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Freshman QB excels for Tigers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

What a debut season it has been for Taeo Todd, Troup High’s freshman quarterback.

Following Tuesday’s 49-0 road win over Jordan, Todd has run for 1,232 yards on 104 carries, good for an average of nearly 12 yards per carry.

Todd had scoring runs of 69 yards and 65 yards in the first half against Jordan, giving him nine touchdowns on the season.

Todd is averaging nearly 140 yards per game, putting him near the top of that category in the country among freshman quarterbacks, and he has run for at least 100 yards in seven straight games, and that included a nearly 300-yard effort against Spencer.

Todd won the starting job during the summer, and he has been making opposing defenders miss since the season opener against Harris County.

While Todd has shown the ability to beat teams with his throwing arm, and he has nearly 700 passing yards with five touchdowns, he has been at his most dangerous when he’s running the ball.

In a critical 14-7 win over LaGrange on Saturday, Todd had 155 yards on 20 carries, and in the previous game, a 16-12 victory over Shaw, he had 148 rushing yards on 21 attempts with a touchdown.

“I feel very comfortable,” Todd said following Tuesday’s game.

During the summer workouts, Todd was competing for the starting job with a handful of other players, and he was on the field for the season opener against Harris County.

The Tigers lost their first three games, but they’ve won six in a row since then, and Todd is a big reason why.

“We made that commitment with him in the summertime, and saw the great potential,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We knew he’d hit some bumps in the road. We didn’t know if it’d be early, or midseason, but he’s really starting to play well. He’s gotten on a streak where he hasn’t turned it over. So, that’s a big thing. We have a decent defense, so if we don’t turn the ball over, we can play with a lot of people.”

It helps that Todd is surrounded by play-makers on offense, including a trio of talented running backs in Anthony Ferguson, AJ Tucker and Navontae Moss, who have more than 1,500 rushing yards between them.

FINDING THE END ZONE: For the past few seasons, Will Cooley has been an anchor on the offensive line, and he has celebrated a lot of touchdowns scored by his talented teammates.

During Tuesday’s 49-0 victory over Jordan, Cooley got an opportunity to be the guy with the ball in his hands.

Late in the first half, offensive coordinator Paul Brewer called a play for Cooley on the 1-yard line, and the senior responded by bulling his way into the end zone for the touchdown run.

It was Cooley’s first, and likely last, touchdown of what has been a phenomenal high-school career.

“That was fun and exciting watching him score,” said Taeo Todd, Troup’s freshman quarterback “He’s been talking about it all year.”

Indeed, Cooley has been putting a bug in the ear of the coaches about getting a carry, and the perfect time arrived for it on Tuesday night.

After Buddy Wortham caught a 17-yard pass from Tyson Duncan, Troup had the ball on the 1-yard line.

On the first attempt to get Cooley in the end zone, he was stopped short of the goal line.

On the next play, Cooley took another handoff from Todd and was mired in a mass of players from both teams before he busted through into the end zone for the touchdown.

“I’ve been staying on them pretty hard about them letting me carry one time, and I didn’t know if they’d actually let me do it,” a smiling Cooley said after the game.

When Troup plays Carver for the Region 2-AAAA championship on Saturday, Cooley will be back at center, snapping the ball to Todd and blocking for his quarterback and a group of talented running backs. Cooley has been a starting offensive lineman since his sophomore season, and he has helped the Tigers put up big offensive numbers.

“He’s a grinder. He gets after it,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “We’re just lucky to have him, and the kids respect him. There are no days off with him. He’s wide-open, 110 percent every single day.”

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Troup has three gifted running backs capable of scoring on any play, and they all showed off that explosive ability during Tuesday’s 49-0 win over Jordan.

Anthony Ferguson, Navontae Moss and A.J. Tucker all had touchdown runs during the blowout win at Kinnett Stadium.

Ferguson, a senior in his first season at Troup after transferring from Manchester, got the scoring started with a 28-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Later in the first quarter, Tucker ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run to give Troup a 28-0 lead, and that came after he had a 60-yard scoring run negated because a penalty.

In the second quarter Moss got his chance, taking off on a 65-yard touchdown run that pushed the lead to 35-0.

DEFENSIVE LEADERS: Troup’s defense, which has been dominant during a six-game winning streak, was up to the challenge once again against Jordan.

With the 49-0 win, the Tigers posted their second shutout of the season, and they haven’t allowed more than 14 points in a game during the winning streak.

During Tuesday’s game, defensive lineman Tay Shells led the way with five tackles, and defensive lineman Christopher Hilton had four tackles, including one for loss.

Naz Easter had three tackles and a pass break-up, Marquavious Kelley had an interception, and Sirr Morgan had a tackle and a pass break-up.