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Furious Rally Comes Up Short, Tigers Fall to Hardaway, 28-26

Furious Rally Comes Up Short, Tigers Fall to Hardaway, 28-26

Chris Fernsler

Sports Editor

By no means is Tanner Glisson giving up on this season.

The head coach of Troup High School saw his football team slide to 0-3 on Friday night with a 28-26 loss to Columbus Hardaway. At the same time, Glisson saw something to build on.

The longtime winner witnessed a glimmer of hope for his Tigers. Troup High came within an eyelash of pulling off a sudden comeback win. The Tigers outscored the Hardaway Hawks, 13-0 in the fourth quarter.

And Troup High nearly won the Region 2-AAAA football game at Callaway Stadium. The Tigers, who faced a two-touchdown deficit in the second half, almost caught the Hawks looking ahead to their next game.

Meanwhile back at the stadium, Troup High was still grinding. The Tigers still thought, by some miracle, that they might still have a chance to win.

“Our kids fought. We had a 14-year-old quarterback (Taeo Todd) running around out there. We are a gritty football team, and we’re resilient. I still like this team,” said Glisson.

As it turns out, the Tigers did not mail the score in. Troup High played hard in all four quarters, including that final period of play. In the last quarter the Tigers scared the living region crap out of the Hawks.

Troup High outplayed and outhustled Hardaway in the last quarter. The Tigers did some things that stunned the Hawks. Just maybe Troup High is not a team that Hardaway should take for granted, even with a Hawks 28-13 second half lead.

In the last quarter the Tigers were bringing it. Troup High was breathing down Hardaway’s neck, and the Tigers wisely used every second in the fourth period.

“We didn’t give up. We found a good tempo, and we had some motivation. We want to improve every game,” said Troup High senior offensive tackle Royce White, the University of Memphis verbal commit.

In the final period of play the Tigers recovered two onside kicks. Sophomore A.J. Tucker had one of those recoveries for THS. Tucker also scored on a 1-yard plunge with 1:53 left in the game. Troup High junior place kicker Cody Bray knocked through the PAT to narrow the deficit to 28-20.

Tucker also scored on a 7-yard run with 59 seconds left. That made it a 28-26 game with Hardaway holding the shaky lead. Troup High’s following two-point conversion attempt failed.

And the Hawks won the game, but not without a fourth quarter scoring spree from Troup High School. The Tigers made some waves. They also scrapped and clawed all night long.

“I don’t think we’re a bad football team. We want to get better, and we need to win a game (real soon),” said Glisson.

His team has some interesting pieces and some talented players. The key is to get all the Troup High players pulling on the rope at the same time. The Tigers are a very capable team.

And they have a successful past – having gone to the state playoffs four years in a row. Troup High still thinks it could get into the playoff conversation this year with a little luck and a lot more consistency.

Even in this game against Hardaway (2-1 overall, 1-0 in the region), Troup High showed some flashes of what they could be. Senior Anthony Ferguson scored on the opening kickoff for the Tigers with an 85-yard return.

Troup High’s Taeo Todd also danced around for a three-yard score in the first quarter. The Tigers were out and about with a 13-6 lead.

They also got a 7-yard sack from senior linebacker Zy Varner in the second period. But the Hawks took the lead in that quarter at 14-13. Hardaway junior quarterback A.J. Lucas raced on in with a 25-yard touchdown.

Hawks senior tailback Sayvion Fuller also rumbled through for the twopoint conversion as Hardaway took the lead for the first time. The Hawks scored via the running game in the first period, too, as junior halfback Jordan Moultrie gashed the Troup High defense on a 60-yard scamper.

Columbus Hardaway had an offensive itch and twitch in the third quarter, too. The Hawks scored on a D.J. Lucas 40-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Aaron Pitts. Moultrie stirred the pot one more time with a twopoint conversion run.

Moultrie rushed for 131 yards on 17 carries on the night. Hardaway also scored on a Lucas 40-yard sprint with 7:06 left in the third period. The Hawks paved the way for a 28-13 lead.

The rest of the game was dominated by the Tigers. They eventually lost the game, but Troup High made it interesting with a couple of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Tiger freshman quarterback Taeo Todd compiled 96 all-purpose yards in the game. Todd had one rushing touchdown. He also had a 78-yard touchdown pass to Troup High senior Marquavious Kelley erased because of a holding penalty in the third quarter.

The cupboard is not bare at Troup High School. The Tigers are going to win some football games this season. It is only a matter of time with some Friday night execution.

And the state playoffs might not be out of reach for Troup High a month from now.

The author of this article can be reached via email at [email protected] net.

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