By Kevin Eckleberry firstname.lastname@example.org
August 25, 2014
It’s game week for the Troup Tigers.
After playing Upson-Lee in a preseason game on Aug.15, the Tigers were off last week while their two county rivals mixed it up at Callaway Stadium.
On Friday, Troup will leap into a new season when it takes on LaGrange.
This will be the first time the two teams have played as non-region opponents since 2003, and Troup is hoping the outcome is the same as it was that year.
The Tigers won the season opener 24-21 in 2003, and the Grangers didn’t lose again on the way to a state championship.
Troup is coming off a 6-5 season that included a third victory over LaGrange in four years.
In the second-to-last game of the regular season, Troup sewed up a playoff berth with a 27-8 victory over LaGrange.
Friday marks the start of a difficult regular-season schedule for Troup.
The Tigers have five challenging non-region games, including LaGrange and Callaway, and they’ll also have their hands full when they begin Region 5-AAAA play.
Senior defensive back Saye Sanders said the key to the season will be not looking too far ahead.
“We focus on LaGrange, Callaway, that week’s game,” Sanders said. “We have to go game by game.”
The Tigers are a veteran team in some key areas, including the quarterback position where Will Smith returns for his third season as the starter.
Troup also has a veteran offensive line, with most of the starters from a year ago returning.
Also back is running back Dre Towns, who had more than 1,000 yards last season.
The Tigers do have a lot of new pieces on defense, and Sanders said he and the other veterans have been pushing the young players hard during the summer.
“We lost a good bit of players, but like I told them, we’ll have to keep going harder and harder, get better every day,” Sanders said.
Troup closed the 2013 regular season with four straight wins to secure the region’s third playoff spot, but it lost to Gilmer County 26-22 in the first round.
Smith believes this team has the potential to do some big things this season.
“Everybody’s been working hard. Everybody has a good mentality,” Smith said. “I think we’ll do pretty good this season, make a good playoff run.”