Late rally falls just short for the Tigers

Published 11:24 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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The Troup Tigers faced their toughest test yet on Friday night, falling to Starr’s Mill 20-18 after a late rally fell just short.

It was a sluggish start for the Tigers, who lost the game in the first half according to their head coach.

“We lost the game in the first half when we got so far behind early,” Tanner Glisson said. “We killed ourselves early with so many mistakes.”

The Panthers marched the opening possession down the field and scored a touchdown with less than two minutes off the clock. They then recovered an onside kick, which gave the team a ton of early momentum.

Tyreon Smith intercepted a pass on third down to insure the Panthers did not extend their lead, but Troup’s offense promptly fumbled the ball away on its second offensive snap of the game.

“We could never get any momentum,” Glisson said. “Any time we had a good play we would follow it with a bad play.

“We could never gain any momentum, and we did that to ourselves.”

Starr’s Mill added a touchdown on the ensuing drive to take a 14-0 lead.

Troup was able to gather some momentum late in the first quarter as the offense was able to drive the ball deep into Panther territory. The Tigers would have to end up settling for a 28-yard field goal by Mccarty Harrelson in the opening 90 seconds of the second quarter.

The Panthers extended its lead back to 14 points with a 33-yard field goal late in the first half that saw the Tigers in a 17-3 hole at halftime. 

The third quarter was a bit of a stalemate, but the Tigers did have a chance to cut into the deficit in the quarter. A long Ashton Williams run and a pass interference call set up the Tigers in the red zone on their opening possession of the second half.

Unfortunately, the Tigers came away with no points, just one of many miscues that Glisson believes lost them the game.

“You have to take care of the ball and come away with points because against this team you are going to have limited opportunities with the way they milk the clock,” Glisson said. 

Troup heads could have slumped when a trick play led to an interception 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers kept on fighting.

Trailing 20-3, Charles Davis recovered a fumble on defense with 6:45 left in the game that breathed new life into the Tiger sideline. 

A minute later senior quarterback Logan Sinkfield — who was filling in for injured superstar Taeo Todd — connected on a 40+ yard touchdown with Noah Dixon. A successful two-point conversion made it 20-11 Panthers,

The Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kick and eventually found the end zone on the drive as well when Williams dove across the goal line with 3:34 left in the game. 

Starr’s Mill was able to convert on a fourth and one to ice the game with just under 2:30 left on the clock.

“We dug ourselves into a big hole, and we were almost able to come out of it so maybe we can learn something from tonight,” Glisson said. “Our team fought really, really hard tonight. There are some good things to take from this game, but we fell into a big hole early and couldn’t get ourselves out of it.”

Troup (4-1) is now 1-1 in region play. Next week the Tigers will be on the road to a revived North Clayton next Friday in another pivotal region battle. 

The status of starting quarterback Todd is still a question mark heading into next week.

“We have to get it evaluated, and we will meet with the doctor on Monday and see what his status is,” Glisson said. 

Senior linebacker and running back Javari Fannin got banged up but played through it. The Tigers will also be monitoring his injury status next week.