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Troup Puts Unbeaten Record on the Line Against Explosive Highway-135 Rival Arp

Arp running back Mikechell Potts had 189 yards of offense and scored two long touchdowns in the Tigers’ 43-13 win over Elysian Fields last week. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

TROUP TIGERS (3-0)
AT
ARP TIGERS (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Bill Herrington Tiger Field, Arp

Coaches
Troup: Dennis Alexander
Arp: Dale Irwin

Last week
Troup: def. Quitman, 41-0
Arp: def. Elysian Fields, 43-13

Next week
Troup: at Huntington
Arp: vs. Garrison

Playmakers
Troup

  • RB Seth Gibson, Sr., 5-9, 175 (27 carries, 366 yards, 6 TDs)
  • RB/LB Jacob Beaty, Sr., 5-9, 165 (6 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Bradley Stewart, Sr., 6-0, 185
  • DL Wesley Thompson, Sr., 6-3, 190
  • CB An’Fernee Ross, Jr, 5-8, 150

Arp

  • QB Chase Bonner, Jr. (20 of 31, 339 yards, 5 TDs; 8 carries, 31 yards)
  • RB Marcalas Johnson, Soph., 5-9, 175 (40 carries, 223 yards, 3 TDs)
  • ATH Michael Roberson, Sr., 5-9, 165 (14 carries, 218 yards, 4 TDs; 7 catches, 148 yards, 2 TDs; 18 tackles)
  • RB Mikechell Potts, Sr., 5-7, 155 (29 carries, 203 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB John Hawkins, Jr., 6-1, 195 (30 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)

Just the facts

  • These two Highway 35 rivals, separated by just eight miles, resume their series after a two-year hiatus. Since 1990, Arp holds a 12-6 advantage and has won three consecutive matchups.
  • Troup is off to a 3-0 start after Texas coaching legend Dennis Alexander took the job during the summer. Alexander ranks fourth all-time in the state in wins with 325.
  • Since reaching the Class 2A state championship in 2004, Troup is just 35-40 and went 0-10 in 2010. Alexander is Troup’s third head coach since longtime coach Andy Griffin retired following the ’04 season.
  • Since beginning the season with a 41-21 loss at No. 4 Tatum, Arp has had little trouble, outscoring Paul Pewitt and Elysian Fields by a combined score of 83-19.
  • Arp has been doing it with big plays. Michael Roberson is enjoying a nice follow-up to his all-state junior season. The senior athletes has totaled 366 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 17.4 yards per touch.
  • Mikechell Potts had a breakout performance in last week’s win over Elysian Fields. Potts carried six times for 115 yards, including a 76-yard TD run and added three catches for 74 yards.
Troup RB Seth Gibson. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
Arp ATH Michael Roberson. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Arp offensive line vs. Troup defensive front. It takes a good group up front on offense to break the big plays Arp has gotten in the last two weeks. Arp’s O-line should get a stiff test this week against a physical group of D-linemen and linebackers from Troup. While quarterback Chase Bonner made some big plays in the passing game against Elysian Fields, Arp’s M.O. has always been its ground game. Troup’s defense is coming off back-to-back shutouts, and is full of renewed confidence following a subpar 2010 and 2011. If Troup is able to contain Arp’s ground game and limit the amount of long-gainers, it will increase the likelihood of Troup remaining unbeaten on the season.

Chalk talk

  • Troup coach Dennis Alexander on facing Arp this week: “I think their speed is such a factor; that’s what scares me the most. I think we’ll be OK on some things, but you can’t compensate for speed and skill. Their talent level is up there with the best teams in the state at the 2A level.”
  • Arp coach Dale Irwin on renewing its rivalry with Troup: “A lot of people in town are excited, everybody wanted us to play the last two years. It was just an accidental deal. We thought we’d be in the same district but the put Troup in D-I and we went D-II. It was just a freak deal, but I think both towns are excited to have it back.”

Don’t be surprised if: Arp continues its run of big plays. Troup’s Dennis Alexander admitted none of his team’s three wins have coming against a team of Arp’s caliber, and that his players are facing a much different challenge than the previous three weeks in terms of speed. If Troup can contain the big plays better than either Paul Pewitt or Elysian Fields, it will have a fighting chance in this one.

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