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Key games ahead for Tigers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They know what they have to do.

With Tuesday’s 2-1 road loss to Spencer, the Troup Tigers have to win their final two Region 2-AAAA games to earn one of the region’s four spots in the state soccer playoffs.

After Troup returns from next week’s spring break, it will host Hardaway on April 7 before closing out region play against Kendrick.

The Hardaway game will be a critical one between two teams that can finish as high as third in the region, or can miss out on the playoffs entirely.

The region’s top four teams will qualify for state.

“It is a play-in game,” said Troup head coach Eddie Lawson. “If Hardaway wins, they’re in, and they’re third. If we win, and we beat Kendrick, we’re third. If we lose (to Hardaway), we’re out.”

It has been a busy week for Troup.

After beating Valley 5-3 on Monday, Troup traveled to Columbus on Tuesday and loss to Spencer 2-1, with Bryan Villatoro scoring his team’s lone goal.

In the Valley game, Nolan Barton scored three goals for Troup, and Banneker Johnson and Bernny Velasquez had one goal apiece.

Troup was back home on Wednesday, and it was trailing Northside-Columbus 1-0 early in the second half when the game was called because of weather concerns.

“We played well,” Lawson said. “We play our game, and it showed, and we’re starting to get well again. We’re getting some people back. We didn’t play well at Spencer, but we played well tonight. They looked like they were having fun.”

Following the break, Troup hosts Harris County on March 5 before taking on Hardaway two days later.

“It’s a playoff game, and it’s something to look forward to,” Lawson said of the Hardaway game.