Troup chasing playoff spot
Published 11:28 pm Thursday, October 24, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Nothing has come easily for the Troup Tigers against Cedartown.
They’ve played three times as Region 5-AAAA opponents since 2016, and every game has been down to the wire.
In 2016, Troup edged Cedartown 23-20 on the way to a second-place finish in the region.
Cedartown turned the tables in 2017, beating Troup 21-18, and it went on to finish second in the region.
It was another tight one in 2018, with Troup edging Cedartown 20-13, and that was part of a special season that ended with a loss in the state semifinals.
On Friday night in Cedartown those two region rivals will square off once again, and the stakes are high.
Troup and Cedartown are tied for second place in the region with 2-1 records, so a win would keep both teams in the hunt for homefield advantage in the state playoffs.
A loss, and Troup or Cedartown would find themselves scrambling just to secure one of the region’s four playoff spots.
“This is a huge game for us, and them,” said Tanner Glisson, Troup’s fifth-year head coach. “If we win this, we’re guaranteed no worse than third. So this is a big game. So we’ll see.”
Troup (5-2 overall) moved above .500 in the region with last week’s hard-fought 21-6 win over LaGrange.
The Tigers were clinging to an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter when they put it away on a touchdown pass from Kobe Hudson to Zy Varner.
That was one of two touchdown passes Hudson threw to Varner, and Trey Williams added a scoring run.
Williams ran for 124 yards with a touchdown, and Hudson completed 10-of-16 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns.
Troup’s new-look defense, which featured a handful of players getting a lot more time on the field, delivered a lock-down effort.
“I thought we were much better defensively last week, and I think we’re even better this week,” Glisson said. “We’ve had a good week of practice.”
Cedartown, meanwhile, has recovered nicely after losing star quarterback Taji Hudson to a season-ending injury in the opener against Ridgeland.
Cedartown (3-4 overall) has won three of its past four games, including a 28-21 win over Central-Carroll on Oct. 11.
It helps that Cedartown has future Clemson running back Kobe Pryor on its side.
Pryor is not only a running back with the ability to score from anywhere on the field, but he also makes an impact as a defensive lineman.
“The quarterback gets hurt in a rivalry game against Rockmart and he’s out for the year,” Glisson said. “It takes them a little while to figure out what they’re going to do. And now I feel like they’re playing their best football.”
Glisson doesn’t feel his team has yet played its best football, and he’s hopeful that’ll happen soon.
“We’ve beat some really solid teams, but we still have not put a complete game together, so that can be good and bad,” Glisson said. “It can be good that hey, once we do put it together, we’ll see what we look like. But it kind of worries you that this late in the season we have not played a complete game, so we’re trying to do some things to make that happen. You want to peak around this time of year, so hopefully we’re moving in that direction.”
If Troup beats Cedartown and Central-Carroll the next two weeks, it will play Cartersville for the region championship on Nov. 8 at Callaway Stadium.
If that does happen, it would be the fourth straight year Troup has headed into the Cartersville game with a chance to win the region title.
“If we were lucky enough to win this next two, then we’ve put ourselves back in a familiar role going into that game with only one region loss,” Glisson said.
TROUP VS. CEDARTOWN
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
RECORDS: Troup (5-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-AAAA); Cedartown (3-4 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-AAA)
LAST MEETING: Troup beat Cedartown 20-13 last year