It doesn’t matter what the LaGrange Grangers do in their final five regular-season games, their position as the champion of Region 5-AAAA is secure.
That doesn’t mean the Grangers are planning on taking their foot off the accelerator, though.
The Grangers will host Spalding County today, and they’ll take on the rival Troup Tigers on Friday in their region finale.
LaGrange then has games against Central-Carroll, Whitewater and Brookstone before beginning the state playoffs on April 29.
Today’s game, which begins at 5:30 p.m., figures to offer a stern test for LaGrange.
After Friday’s 4-0 win over Locust Grove, Spalding County is 10-2-1, and it is cruising to the Region 4-AAAA championship with an 8-0 record.
“You’re looking at a team coming in ranked fifth. You never know when you have to meet them up again,” LaGrange coach Keita Placide said. “You definitely want to send a message that hey, we’re not to be reckoned with right about now. Hopefully we can go and send that message that anybody who comes to LaGrange, that it’s going to be a hard game for them.”
The Grangers haven’t played since March 27 when they beat the Columbus Blue Devils to wrap up the region title.
The team didn’t practice last week during spring break, but Placide did get the players together on Sunday at Granger Park.
“I wanted to make sure they were ready to go,” Placide said. “Hopefully the players got some rest.”
Placide said the time off “gave us some time to look at their accomplishments. We’ve had an amazing year. Hopefully we can step up and keep pushing on.”
The Grangers are 10-2, and since a season-opening loss to East Coweta, their only setback came on March 1 when they lost on penalty kicks at Stone Mountain.
The Grangers, who have risen to third in the Class AAAA poll, have been particularly dominant in region play.
In six region matches, LaGrange has scored 12 goals and allowed just one.
Only Sandy Creek among the region opponents managed to score a goal against LaGrange.
As for today’s game, Placide said “I look for it to be a mental game coming off the week’s rest.”
LaGrange will then turn its attention to Troup, and Placide is expecting a tough game.
“It’s an in-town rivalry. No matter the season they’re having, they’re going to step up to the plate,” Placide said. “They’re going to bring their best game forward. We’re looking forward to that game.”
Today’s girls’ game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and the Lady Grangers will play their first game since they lost to Columbus 2-0 on March 27.
That loss dropped the Lady Grangers (5-7 overall) to 2-4 in the region, and while they’re a long shot to make the playoffs, they have five games left to finish the season on an upnote.
Also this week, the Troup soccer teams will return to action with a pair of Region 5-AAAA matches.
On Wednesday, Troup’s teams will visit Columbus High, and they’ll return to Callaway Stadium on Friday to face LaGrange.
The Lady Tigers are 2-3 in the region, and the Tigers are 1-4.
Callaway’s soccer teams, meanwhile, won’t play this week, and they’ll return to the field on April 15 at Rockmart.
In private-school soccer this week, the LaGrange Academy girls’ team will look to continue its momentum with three games.
The Lady Warriors, who are 5-0, will play four games this week, including two against Lafayette Christian School.
LaGrange Academy will visit Lafayette Christian today before traveling to Terrell Academy on Wednesday.
LaGrange Academy will be at home against Lafayette Christian on Thursday, and it will host Arlington Christian on Saturday.