Two touchdowns from Dixon, clutch interception from Smith power Troup past Cairo

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, November 11, 2023

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Guts. That is what it took from Troup as the Tigers edged out Cairo 14-10 on the road in the first round of the AAAA state playoffs on Saturday

“That’s three times in the last five years that we have played them in the playoffs, and it has been good every time,” Troup coach Tanner Glisson said. “It was a gutsy performance by everyone involved. Any time you come down to south Georgia to play a team like Cairo, you know it is going to be tough because they love football down here.”

The Tigers had their backs against the wall as the Syrupmakers threw the kitchen sink at them late in the game. 

Trailing 14-10, Cairo drove right down the field and was poised to take the lead with a little over eight minutes to go when Jayland Reed came down in the end zone with a massive interception.

History would repeat its left as the Syrupmakers drove down inside the Troup 15-yard line with under two minutes left in the game and once again looked poised to take their first lead of the game to be halted by a Tyreon Smith interception that all but sealed the game.

“Those guys came up huge when we needed them to,” Glisson said with a chuckle. “Those guys made interceptions in the end zone. Those were such huge plays for us.” 

Cairo had all three timeouts left, but a strong physical 50-yard run from senior Noah Dixon truly iced the game. Dixon had another huge showing, including both touchdowns for the Tigers.

“He is absolutely unbelievable,” Glisson said. “There was a moment in the game when he ran, and he looked to see where the first down marker was as he drug two or three guys for the first down. He has the heart of a champion.”

The first quarter was a defensive slugfest as neither team got much going. Troup eventually got in the red zone with under two minutes to go in the first quarter and proceeded to find the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run from Dixon with 11:23 left in the first half.

It was a crucial drive for the Tigers as they picked up two fourth-down conversions to keep the drive alive.

“We figure if we can get fourth down and a yard or fourth down and half a yard then we feel like we can pick that up,” Glisson said. “We also had one in the second half that we didn’t pick up, and it left our defense in a tough spot, but they stepped up.”

It looked like the Syrupmakers would tie the game on the following possession, but a dropped touchdown pass from a wide-open receiver eventually led to a turnover on downs at the Troup 14-yard line.

Troup doubled its lead just before the half when Logan Sinkfield uncorked a deep pass to Dixon, who put the defender on a poster before waltzing into the end zone.

The third quarter did not go Troup’s way as Cairo clawed its way back into the game, eventually cutting the deficit to 14-10 heading to the fourth, but Troup’s defense held strong from there.

Starting quarterback Logan Sinkfield exited the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. Sophomore Garrison Edwards had to step in as the quarterback for the final few possessions as the Tigers were without the top two quarterbacks to start the season — Sinkfield and Taeo Todd.

“We practice [Garrison] really, really hard for these types of situations,” Glisson said. “He did a good job of coming in and keeping his composure and handling the clock.”

Glisson did not know the status of Sinkfield going forward as he will get evaluated further in the coming days.

Troup will travel to take on Spalding in the second round of the state playoffs next Friday.