‘That’s the Tim Tebow jump pass’: Troup uses special red zone play, stellar D to top Callaway

Published 11:37 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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A defensive slugfest broke out at Callaway Stadium on Friday as Troup and Callaway locked horns. It was the Tigers coming out on top 23-14, but it was a victory that they had to dig deep to earn. 

“It was a really good game,” Troup coach Tanner Glisson said. “I hope the fans enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Troup came out on top in large part to do with the versatility of Qua Moss. He had a couple of big catches, but it was his kickoff return for touchdown just after Callaway took their only lead of the game that electrified the stadium. 

“I just saw an open field so I took off,” Moss said. “I know nobody is going to catch me.”

Moss was outstanding on offense and special teams and also provided lock down coverage from his cornerback spot. 

“They kept talking to me and telling me I was going to get caught so I had to talk back and show them what I’m about,” Moss said. 

It was a tough loss for Callaway, but the Cavaliers were in the game until a late fourth quarter touchdown by the Tigers.

“I think our kids played hard,” Callaway coach Pete Wiggins said. “We just turned the ball over too much and gave them too many free possessions.”

Troup took the opening drive down inside the Cavaliers red zone, but the stingy defense of Callaway stopped the Tigers in their tracks and forced a field goal that first year kicker Chris Moore nailed from 34 yards out. 

“It was huge,” Glisson said. “It really got us going.”

The Cavaliers answered in the second quarter with a strong drive that ended with a touchdown run by quarterback DeShun Coleman. Coleman took it in for a touchdown on a bootleg play with 5:27 left to go in the first half. Moss took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown as the Cavaliers lead lasted less than 10 seconds. A two point conversion attempt was no good to give Troup a 9-7 lead. 

“Qua Moss is a great football player,” Glisson said. “We’re excited about having him on our football team.”

The game was locked in a stalemate until Taeo Todd hit Qua Birdsong on a jump pass to make it 16-7 Troup with 15 seconds to go in the first half. 

After the break, the Cavaliers took their second possession of the half 90 yards for a touchdown with two fourth down conversions on the drive including Jordan King rattling off a touchdown from 35 yards out on a fourth and four. King and Quay Whitfield feasted on the drive as the two provided a 1-2 punch at running back and were the spark for Callaway’s offense.  

“I like their physicality and want to,” Wiggins said. “I think our offensive line did a great job at times. There are things to build on no doubt.”

The touchdown trimmed the Troup lead to 16-14 and the Cavaliers had life. The Cavaliers were given more life when Todd fumbled the ball at the inch line with 9:27 left to go in the fourth quarter, and Koryon Hoard pounced on the ball for Callaway in the endzone to give the Cavaliers possession at the 20 yard line. Todd carved up his opponents with ease in the first two weeks but was challenged tonight and he responded.

“He responded really well, and he’s a tough kid,” Glisson said. “I never doubt how he is going to respond to adversity. He’s a winner.”

The Cavaliers offense stalled when Qua Birdsong blew up a third down play for a tackle for a loss. 

“Defense played lights out,” Glisson said. “We are a little small on defense, so they were able to lean on us at times, but our guys fought their butts off and so did Callaway. It was a good game.”

The Tigers got the touchdown that put the game to bed on a Todd jump pass to Elijah Mathis. Mathis made a spectacular diving catch to real the ball in with one arm.

“That’s the Tim Tebow jump pass,” Glisson said. “We worked on that all week long.”

The Cavaliers will head back to the drawing board after an 0-3 start to the season. This is the first time Callaway has been winless through the first three weeks since 2005. Callaway will be back at Callaway Stadium next Friday to take on another rival in Heard County. 

“I think we’ve got to go back to work,” Wiggins said. “I like the character of our football team. So we just have to keep getting better.”

Troup starts the season 3-0 for the first time since 2019. The Tigers have three wins all over playoff teams from last season. Troup will have a bye week before returning to the gridiron on Thursday Sep. 15 in a region showdown with Whitewater in Callaway Stadium.

“We are glad to be 3-0, and we are fairly healthy,” Glisson said. “Our guys need a little down time, but we will be back to the drawing board next week.”