Varner shines for Tigers
Published 4:31 pm Thursday, October 29, 2020
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Zy Varner continues to make plays for the Troup Tigers.
Varner, a senior linebacker, has been one of Troup’s top defensive players this season, and he made a major impact during last week’s 16-12 victory over Shaw.
Varner led the Tigers with 10 tackles including two for loss, and he also had a sack.
Varner came into the season expected to be a major contributor on both sides of the ball, but the decision was made by head coach Tanner Glisson to make him almost exclusively a defensive player, and that move is paying dividends.
Varner had a team-leading nine tackles with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a win over Spencer, and he returned an interception for a touchdown during a road win over Columbus.
Varner also led the way with nine tackles against Hardaway, and he had seven tackles against Callaway.
One of the newcomers to the defense, sophomore linebacker Jacob Bailey, continued to shine with nine tackles against Shaw.
Bailey began the season as a member of the scout team, but he has become one of the top players on the defensive side of the ball since moving into the lineup.
During a road win over Columbus on Oct. 8, Bailey returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Freshman defensive lineman Qua Birdsong, who has been making an impact since the season opener against Harris County, had seven tackles including three for loss with a sack against Shaw, and Naz Easter had six tackles.
COMING THROUGH: With Troup’s regular punter unable to go for the Shaw game, Cody Bray was asked to fill that role, something he hadn’t done this season.
Troup also had a different long snapper, with Jake Lane taking on that responsibility.
Late in the game with Troup nursing a two-point lead, Troup was forced to punt from deep in its own territory, putting a lot of pressure on Lane and Bray.
Fortunately for the Tigers, those two performed admirably.
The snap was on target, and Bray got off a punt of more than 40 yards, putting the ball on the Shaw 44-yard line.
The Raiders were unable to get anything going with less than a minute left, and the Tigers held on for a 16-14 victory to extend their winning streak to four games.
Bray also made a 22-yard field goal and an extra point to help the Tigers secure the key region win.
ANOTHER BIG GAME: Freshman quarterback Taeo Todd headlined a potent Troup rushing attack during the 16-14 win over Shaw.
Todd, who has started every game this season, ran for 148 yards on 21 attempts with a touchdown, and his longest carry was 30 yards.
Todd has more than 900 yards in seven games while averaging nearly 12 yards per carry, and he has a chance to reach 1,000 yards in Troup’s next game against LaGrange.
Todd has run for at least 100 yards in five of Troup’s seven games, and he amassed nearly 300 yards in a win over Spencer.
Todd has also thrown for nearly 700 yards with five touchdowns.
Anthony Ferguson added 64 yards on 10 attempts in the Shaw game, and Navontae Moss ran for 57 yards on 14 attempts.
AJ Tucker ran for 24 yards on five carries, and he scored a touchdown.
UP NEXT: Because Troup had to postpone its game against Carver this week because of Covid-19 issues, it will be faced with playing three games during an eight-day stretch to end the regular season.
Troup doesn’t play again until Nov. 13 when it takes on the rival LaGrange Grangers, and it turns around and plays at Jordan on Nov. 17 before closing the regular season at Carver on Nov. 21