The Troup Tigers have a lot of guys back from a team that broke a four-year playoff drought for the program a season ago, and took it three rounds deep for the first time since 2004.
Their attitude is they can do it again, and maybe go even further this fall.
“I think the expectations change. Our kids expect to win when they step on the field. And you know the kids come in with that attitude. We’re not battling trying to figure out how to win. They know how to win and the energy shows it,” said head coach John Eastman.
The Tigers have six starters returning on offense, and eight on defense. Many of them with lots of speed, including their all-everything linebacker Max Hale. The senior made 151 tackles last season, with ten of them for loss. Hale was the district’s defensive newcomer of the year.
“Max is a beast, absolute beast man. He’ll get to the ball so fast. And he’ll like, really like, he’ll make the tackle. And it’s just, he saves our butts on defense like all the time,” said senior receiver/cornerback Desmon Deason.
“We need to make about 200 tackles this year. So that’s pretty important. Max is a kid that’s gonna give you everything he’s got on every play. He’s gonna be involved with a lot of plays, just because of that effort. He’s a kid that you can count on because you know you’re gonna get effort on every play,” said Eastman.
On the outside on both sides of the ball is one of the most dangerous players in District 10-3A Division 2. Deason is a standout corner, and was first-team all-district as receiver in 2018.
“He’s a spectacular player both offensively and defensively. I mean it’s just, he’s an athlete. I mean we could utilize his skill, and is just a great athlete to have on the team,” said Hale.
“I gotta be a leader coming in this year. I have to, it’s just really on me, defense and offense. I gotta set the expectations,” said Deason.
“Dez is a great kid. He’s got an opportunity to make a lot of plays this year, made a lot of plays for us last year. I fully expect to use him in a lot of different ways,” said Eastman.
Don’t forget about Jaden Lewis on the other side. He led the tigers with 840 yards and eleven touchdowns receiving last season.
Together, Lewis and Deason have shown they can be a lethal one-two punch.
“Jaden is another kid that makes a lot of big plays for us. You know utilizing them and their strengths is gonna be important,” said Eastman.
While Troup must replace its starting quarterback, senior Jordan Elliott is more than up to the task.
“I believe in Jordan 100-percent man. I really do. He’s been with me for a long time. And we’ve, during the summer, we’ve come up here, and worked on our connection, quarterback and wide receiver. And I think we’re gonna be alright this year,” said Deason.
Troup, which is ranked No. 21 in the Class 3A Division 2 rankings, opens the season at home against Tenaha on Friday Aug. 30. Those Tigers are ranked No. 9 in Class 2A Division 1.
Watch the video to see our Friday Football Fever Countdown preview.