The LaGrange Grangers’ quest to win a region championship took a major step forward Friday night.
Facing a strong Carrollton team in a Region 5-AAAA showdown, the Grangers broke open a tight game late en route to a 3-0 victory at Callaway Stadium.
The Grangers (6-2 overall) improved to 3-0 in the region, and they have four more region games to go.
“I’m proud of my guys,” LaGrange coach Keita Placide said. “There’s a reason why we’re ranked ninth in the state. There’s a reason. We knew coming in, it’s not going to be a gimme. We rode the storm. The second half, (Carrollton) came out playing excellent, and we told the kids, ride the storm.”
Trailing 1-0, Carrollton had a couple of excellent scoring chances early in the second half.
With 31 minutes remaining, a shot just missed the mark, and five minutes later a Carrollton shot hit the crossbar.
The outcome was still very much in doubt until the Grangers got goals from Jay Free and Jackson Fagundes less than two minutes apart, and with 9:13 showing on the clock, the home team suddenly had a 3-0 lead.
LaGrange also got a goal from Yimmi Posada.
“You know that the win is probably coming (after the second goal),” Fagundes said. “And then the third goal, you knew it. It was awesome.”
Beating Carrollton “means the world to us,” Fagundes said. “That’s the first time we’ve beaten Carrollton in like four years. It’s been awhile. My freshman year, they beat us about 6-0.”
LaGrange has now won six of its past seven games, and the one loss came on penalty kicks against Stone Mountain.
In their three region games, the Grangers have outscored Alexander, Shaw and Carrollton 7-0.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Placide said. “We’re starting to mature, and we’re starting to look like we need to be in that top 10. I’m really happy for the guys.”
In the girls’ game, Carrollton claimed a 5-0 victory.
The loss leaves the Lady Grangers with a 1-2 record in region play.