Troup happy to help a neighbor
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was an easy decision for Troup High head football coach Tanner Glisson.
When Glisson was approached about moving Friday’s game against LaGrange to Saturday, he readily agreed, even if it meant his team would now have to play three games in eight days.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but it was postponed when LaGrange football player Trae Cole was killed in a car wreck Thursday night.
When Cole’s teammates overwhelmingly expressed their desire to play the game, different options were explored, and the consensus was that playing on Saturday was the only option.
For Troup, that’ll be the start of an incredibly busy stretch to close the regular season.
Following the LaGrange game, Troup has road games against Jordan on Tuesday and Carver on Saturday to conclude the regular season, so that’ll be a bunch of football in a short period of time.
Despite that, Glisson and everyone else at Troup had no qualms about doing whatever was needed to help a neighbor.
“You have to put all that aside and do what’s best for the people involved,” Glisson said. “There was no hesitation on our part at all.”
Troup hasn’t played since Oct. 23, so it’s been three weeks since the players were able to test themselves against another opponent.
The Tigers geared themselves up to play on Friday, and now they have to wait an extra day before ending their extended absence from competition.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” Glisson said. “As far as we’re concerned, I think the difficult part as a football team is, you build up to Friday night, so the buildup was on, and now you hit the brakes. You’ve got to find a way to build it back up.”
Beyond that aspect of it, Troup’s already compacted schedule to close the regular season is now even more condensed.
“I don’t know we’ll necessarily be affected too much (for the LaGrange game), but you start thinking about playing three games in a week’s time is going to wear on you,” Glisson said. “We’ll play at 6 p.m. (on Tuesday), and then at 1 p.m. that Saturday against Carver. You go from three weeks off, to three games in a week.”
Troup had to adjust its schedule because an earlier game against Carver was postponed because of Covid-19 issues.
Troup not only postponed its game with Carver, but it had to suspend football activities for a full week.
“There’s no manual for this, no blueprint,” Glisson said. “It’s never been done as far as I know. I know there are other teams going through this. The year itself is unlike any other.”
Troup comes into Saturday’s game on a hot streak.
After dropping its first three games of the season, Troup is on a four-game winning streak that included a 16-12 victory over Shaw.
Now, after three weeks, Troup will get a chance to possibly extend the winning streak to five.
“We’ve been practicing hard, working hard, so we’re ready to get back out there,” said senior running back Navontae Moss.
A key to Troup’s success has been the performance of quarterback Taeo Todd, who has thrived during his freshman season.
Todd is Troup’s leading rusher with close to 1,000 yards in seven games, and he has also grown more comfortable in the passing game as the season has gone along.
It helps that Todd is surrounded some talented play-makers including Moss, Anthony Ferguson and AJ Tucker at running back, and Marquavious Kelley, Navelle Dean and Buddy Wortham at wide receiver.
“We made that commitment with (Todd) in the summertime, and saw the great potential,” Glisson said. “We knew he’d hit some bumps in the road. We didn’t know if it’d be early, or midseason, but he’s really starting to play well. He’s gotten on a streak where he hasn’t turned it over in the four wins. So, that’s a big thing. We have a decent defense, so if we don’t turn the ball over, we can play with a lot of people.”
Troup’s defense will be put to the test against a LaGrange offense that’s putting up big numbers this season.
LaGrange is led by senior running back Kale Gibbs who has more than 1,200 yards, and sophomore quarterback Jaylan Brown has been getting it done in his first season as a starter.
“The Gibbs kid is a really good player,” Glisson said. “They design enough stuff to get him the ball and let him make plays. The quarterback is good on the spread option and doing things outside the pocket, and he hasn’t really turned it over, either.
WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: Troup (4-3 overall, 4-1 in Region 2-AAAA); LaGrange (6-2 overall, 5-1 in Region 2-AAAA)