WEST POINT – They treated it like a game day.
The Troup Tigers won’t play their season opener until Aug. 19, but they were in game-day mode nonetheless on Wednesday.
The Tigers put the wraps on their spring-practice period with a scrimmage game at the River Bowl Stadium in West Point, and senior wide receiver Chanse Hill said the players were taking it seriously.
“Everybody was ready,” he said. “Everybody was quiet when we were down at the field house. When we got over here, they were ready.”
The scrimmage was the culmination of the team’s first spring practice under the direction of head coach Tanner Glisson.
By the time Glisson was hired last year, the window to hold a spring practice had already passed by.
As soon as the 2015 season ended in November, Troup’s players got started with the offseason strength and conditioning program, and Glisson feels that has paid dividends.
“I thought we were more physical now than what we were,” Glisson said. “I think we’ve gotten better. The work in the weight room showed a little bit. We’ve still got a long ways to go with that. But we’re better. There’s no doubt we’re better than we were. It’s more established, more organized.”
As for Wednesday’s scrimmage, it began with the first-team offense taking a kickoff and driving down the field for a field goal by Carson Wreyford.
On that opening possession, junior quarterback Montez Crowe had some impressive plays, including a run of about 20 yards on third down.
Crowe later led the first-team offense on another scoring drive that ended with a Wreyford field goal.
Crowe saw significant playing time a year ago, especially late in the season.
In Troup’s lone win, which came on the final night of the season, Crowe scored his first varsity touchdown in a 28-0 road win over Whitewater.
“He did a lot of good things,” Glisson said of Crowe. “He made a lot of good reads early. And that was good to see.”
On those same scoring drives in Wednesday’s scrimmage, running back Kevin Martin, who’ll be a sophomore next season, had some long runs.
Later in the scrimmage, a player who isn’t even in high school yet ran the offense, and he did well.
Kobe Hudson, an eighth grader who was a standout player for Long Cane Middle School last fall, got some time at quarterback, and among his highlights was a long run for a first down, as well as a completion deep down the field to Macenta Stafford.
With Hudson at quarterback, Jackson Davis broke through for some nice runs.
Glisson said one thing he stressed to all of the offensive players was the importance of ball security.
“It’s going to come down to who takes care of the football,” Glisson said. “You’ve got to take care of the football, or you can’t play. That’s the bottomline.”
In addition to the traditional drives, Glisson and the other coaches mixed in some other scenarios to test the players.
“We did some goal-line work, we did some third-and-10 situations, we let some kids run the 40,” Glisson said. “We did a kicking competition. And the kickers (Wreyford and Cal Foster) did fine. They handled the weather good, too.”
Glisson said one of the most positive things to come out of the scrimmage, and the two weeks of spring practice, is that everyone is healthy.
“Overall, nobody got hurt, so that’s a big plus,” Glisson said. “It always is. That’s been our story through the spring. We haven’t got anybody injured, so that’s good.”
Hill said the scrimmage was a great way to end spring practice.
“It was real fun,” he said. “I love playing with these guys, and they love playing with me. We just work hard together.”
The Tigers will soon make the transition to their summer program, and there will be daily workouts at the school, as well as camps and seven-on-seven competitions.
Preseason practice will begin on July 25, teams can start holding full-contact drills a week later, and Troup begins its season on Aug. 19 at Hardaway.
OF NOTE: For more photos from Wednesday’s scrimmage, check out facebook.com/LDNsports
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports