Everything starts somewhere.
Don’t the Tigers know it? Of course they do.
Troup High School got a first quarter punt block and a return of eight yards from junior play maker Macenta Stafford. He did the punt blocking and the scoring on special teams with 8:04 left in the first period in the Troup-Chapel Hill football game on Friday night.
“My coaches told me I was going to block one. I had never blocked a punt before, but I got free,” said Stafford, who scored the first touchdown of the game.
The Panthers never laid a hand on Stafford. And the rest was homecoming history for the Troup Tigers as they mauled Chapel Hill, 42-21 at Callaway Stadium. Stafford ignited Troup High, and the Tigers were never behind all night.
“We got the momentum, and we got the crowd into the game,” said Stafford.
Chapel Hill did tie the game at 7-7 on a 74-yard quarterback keeper from senior Jadon Walker at the 6:35 mark of the opening quarter. Walker, who is being recruited by Army, Navy and Air Force, was at his flashy best in this game with 103 yards rushing on 15 carries.
The Panther signal caller also completed 18 of 37 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jadon has good feet, and he throws a nice football,” said Panthers head football coach Justin DeShon.
Walker loosened up the Troup defensive secondary with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Chapel Hill sophomore fullback Kevin Burton with 2:29 left in the third period. The Panthers were still within striking distance, trailing just 28-14.
But the Tigers put this Region 5-AAAA game out of reach later in the third period as Troup linebacker Kevin Martin literally stole the ball from Walker. It went down as a fumble recovery for a touchdown for Martin, the sophomore. Martin scored with 8.2 seconds left to give the Tigers an insurmountable 35-14 lead.
Even with a Walker 66yard touchdown pass to Panther senior Datren Bray in the fourth quarter, the game was still out of reach for Chapel Hill. The Troup defense made some plays of its very own as well with a pair of huge quarterback sacks from Tiger sophomore Jacorious Willis (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) in the second half.
“We saw some weak links. We got going, and we’re still hungry. It wasn’t always pretty, but it is mighty nice to be 4-1,” said Troup High head coach Tanner Glisson.
The Tigers are also off to a 1-0 start in region play. Chapel Hill is 0-1 in the region, and the Panthers are 2-2-1 overall. The last touchdown of the homecoming game for Troup High came from junior halfback Jackson Davis on a 36-yard scamper with 1:51 left in the fourth period.
Davis finished with 85 yards on six carries. Senior Camren Russell got some carries and some action as well for Troup High with 12 totes for 45 yards and one touchdown.
The Tigers also got some tough yardage from junior quarterback Montez Crowe with 10 carries for 30 yards and two touchdowns. Crowe went to the air as well, completing 7 of 15 passes. Troup High had 211 yards on the night with 163 rushing and 48 yards passing.
The Panthers pushed some offensive buttons, too, with 126 yards rushing and 166 yards passing. Chapel Hill, the boys from Metro Atlanta, had a total of 292 yards on this football Friday night at Callaway Stadium.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer