Fourth-Ranked + Unbeaten Tatum Faces Another Test on the Road at Troup
District 9-2A Division I
No. 4 Tatum Eagles (6-0, 1-0)
Troup Tigers (5-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Troup
- Tatum: Andy Evans
- Troup: Dennis Alexander
- Tatum: vs. Sabine
- Troup: at White Oak
- LB Kyshaun Smith, Jr., 6-1, 175 (76 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 3 pass break-ups, 1 INT)
- WR Deyanta Roberson, Jr., 6-1, 175 (16 catches, 291 yards, 3 TDs)
- ATH Klifton Willis, Sr., 5-11, 180 (21 tackles, 11 INTs, 2 pass break-ups, 2 def. TDs)
- RB/DB Jaylen Shans, Sr., 5-10, 170 (53 carries, 484 yards, 5 TDs; 7 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD; 14 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass break-ups)
- QB J.D. Taylor, Soph., 6-1, 175 (39 of 63, 530 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs; 36 carries, 196 yards, 2 TDs)
- DT Keaton Blanton, Sr., 6-3, 310 (22 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 forced fumble)
- ATH Chaston Brooks, Jr., 6-0, 180 (15 carries, 143 yards, 2 TDs; 25 tackles, 1 INT, 4 pass break-ups)
- LB Devon Boyd, Jr., 5-10, 175 (37 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 pass break-ups)
- QB/S Blake Lynch, Jr., 6-3, 193
- OL/DL Tristen Walsworth, Sr., 6-0, 255
- RB Marcus Kincade, Jr., 6-0, 160
- ATH Hitachi Lydia, Sr., 6-0, 170
- RB D’Luis West, Jr., 5-8, 200
- ATH Marquis Davis, Sr., 5-11, 210
- RB Marcus Davis, Jr., 5-10, 180
- WR/DB Brandon Hearon, Sr.
Just the facts
- Tatum and Troup have met seven times, five of which have occurred since 2006. Troup leads the all-time series, 4-3.
- The Eagles, under head coach Andy Evans, are 103-23.
- Tatum is shooting for its second 7-0 start since 2005.
- The Eagles are averaging 311.5 yards and 37 points per game.
- The combined record of Tatum's six 2013 opponents -- Arp, Winnsboro, Pleasant Grove, Center, Diboll and White Oak -- is 14-25.
- Troup head coach Dennis Alexander is the state's fourth all-time winningest coach. His record is 336-128-11 in 41-plus seasons.
- The Tigers have had six different head coaches since 1998 and are 115-66 with five seasons with at least 10 wins.
- Since reaching the 2004 Class 2A Division II state championship game, Troup's playoff record is 1-4.
- The combined record of Troup's six 2013 opponents -- Quinlan Ford, West Rusk, Quitman, Arp, Huntington and Jefferson -- is 15-25.
- Troup's remaining four opponents -- Tatum, White Oak, Harmony and Sabine -- are a combined 17-7.
Key matchup: Tatum running game vs. Troup defensive front. Everyone talks about Tatum's suffocating and opportunistic defense and rightly so, but the offense came alive in last week's district-opening win over previously-unbeaten White Oak -- especially the ground game. Tatum pounded the Roughnecks for 342 rushing yards with Jaylen Shans' 2006-yard effort leading the way. But it wasn't just Shans; three other ball carriers -- Chaston Brooks, Demetrius Hill and Devon Boyd -- had at least 45 yards on the ground. Ultimately it was too much for White Oak's defense, which entered last week's game allowing only 5.4 points per game, to overcome. The Eagles only attempted 10 passes on the night last week, so if more success on the ground is found Friday night, don't expect the game plan to change too much.
Troup survived its first district test of the season last week against Jefferson, limiting the Bulldogs to just 81 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Jefferson's inability to establish a running game forced its hand and created obvious pass-rushing situations for the Troup defense, which had two linemen return interceptions for touchdowns last week in Tristen Walsworth and Marquis Davis. Tatum would prefer not to have to rely on making plays in the passing game, but rather control the tempo with its assertive rushing attack. If Troup's defensive front can limit the Tatum backs' effectiveness and get off the field on third down, the Tigers may be in good shape for a second consecutive win over preseason district favorite Tatum.
Don't be surprised if: Troup calls more designed passing plays for quarterback Blake Lynch, who was banged up late in last week's game but has been cleared for Friday's contest. While Lynch is a premium threat with his legs, his passing ability has been put to the test with positive results. Last week, the junior signal-caller completed 10 of 16 attempts. He only threw for 87 yards on the night, but if Troup's running back duo of Marcus Kincade and D'Luis West can pick up the slack, Lynch may be asked to do more with his arm this week. Not only would it decrease the likelihood of injury, it would keep Tatum's aggressive defense a bit more honest, unable to take as many chances as it would normally.