Big fall season for LHS, Callaway
By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
The LaGrange High football team missed the state playoffs for the first time since 1999, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a successful fall sports season for the school.
Thanks mainly to the exceptional performance of the cross-country teams, LaGrange High found itself in 11th place in the Georgia Athletic Directors Association Directors Cup standings after all of the fall sports were completed.
The standings measure a school’s success in all of the sports, and in the fall that included football, cross country, softball, volleyball and cheerleading.
LaGrange accumulated the 11th most points in Class AAAA.
Callaway, meanwhile, was in 15th place in Class AAA after the fall season, and half of the points came from the football team’s trip to the state semifinals.
Troup was in 49th place in Class AAAA.
The LaGrange boys’ cross-country team received 90 points for its second-place finish in the state meet.
LaGrange finished second to Marist at state, with Andrew Coggins leading the way with a fourth-place finish.
Sam Bowie was sixth, Garrett Cashwell was ninth, and Jonathan Pelham was 10th, giving LaGrange four finishers in the top 10.
LaGrange’s boys’ program has made huge strides the past few years, and head coach Brad Wilson said it’s a matter of having a bunch of runners with a great work ethic.
“You have to have kids who are willing to work,” Wilson said. “That’s the biggest thing is how many kids are not willing to do it. When we first started, we ran some kids off. The ones that stuck with it, they’ve been more than up to the task. It’s what they do over the summer when we can’t even be around. When they get out there in late May, June and July, that’s when championships are won.”
The LaGrange girls’ team finished sixth, with Sarah Bearden leading the way with an 11th-place finish, and Ellie Doerr and Alaina Tomlinson also had strong showings.
LaGrange’s cheerleading team also contributed in a big way with an eighth-place finish in the state competition.
It was the best ever state finish for a LaGrange cheerleading team.
LaGrange also got points from the softball team that had a stellar season.
LaGrange got a tough break when it was matched up against Northwest Whitfield in the first round of the state tournament.
LaGrange lost two tough games to a Northwest team that went on to capture the state championship.
Callaway received 162 points during the fall, and 83 of those points came from football.
The Cavaliers enjoyed the finest season in school history.
They finished 12-2 to set a school record for wins, and they also made it to the semifinals for the first time in school history.
In the semifinals, Callaway lost to eventual state-champion Buford 24-14.
It was the closest any team came to beating Buford all season.
“I am so proud of our kids for obviously the way they played Friday night, but also the way they played all year, the way they’ve handled adversity all year,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “Not every day has been perfect. But they came to work at practice, and in the weight room, and it has paid off for them. They’re a great group of young men, and I’m so very proud of them.”
Callaway also got 25 points from its softball team that made it to the state tournament, as well as the girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams who both qualified for the state meet.
Troup finished with 50 points during the fall season.
Half of those points came from the football team, which finished third in Region 5-AAAA and lost to Gilmer County in the first round of the state playoffs.
Troup also got 25 points from the girls’ volleyball team, which lost to Heritage in the first round of the state tournament.
It was a successful season for the Lady Tigers, who should be positioned to enjoy another strong season next fall.
“We lost two seniors. We’ll miss them, but we should be OK next year,” Troup coach Jodi Dowden said. “Hopefully we’ll be back in the first round again, and we’ll have a different story next year. We’ve got a good future ahead of us.”
OF NOTE: For a look at the complete Directors Cup standings, go to gadaonline.net
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