Troup ready for rivalry game

Published 1:18 am Friday, October 18, 2019


Daily News

Football games, it’s been said, are oftentimes won on the line of scrimmage.

If that is indeed the case, then the Troup Tigers should be in fine shape heading into Friday’s cross-town showdown against the LaGrange Grangers.

Troup has some gifted players on the offensive and defensive lines, including a pair of seniors who are no strangers to this rivalry.

Andy Boykin, who has seen the rivalry from both sides since he played at LaGrange as a freshman before transferring to Troup, is a force on the defensive line.

Michael Irvin, meanwhile, is the only senior on an offensive line that has helped Troup put up big offensive numbers the past few seasons.

While Irvin and Boykin have plenty of football left to be played this season, this will be their final opportunity to be a part of the Troup vs. LaGrange rivalry.

While the action during the game will no doubt be intense, Boykin said there won’t be any hard feelings after the clock hits zero.

“All of us our brothers because we grew up together,” Boykin said. “We just want to see everybody succeed.”

When Irvin is on the field, he’ll be doing his best to plant the man he’s blocking on his back, but when the game is  done he’ll shake his opponent’s hand and wish him well.

“It’s all about sportsmanship at the end of the day,” Irvin said. “We all have to live in this world together.”

Troup (4-2 overall), which hasn’t played since a 44-7 loss to Sandy Creek on Oct. 4, brings a 1-1 Region 5-AAAA record into the game.

The Sandy Creek game was a tough one for Troup, but Irvin believes that every game, no matter the result, helps the team.

“As the season got on, winning those tough games, or losing those games, it just made us come together a little bit more,” Irvin said.

Irvin is confident the Tigers will be a better team moving forward.

“The first six games, we weren’t at our potential,” Irvin said. “I don’t think we’ve played a complete game. We can start off games better. We can finish games a little bit better. I feel like the best of Troup football has yet to come.”

Irvin is part of an offense that, despite being held to seven points by Sandy Creek, has been getting the job done.

The Tigers have scored 45 or more points in four of their six games, and an effective offensive line is a big reason why.

Senior running back Trey Williams has run for nearly 800 yards while scoring eight touchdowns, and senior quarterback Kobe Hudson has more than 1,500 combined yards running and passing.

“The difference I see between this year and last year, the offensive line is more athletic,” Irvin said. “We can move a little bit better than we did last year.”

Boykin is an experienced player on a defensive line with a lot of new pieces this season, and he has enjoyed watching his teammates develop.

A few years ago Boykin was the young guy who was learning the ropes, trying to become a consistent and effective player on Friday nights.

Now, Boykin is the veteran on defense, the man who has seen it all and a little bit more on game nights.

“I’ve enjoyed watching all those guys grow, because I know I grew from a defensive-lineman standpoint,” Boykin said. “I just try to teach them as much as I can, because I don’t want them to go out there and feel they’re not as good as anyone. I want them to play with confidence.”

Boykin believes one of the best ways for the defense to prepare is going up against Troup’s high-powered offense.

The Tigers were off last week, so the defense has had plenty of time to work against that explosive offense and get ready for the regular season’s home stretch.

“Going against this offense, it gets you better,” Boykin said. “Everybody always says the best competition is yourself. Going against the offensive line, and going against those receivers and running backs, it just got us a lot better, a lot more physical, and mentally tougher.”

Troup has had its defensive struggles this season, most notably in losses to Callaway and Sandy Creek when it gave up a combined 99 points.

Boykin figures it’s just a matter of the new-comers on defense settling into their roles.

“They lacked a little bit of confidence,” Boykin said. “We just had to get that confidence up, and now they’re playing great.”

Troup has four regular-season games remaining, all against region opponents.

The Tigers are trying to secure one of Region 5-AAAA’s four state-playoff berths, while hopefully finishing first or second which would guarantee a home game in the state playoffs.

A year ago this time the Tigers were 6-0 and 2-0 in the region, and they went on to win 12 games and reach the state semifinals.

While it’s been a bit more of a struggle for this year’s team, Irvin likes where the Tigers stand.

“We’re getting more aggressive, and feeling better,” Irvin said. “This point of the season last year, we were starting to get hurt and nicked up. This year, we don’t have that many (injuries). We’re coming into this game kind of fresh.”

Tanner Glisson, Troup’s fifth-year head coach, shares Irvin’s sentiment that the Tigers haven’t yet realized their full potential.

“We feel like our best football is still ahead of us,” Glisson said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve got to keep getting better at, but we feel like we’ve done some things to help us, so we’ll see.”


WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: Troup (4-2 overall, 1-1 in Region 5-AAAA); : LaGrange (2-4 overall, 0-3 in Region 5-AAAA)

LAST YEAR: Troup beat LaGrange 35-14