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LaGrange College falters in final home game

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com

LaGrange College quarterback Connor Blair gets a pass away during the first half of Saturday’s game against North Carolina Wesleyan. Blair threw for 460 yards, but LaGrange College lost 48-31. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_LC1.jpgLaGrange College quarterback Connor Blair gets a pass away during the first half of Saturday’s game against North Carolina Wesleyan. Blair threw for 460 yards, but LaGrange College lost 48-31. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
A host of LaGrange College defenders team up to make a tackle in the first half. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_LC3.jpgA host of LaGrange College defenders team up to make a tackle in the first half. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
LaGrange College receiver Patrick Goodin steps out of bounds after making a catch in the first half. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_LC4.jpgLaGrange College receiver Patrick Goodin steps out of bounds after making a catch in the first half. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LAGRANGE – The LaGrange College Panthers were unable to overcome a slow start on Saturday in their final home game of the season.

Facing a high-scoring North Carolina Wesleyan team, LaGrange College found itself trailing 24-0 in the first half.

The Panthers were able to get as close as 14 points after falling into the 24-point hole, but the Battling Bishops maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way en route to a 48-31 victory at Callaway Stadium.

The Panthers (2-6) will wrap up their regular season with a game at Methodist (N.C.) on Saturday.

Sophomore quarterback Connor Blair’s right arm got a workout for the Panthers.

He completed 29-of-51 passes for 460 yards, and he had three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Marsalis Jackson had a big day with six catches for 118 yards, an average of nearly 20 yards a reception, and he scored a touchdown.

Ervens Oge also got it done with seven catches for 110 yards, and Lavell Meeks and T.J. Anderson both had touchdown receptions.

LaGrange College’s defense had a hard time slowing down North Carolina Wesleyan’s prolific offense, which has been scoring more than 40 points per game.

Quarterback Dustin Midgett was 13-of-19 for 275 yards with four touchdowns, all to wide receiver Malik Adams.

Running back Adrian Minondo was a busy man with 38 carries for 207 yards, and he scored two touchdowns.

In the first quarter, the Battling Bishops had touchdown drives of 80 and 71 yards, and Adams had scoring catches of 11 and 19 yards.

Minondo had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to push the lead to 21-0, and a field goal put LaGrange College in a 24-0 hole.

After a Brandon Penn interception, LaGrange College had the ball at the North Carolina Wesleyan 33-yard line.

A 22-yard completion from Blair to Jackson put the ball on the 1-yard line, but the Panthers were unable to find the end zone, and they settled for a short field goal by Zack Kudwa.

Head coach Matt Mumme then called for the onside kick, and the ball was recovered by the Panthers.

Two plays later, Blair found Jackson for a 30-yard touchdown pass, and with 4:13 left in the half, North Carolina Wesleyan’s lead was down to 24-10.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, that momentum was short-lived.

On the first play of the ensuing possession, Midgett threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Adams, and the lead was back up to 31-10, and that was the score at the half.

After the Battling Bishops got a field goal early in the third quarter to make it a 34-10 game, Blair threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Anderson.

With 9:37 left in the third quarter, LaGrange College trailed 34-17.

Any hope the Panthers had of making a comeback was snuffed out when the Battling Bishops scored two more third-quarter touchdowns, though.

Adams caught a 9-yard scoring pass from Midgett, and Minondo had a 2-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 48-17 heading into the final quarter.

The Panthers capped the scoring with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Nick Searcy had a 14-yard touchdown run with 12:56 left in the game, and Blair found Meeks for a 58-yard scoring pass with 1:17 to play.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports