LAGRANGE – The Troup Tigers will play their final home game of the regular season this week.
If Troup is victorious on Thursday night against Cedartown, though, it will likely be back at Callaway Stadium for the opening round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Troup, which is in the midst of a remarkable turnaround season after going 1-9 a year ago, would finish no worse than second in Region 5-AAAA if it beats Cedartown and Central-Carroll the next two weeks.
On Friday, LaGrange will be at home against Sandy Creek as it looks to keep its playoff hopes alive, and Callaway will look to maintain its perfect record when it visits Temple.
Cedartown is having a strong season and presents a formidable challenge, but Central-Carroll is struggling through a winless season.
So if Troup is able to get past Cedartown this week, its chances appear good of going on the road and beating Central the following week.
Troup ends the regular season with a game at Cartersville on Nov. 4, and that could be for the region championship.
First things first.
Cedartown is in the midst of a nice bounceback season of its own.
Although Cedartown made the state playoffs a year ago thanks to a win over Rockmart in the regular-season finale, it finished with a 2-9 record.
This year’s team is 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the region, and it has won five of six games overall since beginning the season with a loss to Piedmont (Ala.).
Troup’s season has followed a similar path.
The Tigers (6-1 overall) opened with a 21-14 road loss to Hardaway, but they haven’t lost since and they’ve won all three of their region games.
LaGrange’s playoff hopes are hanging by a thread after last week’s loss to Troup.
The Grangers (2-6 overall) are 1-3 in Region 5-AAAA, and to make the playoffs, they’ll need to beat Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill the next two weeks, and both of those games are at Callaway Stadium.
First up is a Sandy Creek team that is also 1-2 in the region following losses to Troup and Cartersville.
While Sandy Creek has a losing record in region play, it is still considered to be one of the state’s top teams and was ranked as high as fourth in Class AAAA before the loss to Troup.
Although LaGrange lost to Troup 37-26, head coach Dialleo Burks was pleased with the effort from his players, and he hopes they duplicate that this week.
“We’ve got two games left. We’re here at home,” Burks said. “We’ve just got to come with that same passion and energy.”
Callaway will look to move a step closer to the Region 5-AA championship when it visits Temple on Friday.
Callaway (7-0) got a big home win over Heard County last week to improve to 2-0 in the region, and it has three regular-season games remaining, all against region foes.
Temple (5-2 overall) has played two region games, and it has struggled in both of them.
After losing to Heard County 41-0 on Sept. 23, Temple went on the road and lost to Spencer 32-0 last week.
Callaway finishes the regular season with two home games, including a showdown with Spencer on Oct. 28 in a matchup of teams with perfect region records.
Callaway finishes the regular season against Jordan on Nov. 4.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports