Troup at Cartersville: The biggest surprise of 2016 faces off with the unstoppable defending state champions in one of the most intriguing region championships of the weekend. After suffering through a 1-9 season a year ago, Troup has responded with an 8-1 record this season. The Tigers lost to Hardaway to open the season 21-14, and have since strung together eight consecutive victories. Head coach Tanner Glisson’s squad shocked the state on Sept. 30, with a sound 28-20 victory at Sandy Creek, a team that defeated them 49-7 just a year ago. In the victory, Troup went into the half tied 14-14 and came out to grow a 28-14 lead before Sandy Creek pulled within a touchdown.
Troup has a variety of playmakers that have stepped up this season that will get to play on an even bigger stage. Freshman Kobe Hudson leads the team in receiving touchdowns and sparked a kickoff return touchdown in last week’s 41-0 blowout over Central-Carroll. Six-foot-3 quarterback Montez Crowe also has senior wideout Ken Truitt as a reliable target.
As good as the Troup offense has been, stopping Cartersville’s offense will be the biggest deciding factor. Lawrence leads Cartersville as a junior with a 24 straight victories heading into the game and 36 career wins as a starter. The 6-foot-5 five-star threw for four touchdowns two weeks ago before Cartersville rested on the bye week. Lawrence has thrown for 2,432 yards, 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season. He has also rushed for four more touchdowns. Ten different receivers have caught touchdowns this season, yet Avery Showell still has 11 touchdown receptions.
Troup head coach Tanner Glisson believes in ways his team can disrupt this unstoppable offense.
“They haven’t really been challenged,” Glisson said of Cartersville to LaGrange News. “They’re the top dog. They’ve won 24 in a row. They’ve got the best quarterback in the country (in Trevor Lawrence). So everything tells us why we can’t do it, but we’re glad to be in that situation, in the underdog role.”
The result will not be make or break for either team but there is a big difference in the No. 1 or No. 2 seed when it comes to this year’s bracket. Region 5 matches up with Region 7 in the first round of the playoffs, and that means both teams have avoided facing off with Marist or Blessed Trinity. As a result, a beatable West Hall or Chestatee team awaits in the first round for Troup and Cartersville. Whichever team loses, however does face the strong possibility of facing off with undefeated Thomson in the second round.