Cougars get best of Grangers
by By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
The LaGrange Grangers will have to wait at least one more year to reverse their fortunes against the Newnan Cougars.
The Grangers came into Friday’s game at Callaway Stadium hoping to end a six-game losing streak against the Cougars, but they couldn’t make it happen.
LaGrange pulled even at 14-14 early in the third quarter, but Newnan scored the game’s next 28 points to claim a 42-20 victory in the renewal of the long-time rivalry.
“It’s disappointing,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “Newnan’s really good. I knew they were really good, but that was a winnable football game.”
The Grangers looked like they had momentum on their side when they recovered an onside kick at the start of the second half, which led to the tying touchdown.
Mon Denson scored on a 50-yard scoring run, and Taylor Stanford converted the extra point to make it a 14-14 game 50 seconds into the second half.
The Cougars marched right back down the field for the go-ahead touchdown, though, with quarterback Bailey Bryant throwing a 20-yard scoring pass to 6-foot-8 receiver Immanual Griggs.
Later in the quarter, J.K. Britt caught a screen pass from Bryant and raced 68 yards for another touchdown, and the Cougars led 28-14 with 4:04 showing on the clock.
A long punt return gave Newnan the ball at the LaGrange 39-yard line a few minutes later, and Kelvin Khayyam capped that short drive with a 27-yard touchdown run, and the Cougars were ahead 35-14 at the close of the third quarter.
The Grangers fumbled deep in their own territory on their ensuing possession, and Damion Key’s short run gave the Cougars their fourth consecutive touchdown, and the lead was 42-14 with 10:48 left in the game.
Needing a spark, the Grangers got it with Benny Gray sprinting 43 yards on a screen pass from quarterback Wynton Heard.
On the next play, Heard beat the Newnan defense for a 44-yard touchdown, and the Grangers were down 42-20 with more than 10 minutes left.
The Cougars, following a long kickoff return deep into LaGrange territory, fumbled the ball away, and the Grangers recovered at their own 19-yard line.
The Grangers couldn’t put anything together, though, and they had to punt, and neither team did much offensively the rest of the way.
In the first half, LaGrange put together a terrific opening drive to take the lead.
The Grangers had an 11-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Heard dropping a perfect 24-yard pass into the hands of Tavone Rivers, and Stanford made the extra point.
Newnan tied it early in the second quarter, with Bryant throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Randell Arnold on first down.
The Cougars took the lead with 7:43 left in the first half on an 8-yard touchdown run by Tim Hardaway.
Newnan looked like it was going to extend the lead late in the first half when it had the ball inside the LaGrange 10-yard line, but a lost fumble ended that threat.
LaGrange ran one play, and it was on to the half, with Newnan leading 14-7.
LaGrange will be back at it on Friday for a road game at Harris County.
OF NOTE: For more on the Newnan game, see Monday’s sports section
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