TATUM -- Time was running out on Troup's undefeated season, but a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes on the part of Tatum opened the door for the Tigers' perfect season to continue.

Troup benefitted from a mishandled snap from the Tatum punter and a clutch interception in the fourth quarter to steal a 14-10 victory over the seventh-ranked Eagles on Friday night in the ETSN.fm Dairy Queen Game of the Week.

The late-game heroics kept Troup (7-0, 2-0 in District 9-2A Division I) unblemished on the season.

"It's a really good win," first-year Troup coach Dennis Alexander said. "Beating Jefferson and then getting by these guys, it's our fourth come-from-behind win. It was fantastic."

The momentum shifted to the Troup sideline on the final play of the third quarter when Tatum punter Dusty Richardson mishandled the snap and was tackled at his own 7-yard line.

And on the first play of the fourth, Seth Gibson darted toward the right pylon and produced the first Tigers' points of the night, cutting the deficit to 10-7.

On the ensuing possession, Troup's LaDarius Morgan stepped in front of a Darian Brooks pass and returned the interception to the Tatum (5-2, 1-1) 43.

Following a 4-yard loss on the first down, sophomore quarterback Blake Lynch hit the streaking Hitachi Lydia in stride for a 46-yard completion down to the 1.

"I just had faith in my boy, Hitachi," Lynch said. "I threw it up and he went to go get it."

Lynch sneaked it from there, giving Troup a 14-10 lead with 8:22 to go in the game.

The Eagles responded and advanced the ball into Troup territory, but was forced to punt. The kick pinned Troup inside its own 2, but the Tigers responded by milking the final 6:13 off the clock to preserve the win.

"We just had all the momentum in the world," Lynch said. "We just came out here, we had to play and we did it."

Lynch finished the game with 96 yards rushing on 14 carries and hit on 7 of 13 pass attempts for 84 yards to lead the Troup offense.

"He's taken control every week," Alexander said of Lynch. "We were a little bit off in the first half, obviously, but they all stepped up and made plays in the second half."

Troup outgained Tatum on the night, 270-189. Tatum managed just 53 after halftime.

"We did the same thing we did all year long," Tatum coach Andy Evans said. "We've been ahead of people and we've had opportunities to put them away and we refuse to do it. When you do that, sooner or later it's going to catch up to you. They deserved to win and we didn't because we didn't perform in the second half as well as they did."

Brooks was 7-of-17 for 68 yards, and added 58 rushing yards on 13 carries to spark Tatum.

Tatum fumbled the game's opening kickoff, setting Troup up at the Eagles' 20-yard line. But after three consecutive Gibson carries netted seven yards, Lynch was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on fourth down.

The Eagles controlled the ball for almost the next seven minutes, advancing as far as the Troup 16. But on third-and-6, Brooks was dropped for a 15-yard loss that brought up fourth-and-long and an obvious punting situation. The punt was perfect, rolling out of bounds inside the 1-yard line.

Troup put together an impressive drive, moving the ball to the Tigers' 32-yard line before Lynch was sacked by Keshaun Smith on fourth down.

The Eagles finally got on the board with 3:39 remaining in the half when Brooks sneaked it in from 2 yards out. The QB keeper put Tatum up 7-0 and capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock.

Troup got a 31-yard return by Gibson on the ensuing kickoff. But on first down, wide receiver Brandon Hearon was intercepted at the Tatum 36 by Javolick Garrett, who returned it to the Troup 46.

The Tatum drive stalled, however, settling for a 35-yard field goal by Alexis Garza that gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead with 53 seconds until halftime.

Tatum returns to the field next Friday at Sabine, while Troup plays host to White Oak.

"It gives us a lot of confidence to come out of here 7-0," Lynch said. "We're rolling and we can't wait for the next game."


Troup 14, No. 7 Tatum 10
At Tatum Eagle Stadium
Troup        0    0    0   14    --    14
Tatum       0   10    0    0    --    10
Second Quarter
TAT--Darian Brooks 2 run (Alexis Garza kick), 3:39.
TAT--FG Garza 35, :53.
Fourth Quarter
TRO--Seth Gibson 7 run (Gabriel Leon kick), 11:54.
TRO--Lynch 1 run (Leon kick), 8:22.

                                     TRO                  TAT
First Downs                        13                    13
Rushes-Yards               38-186             34-121
Passing Yards                     84                    68
Comp.-Att.-Int.              7-14-1              7-17-1
Punts-Avg.                    2-41.5               3-38.0
Fumbles-Lost                     0-0                   3-1
Penalties-Yards                 8-85                 7-46

RUSHING--Troup, Blake Lynch 14-96, Seth Gibson 16-55, Marcus Kincade 2-17, Michael Davis 4-11, Marquis Davis 1-4, Brandon Hearon 1-3. Tatum, Darian Brooks 13-58, Shaq Johnson 13-49, Demetrius Hill 3-14, C.J. Whitaker 3-9, Jaylon Shans 1-(-2), Dusty Richardson 1-(-7).
PASSING--Troup, Lynch 7-13-0--84, Hearon 0-1-1--0. Tatum, Brooks 7-17-1--68.
RECEIVING--Troup, Hitachi Lydia 3-47, Quintin Green 2-36, Richard Lacy 1-2, Kincade 1-(-10). Tatum, Andrew Stoker 4-48, Whitaker 3-20.

Tatum's Shaq Johnson (5) is brought down by a pack of Troup defenders during their game Friday night in Tatum. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)