Now that’s how you start a season.
The Troup Tigers soared to a 36-0 halftime lead, and they rolled to a 36-14 victory before a packed house at Callaway Stadium on Friday.
While Troup got its season off to a rousing start, LaGrange fell to 0-2 after last week’s overtime loss to Callaway.
While there were plenty of smiles after the game for Troup, the team suffered a big loss in the fourth quarter when running back Dre Towns went down with a serious leg injury.
Towns had a huge night with four scoring runs and well over 100 yards on the ground, and he was injured while fighting for extra yardage at the end of a 16-yard run.
Towns was tended to on the field for awhile, and he was eventually carted off and taken away from the stadium in an ambulance.
“Right now, we’re dedicating our season to Dre Towns,” Troup defensive lineman Justice Marable said. “We grew up together. He gave his ankle trying to help us win this game, we’re going to give an arm and a leg for the rest of the season.”
It was a dominant performance in every respect for the Tigers.
Troup’s defense shut down LaGrange in the first half, and the offense moved the ball with ease on the way to five first-half touchdowns.
“Our game plan on both sides of the ball was to come out and hit them in the mouth, on both sides,” Marable said. “That’s the way it is every game. We feel like if we can hit somebody harder than they can hit us, then it’s over by the second half.”
LaGrange did keep fighting in the second half, and it put two touchdowns on the board while keeping Troup from adding to its total.
The game was effectively over at the half, though.
“Both sides thought it was going to be a close game,” Marable said. “One team came out and executed, and one team didn’t.”
Troup’s first touchdown was set up by an interception by Austin Carter at the LaGrange 18-yard lnie.
After an 11-yard keeper by Smith that put the ball on the 7-yard line, the Tigers scored three plays later on a 1-yard run by Dexter Shealey, and Michael Young’s extra point made it a 7-0 game late in the first quarter.
After a LaGrange punt, Troup went back to work.
Mess Bonner ripped off runs of 16 and eight yards to kick-start a 45-yard scoring drive.
Towns capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:23 left in the half, and it was 13-0 after the extra-point attempt was blocked.
It got worse for the Grangers after they fumbled the ball on their ensuing possession, with Tristan Thompson coming up with the ball.
The Tigers went 36 yards in nine plays, with Towns finishing things off with a 12-yard scoring run, and the extra point made it 20-0 with 4:26 showing on the clock.
The Tigers weren’t done.
After a nice punt return by Hunter Mowers, the Tigers had the ball at the Grangers’ 34-yard line.
Once again it was Towns finding the end zone, this time from 26 yards out, and Shealey ran in the two-point conversion attempt to make it a 28-0 game with one minute left in the half.
The Grangers then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Tigers recovered at the 17-yard line.
On first down, Smith completed a 16-yard pass to Tremayne Tolbert, who was tackled at the 1-yard line.
On the next play, Towns scored on a 1-yard run, and he also ran in the two-point attempt to give Troup a 36-0 lead.
“The offense took advantage of field position and stuck in the end zone,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said. “They were very business-like, work-man-like. There were good runs by the running backs.”
LaGrange fought back and put some points on the board in the second half.
With 7:05 left in the third quarter, Mon Denson scored on a 5-yard run, and Nathan Patton made the extra point.
The Grangers scored their final touchdown with 34 seconds left in the game.
Quarterback Amad Ogletree threw the ball down the field, and it was tipped by a Troup defender and into the hands of Mike Hardy for a 46-yard touchdown.
OF NOTE: For more on Friday’s game, see Tuesday’s print edition, as well as www.lagrangenews.com