They freely admit they didn’t have their “A” game.
But what the 4th-ranked Tigers did have was their “B” game, and it was a viable substitute. Troup High still unleashed a barrage of second half points en route to a 38-0 shutout of arch-rival LaGrange High on Friday night in a Region 5-AAAA football tussle at Callaway Stadium.
Troup High outscored the Grangers, 31-0 in the last two quarters of the game. LaGrange High still made the Tigers work hard for the win. And the Grangers did give the Tigers some anxious moments along the way.
“We knew LaGrange would come out fighting. They have my respect. We felt some pressure, but we executed (at the opportune times),” said Troup High junior running back Tyree Carlisle.
The Tigers did some squirming and some worrying. Troup High had a mere 7-0 lead at halftime. The only touchdown in the first half was scored on a 75-yard interception return by Tiger sophomore cornerback Kobe Hudson. Troup High senior place kicker Carson Wreyford missed a 41-yard field goal try with 2:43 left in the second period. But the Tigers did stop a lengthy Granger offensive drive late in the first half. The final seconds in the second quarter evaporated as LaGrange High had the ball in scoring range at the Tiger 18 yard line.
Coach Tanner Glisson and Troup High were lucky and good as the first half came to a close. The Tigers were thankful they had the lead. The Grangers moved the ball on the ground and through the air in the first half. But they had no points to show for their effort and their eight first downs in the first half.
“We were upbeat, and we were executing. We were grinding,” said La-Grange High sophomore quarterback Charles Crawford.
The Grangers were going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the state, and the close score did come as a shock to thousands of fans at Callaway Stadium. There were more than 4,000 fans on the premises – in the bleachers, along the fences and on the crowded sidelines.
And there was one concerned coach, Glisson, of the Troup High Tigers.
“They forced us to run the football. We had a gutcheck. Coach (Dialleo) Burks had his guys ready to play. We had to make some adjustments,” said Glisson.
And so the Tigers did. Troup High found its innermost Tiger in the last two quarters of play. It wasn’t perfect, but Troup High came to its senses. And the Tigers crashed the end zone in the second half.
After giving up two interceptions to LaGrange High defensive backs Jordan Ogletree and Jakoby Smith in the first half, Troup High stormed the castle and the goal line in the next two quarters of play.
Senior running back Jackson Davis scored twice for the Tigers on touchdown runs of six and five yards in the third period. It was now a 21-0 football game with Troup High at the wheel.
The Tigers would score their third touchdown of the third period on a Montez Crowe 1-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Kobe Hudson. Troup High was now four touchdowns ahead at 28-0.
The Tigers were kicking down the front door, and there was nothing that the Grangers could do about it.
“We played a pretty good first half, but the momentum shifted. We had some (second half) turnovers,” said Burks, the LaGrange High head coach.
The Grangers fumbled three times in the third and fourth quarters, and two of those turnovers led to Troup High touchdowns. The Tigers completed a few passes here and there, too, including a Crowe 16-yard strike to Jamari Thrash for a touchdown at the 10:23 mark of the fourth quarter.
Troup High’s lead swelled to 35-0.
“There was a lot of energy, and it was fun. We kept our composure. This is another win, and it’s in a rivalry game,” said Thrash, the junior wide receiver and former Granger football star.
The Tigers would roll the dice one more time with a Carson Wreyford 41- yard field goal with 5:31 remaining in the fourth period. The 7-0 Tigers would win this Region 5-AAAA outing with 16 first downs and 314 yards. Crowe called it a night as well with 186 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Charles Crawford, the LaGrange High counterpart, had some moderate success, too, with 101 yards passing. Crawford completed nine of 19 passes. Granger senior fullback Cornell Kendrick left with