Last go-around for Troup seniors
Published 12:09 pm Friday, November 15, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
He’s 100 percent and ready to roll.
During a game against LaGrange on Oct. 18, Troup quarterback Kobe Hudson injured his ankle, and his ability to scramble and get things done with his legs was severely impaired.
As Hudson showed last week during the regular-season finale against Cartersville, though, he’s running free once again.
Hudson, who ran for more than 1,000 yards last season, carried the ball 19 times against Cartersville for 168 yards, and that included a 30-yard touchdown run.
Hudson, who also threw two touchdown passes during the 45-35 loss to Cartersville, will lead his team against Blessed Trinity on Friday in the opening round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
“My ankle’s back to feeling good,” Hudson said before practice on Wednesday.
It’s a rematch of a semifinal game from last season, and Hudson is hoping to duplicate what he did a year ago.
Blessed Trinity won 51-35, but it had no answer for Hudson.
Hudson threw for 234 yards with three touchdowns, and he also ran for 204 yards with two touchdowns.
That game put the cap on a spectacular junior season for Hudson, who earned numerous post-season honors.
Hudson threw for 3,386 yards with 32 touchdowns, and he ran for 1,410 yards with 18 touchdowns.
Blessed Trinity (9-1) has won the past two state championships, so it’ll clearly be a massive challenge for Troup, but Hudson said “every game we go in believing we can win.”
It helps to have a player with Hudson’s game-changing ability.
Hudson began his high-school career as a wide receiver, and he had a touchdown catch in his debut game as a freshman.
Hudson went on to enjoy two massively successful seasons as a wide receiver before making the transition to quarterback last year.
All Hudson did was help Troup enjoy the best season in school history.
The Tigers went 12-2 and set a program record for wins in a season while reaching the state semifinals for the second time ever.
When the season ended the well-deserved honors came pouring in.
Hudson was named the Region 5-AAAA player of the year, as well as the Recruit Georgia Class AAAA player of the year.
The Tigers have been more of a running team this season so Hudson’s passing numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping this year, but he’s still getting it done.
Hudson, who didn’t play in one game this season, has thrown for 1,449 yards with 17 touchdowns, and he has 923 rushing yards on 100 attempts with seven touchdowns.
Hudson has also played extensively on defense, especially in the second half of the season after head coach Tanner Glisson made some personnel changes.
Hudson has 24 tackles, with four of them coming in last week’s game against Cartersville.
“I take pride in everything I do, every time I’m on the field, whether I’m punting the ball, playing defense or offense,” Hudson said.
Hudson is looking forward to his final playoff appearance as a high-school player.
“I’m really excited,” Hudson said. “This is my last year, so I’m trying to go in and do whatever I can do to get my team a state championship.”
Glisson, Troup’s fifth-year head coach, is glad to have Hudson on his side.
“He’s as good an athlete or a player as there is in the state, so we’re fortunate to have him,” Glisson said. “He’s done a lot for Troup High School. Hopefully he’s on top of his game Friday.”
Another senior leader for the Tigers is defensive lineman Jeremiah Holston, who has had an outstanding season.
Holston is second on the team and first among the defensive linemen with 95 tackles, including 28 tackles for loss.
Holston has 5.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hurries, and he also has two forced fumbles and a blocked punt.
Holston has at least seven tackles in every game, and he’s been in double digits in tackles in four of the past six games.
Holston finished the regular season with a 10-tackle performance against Cartersville, and he had 13 tackles against LaGrange and 12 tackles against Chapel Hill.
Holston, a 205-pound defensive end, is often under-sized compared to the men he’s facing on the offensive line, but that obviously hasn’t been a detriment.
“You have to be quick,” Holston said. “Big people don’t like to move, and I like to move.”
Holston and his defensive teammates will have their hands full on Friday against an explosive Blessed Trinity offense.
“The team’s mindset is to compete,” Holston said. “That’s the first thing. Just compete, and execute, and take it play by play.”
Troup’s defense, despite giving up 45 points to Cartersville last week, has performed well late in the season.
Troup was dominant defensively against LaGrange, Cedartown and Central-Carroll before the Cartersville game.
Holston believes having Hudson playing so much at defensive back has provided a boost to the defense.
“Kobe Hudson brings a lot of energy,” Holston said. “He’s really a leader on the field, and off the field. I really look up to him.”
Hudson and Holston are part of an accomplished senior class that has been a part of a lot of special moments.
The Tigers are 35-12 over the past four seasons, and this is their fourth straight trip to the state playoffs.
“This group went 8-3, and then they went 9-3, and then we went 12-2,” Glisson said. “So, it’s a really special group. Every group’s a little different, but hopefully these guys want to continue to keep playing and our hungry to get better.”
TROUP VS. BLESSED TRINITY
WHAT: First round of Class AAAA state playoffs
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Blessed Trinity (Roswell)
RECORDS: Troup (6-4 overall, 3-3 in Region 5-AAAA); Blessed Trinity (9-1 overall, 6-0 in Region 7-AAAA)