September 18, 2013
Welcome back Zach.
For the first time since last year’s playoff game against Ridgeland, LaGrange High quarterback Zach Giddens will be back under center when the Grangers take on the Thomson Bulldogs Friday night.
Giddens underwent surgery in July to repair a leg injury, and after the necessary rehab, he returned to practice last week, and he’ll be on the field Friday night.
“I expect him to play well, but he’s going to get better,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “This is his second week of practice. He’s going to be a lot better two weeks from now than where he is today. I’m just happy to have him back, with shoulder pads on and playing.”
Branch said Wynton Heard, who has filled in nicely at quarterback, will continue to take some snaps under center while Giddens works his way back into form.
“The way we look at it is, we have two good quarterbacks,” Branch said. “Wynton has done a lot of good things. He’s jumped out at wide receiver, and we’re looking to get the ball to him there.”
Giddens returns to a team hopeful of notching its first victory Friday night.
The Grangers are 0-2, and they’ve struggled mightily in the second half of their games against Newnan and Harris County.
The Grangers gave up 28 unanswered points in both games, and they were unable to make a 17-point fourth-quarter lead against Harris County stand up.
By the time the Grangers kick things off Friday night, they will have had two weeks to shore up some deficiencies since they were off last week.
Thomson (0-2) is also winless, so one team will be celebrating that elusive first win around 10 p.m. Friday night.
Will LaGrange be that team?
Despite Thomson’s slow start, it will be a challenge.
The Bulldogs are a talented but inexperienced team, so they figure to be a much-improved squad coming off an off-week of their own.
The key for the Grangers will be finding a way to finish things off, which obviously has been a problem the first two games.
The Grangers have had breakdowns in all areas of the game in the second halves against Newnan and Harris County, and you know they’ve been working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
I think this is the week it happens for the Grangers, and look for them to get a big road win heading into the start of their Region 5-AAAA schedule next week.
MY PICK: 27-20
HARRIS COUNTY AT CALLAWAY: This is a big-time match-up between a pair of elite teams.
The Cavaliers and Tigers are both coming off exceptional 2012 seasons, and they’re a combined 4-1 this season.
Both squads feature explosive, big-play offenses with quarterbacks who can score from anywhere on the field.
Harris County quarterback TaQuon Marshall had three touchdown runs in last week’s game, including a 77-yard run, and folks around here are well aware of what Callaway quarterback Tez Parks can do.
Marshall and Parks are both surrounded by all sorts of play-makers, and both clubs have veteran, physical offensive lines.
For Callaway’s defense, facing a loaded offense is nothing new.
The Cavaliers opened the season against a high-powered Heard County offense, and they passed that test with flying colors in a 34-0 victory.
Two weeks later Callaway faced a Troup team with a powerful running attack.
The Cavaliers weren’t quite as dominant in a 34-21 win over the Tigers, but they forced five turnovers, and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.
So Callaway’s defense is ready for this challenge.
With an offense that has been unstoppable when Parks has been in the game (he missed some time against Troup with an injury), and a defense that is not only making stops but forcing turnovers and scoring off of them, look for Callaway to have another fun Friday night and remain unbeaten.
MY PICK: Callaway 30-21