TROUP -- With its leading rusher sidelined with an injury, fourth-ranked Tatum needed a spark. The Eagles got one.

Fueled by quarterback J.D. Taylor's 219 total yards and two touchdowns, Tatum pulled away from Troup in the second half to remain unbeaten on the season with a 35-21 victory Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

Troup (5-2, 1-1 in District 9-2A Division I) twice pulled to within a touchdown in the second half, but Taylor and Tatum (7-0, 2-0) answered with touchdowns of their own as the Eagles followed up last week's win over previously-unbeaten White Oak with another impressive victory.

Taylor ran 17 times for 152 yards and a touchdown and completed 7 of 13 attempts for 67 yards and another score, picking up the slack for injured running back Jaylen Shans, who racked up more than 200 yards in last week's win.

Tatum coach Andy Evans congratulates Chaston Brooks during the Eagles' 35-21 win at Troup on Friday night. (Mark Martin,

WIth Shans out of the rotation at running back, Tatum received solid performances from Kyshaun Smith and Devon Boyd. Smith gained 95 yards on just four carries, while Boyd rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on five attempts, helping the Eagles amass 314 yards on the ground.

Tatum also won the battle on special teams. Chaston Brooks' 58-yard punt return for a touchdown broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter, while Dusty Richardson knocked through field goals of 37 and 38 yards on the night.

Troup, which trailed 10-7 at halftime despite outgaining the Eagles 206-103 in the first half, was led by junior quarterback Blake Lynch. He passed for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while leading the Tigers with 94 yards on 21 carries. However, Lynch appeared to suffer a significant right arm injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return.

After struggling on offense in the first half a three-and-out on the second half's opening possession, Tatum inserted Brooks at quarterback.

And it made an immediate difference.

Brooks kept the ball on option runs of 6 and 13 yards on the first two plays of Tatum's next offensive possession. On the next snap, Brooks rolled to his right and moved upfield for what looked like a short gain. But at the last moment, Brooks pitched the ball to Boyd, who broke free and raced 47 yards to the end zone to give Tatum a 17-7 lead with 8:00 remaining in the third.

Troup quarterback Blake Lynch looks for room to run against Tatum during their game Friday night in Troup. (Mark Martin,

Tatum then forced Troup into its second consecutive three-and-out. A 42-yard run by Smith on the first play of the ensuing drive pushed Tatum inside the Troup 20, but back-to-back negative plays forced the Eagles to settle for Richardson's 38-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead with 5:18 to go in the quarter.

Troup was forced into another three-and-out, but Brooks lost a fumble on Tatum's first play of the drive and Troup responded with a six-play, 48-yard dive that was capped by Marquis Davis' 3-yard touchdown run that cut Tatum's lead to 20-14 late in the third.

That's when Taylor and the Tatum offense began to take over.

Taylor led the Eagles on an eight-play, 59-yard drive that ended with his 14-yard touchdown pass to Deyanta Roberson, who successfully completed a juggling act in the end zone before bringing in the catch. Taylor ran in the two-point conversion to give Tatum a 28-14 lead with 10:52 remaining in the fourth.

Troup responded, and in a hurry. Lynch connected with a wide-open Brandon Hearon down the middle of the field for a 73-yard touchdown to again trim Tatum's lead to one score, 28-21.

But on the first play of the ensuing Tatum series, Taylor had the answer again with a 62-yard touchdown run. Lynch, who also plays safety on defense for Troup, injured his arm on the play and with him out of the game, the Tigers picked up just one first down over their final two possessions.

The first half was largely dominated by Troup.

Despite holding Tatum to just one first down and 32 yards on its first three possessions, Troup fell behind 7-0 with Brooks' 58-yard punt return. The Tigers finally found the equalizer on their final drive on the half when Lynch hit receiver Hitachi Lydia in stride down the far sideline for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining until halftime.

But the Eagles moved the ball to the Troup 20-yard line on runs of 12 and 5 yards by Taylor and a 19-yard pass from Taylor to Dylan Fields. Richardson's 37-yard field goal as time expired sent Tatum into the locker room with a 10-7 halftime lead.

Tatum returns to action next Friday at home against Sabine, while Troup travels to White Oak also on Friday.


No. 4 Tatum 35, Troup 21

At Tiger Stadium, Troup

Tatum              0   10   10   15   --   35
Troup               0     7    7     7    --   21
Second Quarter
TAT--Chaston Brooks 58 punt return (Dusty Richardson kick), 7:04.
TRO--Hitachi Lydia 40 pass from Blake Lynch (Max Salinas kick), :40.
TAT--FG Richardson 37, :00.
Third Quarter
TAT--Devon Boyd 47 run (Richardson kick), 8:00.
TAT--FG Richardson 38, 5:18.
TRO--Marquis Davis 3 run (Salinas kick), 2:02.
Fourth Quarter
TAT--Deyanta Roberson 14 pass from J.D. Taylor (Taylor run), 10:52.
TRO--Brandon Hearon 73 pass from Lynch (Salinas kick), 9:53.
TAT--Taylor 62 run (Richardson kick), 9:36.

                                      TAT                 TRO
First Downs                        12                    15
Total Yards                        381                  351
Rushes-Yards               36-314              47-219
Passing Yards                      67                  132
Comp.-Att.-Int.              7-13-0              6-16-0
Punts-Avg.                     5-28.0              6-36.7
Fumbles-Lost                       4-2                  4-2
Penalties-Yards                  8-60                2-25

RUSHING--Tatum, J.D. Taylor 17-152, Kyshaun Smith 4-95, Devon Boyd 5-68, Antonio Shaw 3-3, Demetrius Hill 2-2, Chaston Brooks 5-(-6). Troup, Blake Lynch 21-94, Marcus Kincade 12-82, Marcus Davis 3-19, Coltan Petree 4-13, Brandon Hearon 3-7, Marquis Davis 1-3, D'Luis West 3-1.
PASSING--Tatum, Taylor 7-13-0--67. Troup, Lynch 4-13-0--122, Hearon 2-3-0--10.
RECEIVING--Tatum, Deyanta Robertson 4-25, Martin Williams 2-23, Dylan Fields 1-19. Troup, Hitachi Lydia 3-54, Antonio Kincade 2-5, Hearon 1-73.

Tatum's Chaston Brooks pitches to running back Devon Boyd, who went for a 47-yard touchdown during the Eagles' 35-21 win at Troup on Friday night. (Mark Martin,