It wasn’t meant to be – not for the Tigers.
Troup High turned the ball over six times and got lambasted by Cartersville, 52-13 in a highly anticipated Region 5-AAAA football game on Friday night at Callaway Stadium. Both teams were ranked in the Top 10 in the state going into the contest, with Cartersville at No. 1 and the Troup Tigers at No. 7 in Class AAAA.
But the Hurricanes from Cartersville dominated the game from the beginning. The visitors scored in every quarter in the game, and Cartersville led, 31-6 at halftime.
“We had a good plan. We had guys flying around, and we execute game in and game out,” said Joey King, the head coach of the Hurricanes (10-0 overall, 6-0 in the region).
Cartersville High would wrap up its sixth straight region title. The Hurricanes did not play the perfect game. But Cartersville did extend its three-year winning streak to 40 games. The Hurricanes have not lost a football game since 2014.
“We play physical. We have a good scheme. We have fun, and we take it game-by-game,” said Cartersville senior tailback Rico Frye, who is nothing more than a 5foot-9, 205-pound road grader.
Now he did have some Grand Canyon-type holes to run through in the win against the Troup Tigers. Frye was slamming, banging and running north and south – he was going up the middle.
Frye was running like a cement truck. He had 21 carries for 188 yards and four touchdowns. Frye knocked the Tiger defense on its heels as he scored three times in the first half on a pair of 9-yard runs and a 5-yard plunge. With Frye’s help, Cartersville took a commanding lead in the first two quarters of play. And Troup High, the soon-to-be 8-2 football team, never could catch up.
“We played a better team, and things did not go our way,” said Troup High offensive coordinator Kelby Holt.
The Tigers were forced to deal with All-Everything quarterback Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville. The five-star talent had plenty of time to throw, and, of course, he still had his howitzer of an arm in which to pick the Troup High defense apart.
Lawrence, the Clemson commit, was on the mark and in the area, going 17for-31 through the air for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence threw a 48-yard lazar to Hurricane tight end Jackson Lowe for a touchdown in the first quarter. Cartersville High took a 17-0 lead.
In the fourth period of play the 6-foot-5 Lawrence would throw his second touchdown pass of the night with a 20-yard spiral. The Hurricanes owned a 45-13 lead with 11:42 left.
Cartersville kept on plugging away, eventually coming up with 466 yards and 24 first downs in the region- clinching game. The Troup High Tigers, despite their six turnovers, would still work the ball down the field for 294 yards and 16 first downs.
No matter the score, Troup High never did cash in their chicken nuggets. Tiger senior quarterback Montez Crowe still passed for 219 yards in a 13-for-25 effort. Crowe had two touchdown passes and four interceptions. But he kept firing and trying.
“We wanted to compete. We had a chance, and we made some plays,” said Crowe.
Junior running back Tyree Carlisle also had a decent night for the Tigers with nine carries for 34 yards. Crowe delivered some blows as well with some tough running with nine carries for 25 yards. “We’re not going away. We kept digging. I saw us fight,” said Holt.
Crowe’s two touchdown passes were delivered on a 20-yard throw to Kobe Hudson in the first quarter and a 40-yard pass to junior Jabari Thrash with 8:22 remaining in the third period. Troup High cut the Hurricane lead to 3113, but Cartersville would score three more touchdowns in the second half.
And one of those Hurricane scores came on defense with senior safety Evan Williams’ 40-yard “pick six” with 9:12 left in the game.