TROUP, Texas (KETK) – It’s a hard hat, and lunch pale attitude that their town prides itself in.
“Come on last one, make it your best one,” shouts Troup head football coach John Eastman as he blows his whistle towards the end of practice.
The Troup Tigers are coming off their second consecutive winning season, and their second straight trip to the playoffs (Both with at least one postseason victory).
As he enters his eleventh overall season in Troup, Eastman has a young group to develop. But with some experienced players back defensively, he will rely on their effort to maximize a key ingredient that has been the bread and butter of many of his squads. That would be team speed on that side of the ball.
“We like to get after it. Like we always say, wreak havoc, cause disruption in any way you can,” said Tigers senior receiver and safety Brayden Vess.
“We have speed, and we have heart. So using those two together. It just makes out for a great outcome,” said Tigers senior receiver and cornerback Jesse Calley.
“I’m not gonna sit here and tell you we’re the fastest team or anything like that. But we got good team speed, and good quickness. They mentally understand what we’re trying to do defensively. And it allows them to play faster,” Eastman explained.
But with only seven seniors and just three starters back on offense, Eastman will have to groom a new quarterback among other important pieces. Sophomore Kevin Pierce and junior Trevor Padia, who played receiver in 2019, are competing for the starting job.
“They are both very mobile, which is great. So if no one is open they can run. You always need that in a quarterback I think at least. They both have really strong arms,” said Calley.
“Both of them have their strengths, both of them have their weaknesses. The biggest thing is just getting some experience at the game speed level. There’s only one way to learn that, and that’s to go through it,” stressed Eastman.
But ultimately, this Troup bunch understands what’s at stake as the world continues to battle through a global pandemic.
“If one of us gets (COVID-19), (They are) out for an entire week. And that’s one of our top people. Kind of walking on egg shells,” said Calley.
“When they leave from us, you know, they gotta be responsible. They gotta take care of their business, and make sure we’re taking care of things off the field. Kids have been doing awesome though. I’ve been proud of them. It’s made my job easier,” Eastman explained.
Troup opens the season at Alto on Friday Aug. 28. They host a three-way scrimmage with Sabine and Waskom next Thursday evening Aug. 20.
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Troup Tigers 2020 varsity football schedule
Thursday August 20 Scrimmage VS. Waskom/Sabine TBD
Friday August 28 AT Alto – 7:30 p.m.
Friday September 4 VS. Carlisle – 7:30 p.m.
Friday September 11 AT Bullard – 7:30 p.m.
Friday September 18 AT Brownsboro – 7:30 p.m.
Friday September 25 VS. West Rusk* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 2 AT Arp* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 9 VS. Winona* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 16 AT Harmony* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 23 VS. Grand Saline* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 30 AT Quitman* – 7:30 p.m.
Friday November 6 BYE
*District 9-3A Div. 2 game