All eyes will be on Troup-Callaway Friday night in latest edition of rivalry

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

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County bragging rights will be on the line Friday night when Callaway and Troup meet at Callaway Stadium for their annual rivalry.

Both teams enter off of close week one victories. Troup defeated Harris County 28-21, while Callaway beat Opelika in the final seconds 30-21.

“I think the reason that it’s a good rivalry is both programs have been pretty successful over the last few years,” said Troup coach Tanner Glisson. “Anytime you’ve got two good football teams, it makes it makes it interesting, and the amount of talent that both programs have put Division I and in college and that kind of thing is really impressive. So, you know, that makes it good for everybody that wants to see it.”

Callaway coach Pete Wiggins knows players from both sides will be ready to take the field Friday night.

“The players know one another, the families are close, the schools are not too far apart, so it presents itself as a big stage,” Wiggins said. “And that’s what you work for — all the preparation and practice in the weight room and camps — to get the opportunity to play a team like Troup in a big game on Friday night. That’s what it’s all about.”

Callaway has won the last two games in the rivalry and beat Troup 27-7 last year.

The Troup offense was firing on all cylinders on Friday against Harris County. The Tigers had more than 500 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Taeo Todd and a great performance by the offensive line.

“You can tell he’s a year older,” Glisson said of Todd. “I think he rushed for over 100 and passed for over 100 [yards], with zero turnovers, and that’s a big, big difference compared to last year.”

Troup did not have as much success on defense. Harris County was able to rally from an early touchdown deficit to tie the game two times in the second half.

“Defensively, we did not play well,” Glisson said. “We did against Heard County [in the scrimmage] — we ran around well, we were physical. A lot of that [from Harris County] falls on us coaches. We thought Harris County would come in and try to throw it all over the park.”

Instead, Harris County lined up and ran the ball right at the Tigers. Glisson said Troup has a lot of young guys on the defensive line — one senior, a bunch of sophomores and one freshman.

“Hopefully, that’s a place where we grow over the course of the season,” he said.

Callaway found itself in a back and forth battle with Opelika, relying on a game-winning kick from Blake Eubanks to win it.

“I think we saw some very positive things Friday night, the number one thing being pure effort,” Wiggins said.

“I thought our kids’ effort was really high. I thought the intensity for four quarters was where we needed it to be, so there’s always things to get better. And from execution and just making more plays but really proud of our kids’ effort Friday night against Opelika.”

Wiggins said quarterback Deshun Coleman, making his first start, was impressive.

“There’s a lot of weight on his shoulders at quarterback and for him to come in and lead the team like he did and have great composure in a big atmosphere down in Opelika was very special,” Wiggins said.

Glisson knows the reining 2A state champion Cavaliers will be a big test for his Tigers.

“Kudos to them, they don’t really rebuild, they just reload,” Glisson said. “A lot of it is plug and play. And what I mean by that is, they have a lot of guys who just step in and look like they have every year since I’ve been here. They have really good players, and they work really hard. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”

Wiggins knows the Tigers will again provide a great challenge as well.

“The offensive line is very physical. I think they’re well coached. Obviously, with their quarterback, he’s explosive and can extend plays both throwing and running the ball, so that’ll present problems and defensively, they run to the ball, they tackle well, they’re physical so it,” Wiggins said. “It will be a great test again.”

The game starts Friday night at 7:30 p.m.