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Massive game for Troup

By kevin eckleberry

Daily News

After playing in challenging conditions last week, the Troup Tigers will return to the friendly confines of Callaway Stadium this week.

In last week’s game, Troup played on a natural grass field at Cedartown, and by the time kickoff came around, conditions were difficult for both teams.

Because of the heavy rain that saturated the area, Cedartown’s field was mostly mud, and Troup was unable to get much going offensively on the way to a 15-8 loss.

It was a costly loss for the Tigers (5-3 overall), who fell to 2-2 in Region 5-AAAA.

The good news for the Tigers is that they’re still very much in the chase for one of the region’s four playoff spots, and they can take a big step toward securing a state berth with a home win over Central-Carroll on Friday.

Troup closes the regular season with a home game against Cartersville on Nov. 8.

There shouldn’t be any rain on Friday, and even if there is, the artificial turf of Callaway Stadium is a whole lot more forgiving when it comes to poor weather than a natural-grass field.

It’s a critical game for both teams.

Central-Carroll (3-5 overall) is 1-3 in the region, and it would remain in the playoff hunt with a victory over Troup.

After beating LaGrange 17-14 in its region opener, Central-Carroll has dropped its past three region games, but they’ve all been close.

After losing to unbeaten Cartersville 16-14, Central-Carroll fell to Cedartown 28-21 and Chapel Hill 35-27.

“They beat Heard County, and they were leading Cartersville with three minutes to go in the third and lost,” said Tanner Glisson, Troup’s head coach. “They were right there neck-and-neck with Chapel Hill, and they were right there neck-and-neck with Cedartown. Coach (Darius) Smiley, his guys do a great job. I think they’re still searching for that big signature win, and we don’t want it to be this week.”

While Troup couldn’t prevail on Cedartown’s water-logged field last week, there were some bright spots, most notably on the defensive side of the ball.

Troup made some significant changes to the defense during an off week following a loss to Sandy Creek, and those moves have paid dividends.

Troup was dominant defensively in a 21-6 win over LaGrange, and the story was much the same in the 15-8 loss to Cedartown.

While Cedartown did score two touchdowns, it began nearly every one of its possessions on Troup’s side of the field.

One of those possessions began at the Tigers’ 1-yard line, and the Bulldogs were unable to score.

“Defensively, we’re starting to click, we’re starting to get it,” Glisson said. “The changes that we made helped us, but I think the players that were already on defense, it gave them a shot in the arm. They saw that we shored up some things, so let’s ball. I think it gave them a little extra motivation. It made those guys better, and they have confidence.”

Offensively, Troup is looking for a breakout performance.

In their first four games of the season the Tigers scored 205 points, but they’ve been held to 57 points in their past four games.

“We go into LaGrange and the defense plays really well, and we muff a point, give up two onside kicks, so our offense is limited to six possessions. So the offense was frustrated,” Glisson said. “We put in all this work, think we’re improved, and don’t get to show it. Then we to Cedartown, and we know we’re improved, and it floods. So the offense is thinking, what else can we do? We’re ready. So it would be nice if we come out and play really well offensively on Friday.”

Kobe Hudson, Troup’s dynamic senior quarterback, scored Troup’s lone touchdown on a first-half scoring run, and the Trey Williams two-point conversion run gave the visiting team an 8-0 lead.

Cedartown led 9-8 at the half, and it added a fourth-quarter touchdown to cap the scoring.

It was a tough loss, but this time of the year there’s not much time for looking back, and Glisson doesn’t expect his players to have any trouble focusing on the task at hand.

“No matter what we’ve done over the years, we’ve always been one week at a time,” Glisson said. “This is where that really helps you. We’ve had two really good days of practice. Other than the region championship, we have no chance at that, but a lot of stuff is still in front of us, it’s still within our reach. The time is now. It’s mandatory Friday. It’s do-or-die, and it’ll be like that the rest of the way, so just get used to it.”

TROUP VS. CENTRAL-CARROLL

WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: Troup, 5-3, 2-2 in Region 5-AAAA; Central-Carroll, 3-5, 1-3 in Region 5-AAAA

LAST MEETING: Troup beat Central-Carroll 49-27 last season