By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
November 1, 2013
For the first time in the history of the school, someone other than Todd Mooney will be leading the LaGrange College Panthers on to the field.
When the Panthers host Christopher Newport at 6 p.m. today in a USA South game, Matt Mumme will be calling the shots as the head coach.
Mooney, who had been the program’s only head coach since its first season in 2006, stepped down on Thursday, and the school decided to promote Mumme, who had been the offensive coordinator.
Mumme is in his first season with the Panthers.
The Panthers will try to put the distractions to the side and try to get a big USA South win.
After last week’s heart-breaking 43-41 loss to Methodist, the Panthers are 3-4 overall, and 3-2 in the conference.
The Panthers are two games behind Maryville in the conference standings, so to have any chance at winning the conference title, they have to win today.
Christopher Newport, which has dominated the USA South over the years, is 5-2 overall, and 2-2 in the conference.
This will be the second all-time meeting between the two schools.
A year ago, LaGrange College won at Christopher Newport 20-6.
The Panthers will bring a high-powered offense into today’s game.
With junior quarterback Graham Craig at the helm, the Panthers are averaging 38 points and 507 yards per game.
Craig has completed 61 percent of his passes, and he is averaging 394 yards per game.
Craig has also thrown 28 touchdowns, an average of four per game.
Six players have caught at least 17 passes, including junior Griffin Roelle, who leads the way with 43 catches, and he’s second on the team with nine touchdowns.
Ervens Oge has 39 catches, and Marsalis Jackson has hauled in 29 catches, and he leads the team with 10 touchdowns while averaging an amazing 25 yards per catch.
Marquius Young has 19 catches from his running-back position, and Ed Russ, who was the team’s starting quarterback a year ago, has 18 catches, and Josh Hardrick has 17.
Freshman Shaqualm McCoy leads the running game with 270 yards, and Young has 240 yards.
The Panthers have struggled defensively, and they’ll look to get that turned around today.
The Panthers have given up at least 40 points in three straight games, and they’re allowing 37.7 points per game.
Senior linebacker Andre Carter is having another phenomenal season for the Panthers.
Carter, who led the Panthers in tackles as a sophomore and a junior, leads the way this season with 68 tackles, and he’s also tops with 11.5 tackles for loss.
Freshman linebacker Jordan Chambers is next with 56 tackles, and he is second to Chambers with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Christopher Newport, meanwhile, has been getting it done with defense this season.
The Captains are giving up just 14 points per game, and they’ve held three of their opponents to less than 10 points.
The Captains have struggled at times offensively this season, but they’re coming off their high point total of the year in a 42-13 win over Greensboro.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Captains scored six touchdowns in the final three quarters.
Quarterback Marcus Morrast threw for 201 yards with a touchdown, and he also ran for 56 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
This will be the Panthers’ final home game of the season.
LaGrange College finishes the regular season with road games against Ferrum (Va.) and Averett (Va.).
OF NOTE: Andre Carter’s 61-yard fumble return for a touchdown in last week’s 43-41 loss to Methodist was selected as the USA South play of the week. Fans had a chance to vote for the top play, and Carter’s return won easily with 72 percent of the vote.