The Tigers (1-5 overall) are 1-2 in Region 5-AAAA, but if they win three of their final four games, they’ll likely end up in the state playoffs, and if they win all four games, they’ll definitely be in.
Troup will try to take the first step when it hosts Columbus on Thursday at 7 p.m.
It will be Troup’s homecoming game.
The biggest obstacle Troup is facing at the moment isn’t an opponent, but the injury bug, which has bitten the team hard this season.
“We’re pretty beat up,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said. “Coming out of the Sandy Creek game (on Oct. 5), we had about 10 starters that were hurt in some form or fashion. We got some of those back last week against Carrollton.”
Kendall emphasized when players are injured, not only do they miss games, they also miss important team practices where players get in the necessary repetitions required to stay sharp.
“We’ve been thin, and now we’re thinner (roster-wise),” Kendall said. “That’s one of the things you have to work on overcoming.”
The show must go on, though, and the Tigers are entering a crucial stretch of games.
After Thursday’s game, Troup plays Fayette County, LaGrange and Shaw.
After opening its region schedule with a win over Alexander, Troup has lost to Sandy Creek 48-10 and Carrollton 45-13. “We’re 1-2 in the region and our thing is every game we have left in the season is a region game,” Kendall said. “We’re striving to win as many of those as we can and get into the playoffs.”
First up is a Columbus team that is having a miserable season.
The Blue Devils (0-6 overall) are 0-3 in region play, and they’ve been blown out in every game they’ve played this season.
Columbus quarterback Derek James, a freshman, has shown some potential, and the team has a veteran offensive line.
The reality of the situation for Columbus is an unforgiving one, though.
In its six games, Columbus has been outscored by an average score of 46-7.
Still, for a Troup team that can’t afford a slip-up, Kendall said Columbus has the full attention of the players and coaches.
“In a lot of ways, it’s still in our hands what our destiny and future is going to be,” Kendall said. “We’re not in the situation right now where we hope that somebody is going to beat somebody. Our attitude will be to come out, play Columbus and probably the best way to look at every game we play is a playoff game. That’s what we have got to take care of to get there.”
Kendall said in practice this week the Tigers have been “getting back to the basics,“ and that includes “blocking, tackling, ball security, playing smart football.”