Panthers, Scots set for showdown
by By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
Through the first couple of weeks of conference play, there are only three teams yet to lose a USA South game.
After today, that number will drop by at least one.
The LaGrange College Panthers and Maryville College Scots are both 2-0 in the conference, and they’ll each try to keep the good times rolling when they square off at 1 p.m. at Callaway Stadium.
LaGrange College is looking to build on its impressive 50-26 victory over North Carolina-Wesleyan, and Maryville blanked Averett 48-0 last week.
“They’re talented. They’re doing things the right way, and they don’t make mistakes,” LaGrange College head coach Todd Mooney said of the Scots. “They’re going to play hard, they’re not going to mess up, and you’re going to have to line up and beat them, and not count on some of the other things that sometimes happen.”
Maryville (4-1 overall) has been cruising along with a prolific, balanced offense.
The Scots are averaging 36 points and 477 yards per game, and they’re getting it done on the ground, and in the air.
Quarterback Evan Pittenger is completing 63 percent of his passes, and he is averaging 180 yards per game.
Travis Felder headlines the running game with 521 yards and eight touchdowns, and Evan Pittenger has 367 yards with six touchdowns.
The Scots haven’t been too shabby on defense either, holding opponents to 16 points per game.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are scoring 36 points per game, and they’ve been doing it mostly with the passing game.
Quarterback Graham Craig is having a remarkable season.
The junior, who transferred from Valdosta State, is completing 60 percent of his passes, and he is averaging 388 yards per game while throwing 15 touchdown passes.
Craig has completed passes to 14 different players, including junior Griffin Roelle, who leads the team with 21 catches and seven touchdowns.
Defensively, the Panthers are allowing 33 points per game, but they’ve been terrific on that side of the ball in conference play.
Last week against North Carolina-Wesleyan, the Panthers played their most complete game of the season.
They rolled to a 27-0 lead after the first quarter, and they were up 34-0 at the half.
LaGrange College was up 43-6 before North Carolina-Wesleyan scored a couple of late touchdowns.
The week before, LaGrange College beat Greensboro 35-21, but Mooney felt the team had plenty of areas where it could improve.
A week later, LaGrange College delivered a dominant performance against North Carolina-Wesleyan.
“After beating Greensboro, we were really excited about the win, yet we all walked off the field knowing we didn’t play the kind of football we were capable of, and had a lot to fix,” Mooney said. “I’d like to say I challenged them, but we really didn’t, because they knew. We spent the whole week talking about, let’s make sure that we address everything we have to address in practice this week to make sure that that output completely changes. That’s what was most satisfying to me, was that those guys did that all week, and then came out and saw how much difference that made for them, in every phase of the game.”
And as for today’s game, Mooney said “I can’t wait to see what happens when we get out on the field. These guys are about as motivated as I’ve ever seen them.”
WHO: Maryville College (4-1, 2-0 in USA South) vs. LaGrange College (2-2, 2-0)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
LAST YEAR: LaGrange College beat Maryville 17-13
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