Tigers celebrate rivalry win
LAGRANGE – It was Troup’s turn to celebrate.
The LaGrange Grangers have had the upper-hand in the county soccer rivalry over the years, but the Tigers had the advantage in Tuesday’s game that was played at Gardner-Newman Middle School.
The game started inauspiciously for the Grangers when one of their own players accidentally kicked the ball into his own net less than a minute into the game, and the Tigers poured it on from there and had a 4-0 lead at the half.
The Grangers scored the only goal of the second half, but it was too little too late, and the Tigers walked away with a 4-1 victory.
Troup head coach Jase Crenshaw said it was a well-deserved moment for a group of players who have been waiting a long time to enjoy a win over their cross-town rival.
“It’s a huge deal for these boys,” Crenshaw said. “The last time that we won was 2008.”
LaGrange head coach Keita Placide was impressed with Troup’s determination.
“My hats off to them,” LaGrange head coach Keita Placide said. “They wanted it. They wanted it pretty bad. I’ve got a young bunch, and they’ve got to understand this rivalry, the emotions.”
The game was barely 30 seconds old when the first goal was scored.
Troup’s Joseph Reeves made a run and got in close, and when the ball was rolling around near the goal, a LaGrange player kicked it into the net while trying to clear it.
“(Reeves) set that up,” Crenshaw said. “He put pressure on them. He made the initial run.”
Juan Herrera had two first-half goals, both on penalty kicks, and Alan Vazquez also scored for Troup.
“They started off really fast,” Placide said. “We tried to pick up the pace, but it was a little bit too late. So, hat’s off to a good coaching staff and some veteran players. Good job tonight.”
LaGrange avoided the shutout when, with 6:53 remaining, Hunter Brazell scored off a corner kick.
“He put all 10 in the box, which was the smart play,” Crenshaw said.
Placide, who had to replace more than 10 seniors from last season’s team, was pleased with the way his team kept attacking in the second half, even when the outcome was clear.
“I like what we’re seeing,” Placide said. “We’ll fight another day.”
For Troup, the win was a continuation of what has been a superb season.
The Tigers, who began the season with three straight wins, improved to 4-1-1 with Tuesday’s big win.
“I’m very proud,” Crenshaw said. “I talked to them right before the game. It’s an important win. This is bragging rights. They played their butts off.”
Troup will look to make it two wins in a row when it hosts Hardaway at the Troup County Soccer Complex on Friday, with the game set to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Troup will then play its Region 5-AAAA opener on Tuesday at home against Carrollton.
Troup was supposed to open its region schedule last week against Woodward Academy, but the game was postponed because of rain.
LaGrange (1-6) will host Central-Phenix City on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and it will be back home on Monday for a Region 1-AAAAA showdown against Columbus.
LaGrange has played one region game, and it lost to Northside.
OF NOTE: For more photos from Tuesday’s game, to go facebook.com/LDNsports
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports