway (2-1)

LAST MEETING: Troup beat Callaway 37-20 last  year