LAGRANGE – The Troup Tigers had some momentum.
After giving up a touchdown in the first minute of Friday’s game against Woodward Academy, the Tigers found themselves in a tie ballgame after putting the ball in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter.
The Tigers were competing, they were standing toe-to-toe with an unbeaten team that is one of the favorites to win the Class AAAA championship.
Things changed in a hurry.
In a span of about one minute, the War Eagles scored touchdowns on a kickoff return and a punt return, and they had a 21-7 lead.
Later in the half, Woodward Academy returned a fumble to the 3-yard line and scored on the next play to take a 30-7 lead, and that was the score at the break.
In the Region 5-AAAA opener for both teams, Woodward Academy went on to claim a 51-21 at Callaway Stadium.
There were bright spots for Troup.
For the second straight game, the Tigers (0-6) scored 21 points after not putting up more than 14 points in any of the games before that, and while the score didn’t seem to indicate it, the defense did a lot of good things.
“We thought we did a pretty decent job defensively,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We thought it was much better. We tackled better. Defensively we’re getting better. I thought our defensive backs tackled better. We didn’t give up 90-yard touchdown passes like we’ve been doing.”
In the end, though, Troup was unable to overcome a powerful Woodward Academy team that went to the final four a year ago and is thinking state title this season.
It only took the War Eagles a few plays to score the game’s first touchdown, and they had a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.
The Tigers hung tough after that, and after recovering a fumble late in the first quarter, they were in business at the Woodward 40-yard line.
After a pass interference penalty on Woodward, quarterback Dexter Shealey completed a 13-yard pass to Camren Russell, and two plays later, Shealey hooked up with Tremayne Tolbert for an 8-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Michael Young’s extra point, his first of three, tied it at 7-7.
It didn’t stay tied for long.
On the ensuing kickoff, Joshua Johnson caught the ball around the 20-yard line, and he went all the way for the touchdown, and Woodward led 14-7.
Troup went three-and-out when it got the ball back, and Jeffrey Hubbard then returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, and with 10:38 left in the half, Woodward led 21-7.
After Woodward Academy made a field goal later in the half, Troup was driving, looking to put some more points on the board before the break.
Instead, Saije Sharkey scooped up a fumble and returned it to the 3-yard line, and on the next play, quarterback Ryan Glover scored, pushing the lead to 30-7.
Troup caught a break early in the third quarter when a Young punt bounced off a Woodward Academy player.
The Tigers pounced on the ball at the 4-yard line, and two plays later, Russell scored on a 1-yard run, and the deficit was 30-14 with 8:39 to play in the third quarter.
Woodward Academy scored the next two times it had the ball, though, to extend the lead to 44-14, which was the score as the fourth quarter began.
Woodward Academy got a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter when Xavion Fleetwood returned an interception for a touchdown, and the score was 51-14 with 6:09 to play.
With Montez Crowe at quarterback, Troup drove 76 yards on its final possession for a touchdown.
After Crowe completed an 18-yard pass to Tolbert, Jackson Davis scored on a 3-yard run with 55 seconds remaining, and Young’s extra point completed the scoring.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports