Troup takes care of Kendrick
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
COLUMBUS – The Troup Tigers, facing an overmatched Kendrick squad, took care of business.
In a Region 2-AAAA matchup at Memorial Stadium on Thursday, Troup scored at will in the first half to build a 42-0 lead, and it cruised to a 49-0 victory.
It was the third consecutive win for the Tigers (3-3 overall), who improved to 3-1 in region play.
“We knew we were the better team,” said Troup senior wide receiver Marquavious Kelley. “We just had to come out and stay focused, be there mentally.”
The Tigers were in control from the get-go.
Following a Kendrick punt on the game’s opening possession, Troup quickly covered 70 yards for a touchdown, and it never looked back.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first six possessions, and they likely would have scored the final time they had the ball in the first half, but time ran out.
Head coach Tanner Glisson emptied the bench in the second half and made sure everyone on the roster got some playing time, and Troup capped the scoring with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“I don’t think we ever got sloppy, and you have a tendency to do that,” Glisson said. “We tried to coach it really hard, and stay on them about special teams. We played everybody on the roster, so that was good, and I thought the young guys in the second half played really well.”
Quarterback Taeo Todd threw three touchdown passes, two to Kelley and one to Navelle Dean, and he also had some long runs to set up scores.
Todd, who was playing middle-school football a year ago this time, has started all six games this season, and he has continued to progress in all facets of the game.
“From middle school, I knew he was going to be something,” Kelley said. “He’s just young, he’s a freshman. You have to let him develop.”
AJ Tucker had two touchdown runs, and Navontae Moss and Javari Fannin had one scoring run apiece.
The closest Kendrick came to scoring was when it reached the Troup 2-yard line in the second quarter, but Kullum Irvin made an interception in the end zone to end that threat.
It was an impressive and complete effort by a team that is riding high after the tough start to the season.
Troup will look to keep it going when it hosts Shaw next Friday on homecoming, and it will play a strong Carver team the week after that.
“The competition will get a little bit better next week (against Shaw) than it was tonight, and then we’ll get ready for Carver,” Glisson said.
In Thursday’s game, after Troup’s defense forced a punt on the opening possession, the offense went to work.
Todd had runs of 25 and 26 yards to put the ball deep in Kendrick territory, and Tucker capped the 70-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, and Cody Bray made the extra point.
Kendrick’s second possession ended with a fumble that was recovered by Troup’s Zy Varner at midfield.
It took the Tigers two plays to find the end zone again.
On first down, Todd completed a 21-yard pass to Andrew Townsend, and on the next play, Kelley caught an over-the-shoulder pass for a 29-yard touchdown.
Kendrick went three-and-out on its third possession, and Troup needed just four plays to cover 68 yards and score again, with Moss capping the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 21-0 with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Tigers kept ig going in the second quarter, with Kelley beating his defender and hauling in a 49-yard touchdown pass on a perfectly-thrown ball from Todd.
The Tigers got the ball at the 20-yard line on their ensuing possession after the Cherokees’ punter couldn’t handle the snap, and they scored two plays later.
On second down, Tucker took a handoff from Todd, and he scored on a 20-yard run, and Troup led 35-0 with 8:18 to play in the first half.
The Cherokees threatened to put some points on the board when they got to the 2-yard line on their next possession, but Irvin picked off a pass in the end zone on fourth down to keep the shutout intact.
Irvin made it to the Troup 40-yard line on the return, and the offense only needed two plays to score.
Todd ripped off a 55-yard run, and one play later, he found Dean for a 5-yard touchdown pass, and Troup led 42-0 with 4:19 left in the first half.
Tyson Duncan took over at quarterback in the second half, and the Tigers continued to move the ball well.
Early in the fourth quarter, Duncan completed passes of 30 yards and eight yards to Dean, and Fannin, a freshman running back, capped a 54-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.