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Troup playing for region title

COLUMBUS – In a season that’s been like no other, the Troup Tigers find themselves in a familiar position.

For the fourth time in five years, Troup will head into the final game of the regular season with an opportunity to play for a region championship.

Troup came up short against Cartersville in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and it will try to flip that script when it plays Carver on Saturday in Columbus with the top spot in Region 2-AAAA on the line.

It will be the third game in eight days for Troup, which beat LaGrange 14-7 on Saturday before overwhelming Jordan 49-0 on Tuesday night at Kinnett Stadium.

The Tigers took care of business early and had the game in hand in the second quarter, giving head coach Tanner Glisson a chance to rest his starters heading into Saturday’s critical game.

“We got to play a lot of people, and we got some people out of there, so that was really good,” Glisson said.

Troup began the season with three straight losses, including a 28-26 setback to Hardaway in the region opener.

Since that Hardaway loss, though, Troup (6-3) has won six consecutive games, all against region opponents, to get in position to possibly win the program’s first region title in more than 30 years.

“These team, we were in here in January, and then the quarantine started, but everybody stayed bought in, and then we put in that work when we returned,” said senior offensive lineman Will Cooley. “We talked about putting ourselves in this position all year long, getting a chance to play for a region championship. It’s a true testament to how everybody bought in. We’ve bought in every day through all the trials and tribulations we’ve had to go through this year.”

Tuesday’s game didn’t figure to have much drama, and it didn’t.

The Tigers scored touchdowns on six of their first-half possessions to build a 42-0 lead, and they capped the scoring with a touchdown early in the second half.

Quarterback Taeo Todd, who has had a phenomenal freshman season, had touchdown runs of 69 yards and 65 yards in the first quarter.

Troup’s three talented running backs, Anthony Ferguson, AJ Tucker and Navontae Moss all had touchdown runs, and Cooley got into the act with a 1-yard scoring run late in the first half.

In the third quarter, Tyson Duncan hooked up with Andrew Townsend for a 48-yard scoring run.

It was a complete and dominant performance, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown in Columbus.

“We punched our ticket to the region-championship game,” Glisson said. “Now the question is, do we have to win the game, or do we have to win it by eight points. We don’t know yet. We’ll know after Thursday when Hardaway and LaGrange play. If Hardaway wins, then we have to beat Carver by eight or more. If LaGrange wins, all we have to do is beat Carver.”

It didn’t take the Tigers long to put the first points on the scoreboard.

After an unsuccessful fake punt by Jordan, Troup covered 45 yards in three plays, with Ferguson scoring on a 28-yard touchdown run, and Cody Bray made the first of his five extra point to give the visiting team a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

After Jordan failed on a fourth-down play, Troup drove 87 yards in five plays, with Todd covering most of that ground with a 69-yard touchdown run.

On Troup’s next possession, Todd struck again, this time for a 65-yard touchdown run, and Troup led 21-0 with 3:53 to play in the first quarter.

The onslaught continued when the Tigers got the ball back, with Tucker beating the Red Jackets’ defense for a 45-yard touchdown run, and the lead was 28-0 with 55 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

Moss got his turn on Troup’s next possession, with the senior running back taking off on a 65-yard touchdown run, and the lead was 35-0.

On Troup’s final possession of the first half, Townsend caught a short pass from Duncan and turned it into a 61-yard completion, and Buddy Wortham had a 17-yard catch on the next play to put the ball on the 1-yard line.

Cooley, Troup’s starting center, was given the chance to show what he could do with the ball in his hands, and he bulled his way into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown, and Isaac Andrew’s extra point pushed the lead to 42-0, which was the score at the half.

Troup completed the scoring on the opening possession of the second half, with Townsend catching a 48-yard touchdown pass from Duncan.

The remainder of the second half went quickly with a running clock.