By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
October 16, 2013
With a brutal two-game stretch in the rearview mirror, the Troup Tigers aren’t planning on letting up.
In the past two weeks, Troup has played Sandy Creek and Carrollton, the top two teams in the Associated Press Class AAAA poll.
The schedule lightens up considerably for the Tigers, but head coach Lynn Kendall said the upcoming games are every bit as important.
Although the Tigers are 1-2 in Region 5-AAAA, those losses came against Sandy Creek and Carrollton.
Troup will continue its region schedule today with a game against Columbus at Kinnett Stadium, and it closes the season with games against Fayette County, LaGrange and Shaw.
If Troup wins all four of those games, it will be in the state playoffs.
“We came in here, and our focus has totally been on Columbus,” Kendall said. “It’s the next region game. It’s going to be at their place. It’s an important game when you look at the region schedule and how that shakes out.”
Troup was in this same situation a year ago.
The Tigers were 1-2 in the region, and they won two in a row before ending the season with losses to LaGrange and Shaw, and they missed the playoffs.
Troup is obviously hoping the story has a different ending this season, although Kendall stresses that no one is thinking about the playoffs at the moment.
“We’re in a situation right now where it stands, we control our own destiny,” Kendall said. “We don’t have to worry about what happens if this team wins or loses. That’s the best scenario, that you’re in control. It comes back to the same old thing. You have to take it one game at a time. You can’t continue looking back at last week, or looking ahead.”
As for today’s game, Columbus is a struggling ballclub.
The Blue Devils (2-5 overall) are 0-3 in the region, and they’ve been blown out in each of those games.
Going back to early in the 2011 season, the Blue Devils have won just once in 23 games, and they snapped a 19-game losing streak when they beat Northside-Columbus earlier this year.
Despite the unflattering record, though, Kendall said the Blue Devils are capable of making things tough for the Tigers.
“Their quarterback (Derrick James) is solid. They’ve got a couple of running backs, and they have some speed as well you have to be concerned with,” Kendall said. “They do some things offensively a little different than some of the other teams that we play.”
A year ago, the Blue Devils were in the midst of an 0-10 season when they came to Callaway Stadium and nearly pulled off a stunning upset.
Troup needed a 300-yard performance from Troup running back Daryl Dunlap to upend Columbus 34-20.
“I expect Columbus to get ready for us,” Kendall said. “It’s going to be homecoming for them. They’ll be excited. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd there.”
Kendall said Troup came through the Sandy Creek and Carrollton gauntlet mostly injury-free.
As far as the games go, Troup was a lot more competitive against Sandy Creek in a 21-0 loss.
That game was scoreless for much of the first half, and the Tigers were within 14 points into the fourth quarter.
Against Carrollton, Troup trailed 42-0 in the second quarter on the way to a 49-12 loss.
“There are some things we did well (against Carrollton),” Kendall said. “I thought we did well putting together a couple of substantial drives. There were things to come out of that to build on, and definitely some things to improve on. We’ve been really emphasizing that this week.”