Tigers get back to work
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers were rolling.
After holding off a late charge from Shaw, Troup had won four consecutive games to move above .500 for the first time this season, and it had a 4-1 record against region opponents.
Troup was looking ahead to a showdown with unbeaten Carver, and that’s when everything came to a halt.
Because so many of the players were under a mandated two-week quarantine because of exposure to someone with Covid-19, the decision was made to not only postpone the game with Carver, but to suspend all football activities for the week.
That moratorium on football activities ended on Monday as the Troup players and coaches got together for the first time in more than a week, although a handful of players are still unavailable.
The Tigers are preparing for a busy closing stretch that will include three games in eight days beginning with a showdown against LaGrange on Nov. 13.
Taking a week off during the home stretch of the season isn’t optimal, but the Tigers will make the best of the situation.
“The weird thing is taking a whole week off and not doing anything,” said Troup head coach Tanner Glisson. “So it’s not just you can’t play a game, it’s you can’t play a game, and you can’t practice. We’re starting to get back into the facility, but we still have 14, 15 guys out, and they’re going to go 14 days without (practicing). I don’t know if I have the answer for it. We’ll kind of see where we are condition-wise. We spent (Monday) doing a lot of fundamentals, a lot of special teams, to make sure we don’t get behind on certain things like long-snapping and punting, and those kind of things that’ll get you beat.”
By the time Troup takes the field against rival LaGrange, it will have gone three weeks without a game.
Troup then plays three games during an eight-game span because of the way the schedule was re-done following the postponement of the Carver game.
After the LaGrange game, Troup will be in Columbus four days later on Nov. 17 to play the Jordan Red Jackets.
Troup closes the regular season with a road game against Carver on Nov. 21, a Saturday.
If Troup makes the playoffs, it would likely have another game in six days after facing Carver.
“Obviously this is a first,” Glisson said. “We’re just going to try to handle it the best we can. Hopefully some of our depth will pay off, but we’ll see how it goes.”
This was a scheduled off week for Troup, and the normal schedule had to be re-worked.
“Guys were real excited. They showed up early ready to go,” Glisson said. “On a side note, this was our built-in bye week, but typically on a bye week, you come in and do some fundamental stuff, but then you go ahead and try to get a leg-up game-plan wise on your next opponent, and try to give them something they haven’t really seen or whatever. It’s really impossible to do that at this point, because you’re not going to get most of your guys back until Monday. And so that’s just where we are right now.”
Troup opened the season with three consecutive losses, including a 28-26 setback to Hardaway in its Region 2-AAAA opener.
Beginning with a 42-0 win over Spencer, Troup went on a four-game winning streak that culminated with a hard-earned 16-12 home win over Shaw.
With a 4-1 region record, Troup is tied for third place with LaGrange, and it still has a chance to finish first or second and earn a home game in the state playoffs. If Troup finishes third or fourth in the region, it will be on the road for the first round of the playoffs.
While the Tigers clearly would have preferred to keep the original schedule, Glisson is just grateful that season is continuing.
“We’re thankful to be able to play,” Glisson said. “We hate it for the kids that can’t be here. You put a lot of hard work into it, and then somebody tells you that you can’t be around your teammates for 14 days. I think it’s hard on them for us to be going about our business and they can’t be here.”
Glisson is also extremely appreciative that no one on the team has had any serious health issues because of the Coronavirus.
“We’re thankful for that,” Glisson said. “Everybody that we’ve had in our program that came into contact with the virus has responded really well in two or three days and been over it. We’re very fortunate.”