Perfect region run for Grangers

By Kevin Eckleberry

April 13, 2014

Going unbeaten through a challenging region schedule is impressive enough.

The LaGrange Grangers didn’t just win all seven of their region matches, though, they nearly did it without allowing a goal.

Only Sandy Creek managed to score a goal against LaGrange during Region 5-AAAA competition.

The Grangers won six of their region matches by shutout, and they had to “settle” for a 2-1 victory over Sandy Creek.

LaGrange capped its perfect run through region play with a 3-0 victory over Troup on Friday.

LaGrange had already wrapped up the region championship, but beating Troup was “kind of like the cherry on top” according to senior Jay Free.

The match was scoreless at the half, but LaGrange scored a couple of quick goals in the second half to take control.

“We knew they were going to bring it. They always do,” Free said of Troup. “They’re a tough team to play every year. I’m proud of my boys. We kept our composure.”

Free said the Grangers faced some adversity in the first half, and they used the halftime break to settle down.

“The first half, I’m not going to lie, a couple of people were fussing with each other, a couple of people were getting on each other,” Free said. “Coach said, take a couple of minutes. And look what happened.”

What happened was Griffin Bartley scored a goal early in the second half, and moments later, he scored another one to give the Grangers a 2-0 lead.

Jackson Fagundes capped the scoring late in the game to give the Grangers their final three-goal cushion.

The Grangers improved to 11-3, and they bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Spalding County earlier in the week.

Spalding County was just the second team this season to score more than one goal against the Grangers, and it was the first time that had happened since the opening match of the season.

In their seven region matches, the Grangers outscored their opponents 15-1.

“The guys have a chemistry. They trust one another,” LaGrange coach Keita Placide said. “It’s been a great season so far, and hopefully we can push forward.”

In Friday’s match, LaGrange’s defense was once again superb, and when Troup did get a shot away, LaGrange goal keeper Michael Coffman was on the spot with the save.

Placide said Coffman has been huge for the team this season.

“You’re looking at a captain who has been a steady rock behind us, coming up with big saves at big points at times,” Placide said.

The Grangers have three regular-season matches remaining before beginning the state tournament at home.

“We’ve got a couple of tough games, a couple of the road, and one on Monday,” Placide said. “Hopefully we can get through without any injuries and look forward to (state).”