Rivalry week for Tigers, Grangers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers have had the upper-hand in their cross-town rivalry with the LaGrange Grangers in recent years, and they’re hoping to continue that trend.
Troup, which hasn’t played since it beat Shaw 16-12 on Oct. 23, will face LaGrange on Friday night at Callaway Stadium, and it’ll be a critical Region 2-AAAA game for both teams.
Troup (4-3 overall) is 4-1 in region play, and it still has an opportunity to claim the region title if it wins its final three games.
LaGrange (6-2 overall) is also in great shape in the region with a 5-1 record, and like Troup, it’s hopes of capturing the region championship are still very much alive with two regular-season games remaining.
The Tigers have won eight of the past 10 games in the series including four in a row, and they’ll look to extend that streak this week under sixth-year head coach Tanner Glisson.
Glisson has led Troup to four straight wins in the series after he lost to LaGrange in his first season at the school in 2015.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Glisson said on his weekly radio show. “Just looking over at the last five years going on my sixth year now, that was the first game ever that I coached at Troup was against LaGrange that first year. So after we lost that one, it wasn’t too much fun. So lucky for us, we’ve been able to win four in a row, but it gets harder and harder year after year, especially when they’re you’re rivals. They’ve been close. Even though we’ve won four in a row, it hasn’t been by that large of a margin, and they’ve always played us really, really tough. This may be the first year that we’re kind of the underdog.”
Both teams come into the game with plenty of momentum.
Troup, after opening with three straight losses, has won four consecutive games to put itself in position to make the state playoffs, and possibly finish first or second in the region.
For LaGrange, it has been a dramatic turnaround this season.
The Grangers won a combined six games from 2016 to 2019, and they’ve matched that win total this season alone, and they’ve qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2015.
After playing Troup this week, LaGrange closes the regular season against Hardaway, which is tied for first place in the region with Carver.
The Grangers haven’t had much to play for late in the season recently, so this is a nice change of pace.
“There’s a lot on the line with those two games,” said Matt Napier, LaGrange’s first-year head coach. “You want to play in games like that, and we’ve got to make sure we do everything we can to make sure we’re prepared to play.”
For Troup, the LaGrange game will be the start of a busy stretch to close the regular season with three games in eight days.
Troup’s game against Carver, which was originally going to be on Oct. 30, had to be postponed because of Covid-19 issues, and that game will be made up on Nov. 21.
Troup plays LaGrange on Friday, Jordan four days later on Nov. 17, and then Carver the following Saturday.
“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.”
LaGrange hasn’t had to adjust its schedule at all, and it has won six of its past seven games, including last week’s 38-7 victory over Spencer in Columbus.
With that win the Grangers were assured of finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2009 while also clinching a playoff spot.
LAGRANGE VS. TROUP
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: LaGrange (6-2 overall, 5-1 in Region 2-AAAA); Troup (4-3 overall, 4-1 in Region 2-AAAA)
ALL-TIME SERIES: LaGrange leads 20-12
LAST MEETING: Troup won 21-6 last season