Freshman QB has big night for Tigers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
He was running free against a Spencer defense that had no answers.
In his fourth career start, Troup freshman quarterback Taeo Todd delivered an epic performance against Spencer in last week’s 42-0 victory at Callaway Stadium.
Todd ran for 270 yards on 14 attempts, and he also completed a pair of passes for 75 yards to Marquavious Kelley as Troup rolled to its first win of the season.
The only thing that stopped the Tigers were four first-half turnovers, but when they held on to the ball, they moved the ball up and down the field with ease.
It was an important win for the Tigers (1-3 overall), who won their first game of the season while evening their Region 2-AAAA record at 1-1.
Todd has taken nearly every snap at quarterback this season, and while there have predictably been some growing pains considering he’s a freshman playing arguably the most challenging position on the field, head coach Tanner Glisson is happy with the way he’s grown into the role.
“He’s tough,” Glisson said. “We’ve said it all along that when he gets his feet wet, he’s going to be a good one.”
The Tigers finished the game with nearly 700 yards of offense, and most of that came on the ground.
Navontae Moss ran for more than 100 yards, and Anthony Ferguson and AJ Tucker both had close to 100 yards.
While Moss and Ferguson are seniors, Tucker is a sophomore, and he is developing into a go-to player on offense.
“The good thing is, we’ve got (Tucker) and Taeo for the next three years, and that’s going to be fun to watch those guys develop,” Glisson said.
Ferguson transferred from Manchester in the offseason, and while he has shown plenty of explosiveness and had a 97-yard touchdown run against Troup, he’s still learning the ropes at his new school.
“Anthony Ferguson is a senior, but he’s new to us,” Glisson said. “He’s new to the offense. We had no spring practice, no scrimmage. In a lot of ways, he’s kind of like a freshman learning what we do. He had a really good game against Harris County, but he’s kind of struggled in some areas since. So, he’ll start getting the hang of it and he’ll keep getting better and better.”
Another offensive standout last week was junior tight end Jake Lane, who didn’t have any catches but was nonetheless a key player because of his blocking.
“You’ve got maybe the MVP of the offense Jake Lane, our tight end, F guy,” Glisson said. “A lot of our blocking assignments go through him. He’s a first-year starter, and a junior who has never really played much. I’m real proud of him and his effort.”
On defense, senior linebacker Zy Varner led the way with nine tackles, including two for loss, and he had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
While Varner began the season playing a lot on offense at wide receiver, he is now being used solely on offense.
“Zy Varner, we’ve taken him away from offense,” Glisson said. “We’re not running him as much up and down the field. He’s got a little more hop in his step because he’s not getting drained as much.”
Defensive lineman Jordan Adams had eight tackles with a sack, and Tay Shells had four tackles with three for loss, and he had a sack and a forced fumble.
Defensive lineman Qua Birdsong, who has been a breakthrough player as a freshman, had four tackles with two for loss, and defensive back Jace Godwin had three tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble.
As is the case on offense, some of the key defensive players are just getting their first taste of varsity football.
Birdsong, safety Qua Moss, and linebacker Jacob Bailey have each made rapid moves up the depth chart.
“We’ve got three guys starting for us right now that started the month of August on the scout team,” Glisson said. “You’re taking about a sophomore, a freshman, and a sophomore.”
Troup will look to get on a winning streak with a road win over Columbus on Thursday, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Kinnett Stadium.