When Jackson Fagundes was playing youth soccer, he remembers having a point-blank look at the net after he beat the goal keeper.
Fagundes, looking to show off his strong leg, misfired on what appeared to be a sure-fire goal.
“I think I was 12, we were in a tournament, and I beat the keeper, and I was looking at the goal, and I just hit it as hard as I could to show off, and it went right over the goal,” Fagundes said after Tuesday’s 3-0 state-playoff win over Cedartown.
Ever since then, when Fagundes has been in a similar situation, he doesn’t worry about style points, he just makes sure to put the ball in the net.
In the second half of Tuesday’s game, Fagundes put a nice move on the goal keeper, and he was confronted with an empty net.
Fagundes tapped the ball into the net with his left foot to give LaGrange a 2-0 lead.
Later in the half, Fagundes ripped the ball past the goal keeper for his second goal of the game, and his 12th of the season, including a preseason win over Newnan.
It was Fagundes’ third multi-goal match of the season.
He had three goals in a 4-1 win over Harris County, and he had two goals against Newnan.
DEFENSE SHINES AGAIN: The Grangers usually don’t need to do a whole lot of scoring to win.
That was the case again Tuesday, with LaGrange’s defense keeping Cedartown off the scoreboard in a 3-0 victory.
Including a 4-0 win over Newnan in a preseason game, LaGrange has won 10 of its matches with a shutout.
In 15 of their 18 games this season, the Grangers have allowed one or fewer goals.
Cedartown got a few decent looks at the goal, but goal keeper Michael Coffman only had to make four saves.
“Our defense is just constant,” LaGrange coach Keita Placide said. “It just always keeps you in the game.”
FINISHING STRONG: Almost without fail, the LaGrange Grangers have been the better team down the stretch, and that’s due in large part to the fitness of the players.
The Grangers spend a lot of time working on their soccer skills, but they also put a lot of effort into making sure they’ll be able to sprint across the finish line.
“Conditioning is important,” Placide said. “Right about now we’re going two-a-days, and that’s what we have to do. Nobody’s going to give us this. We want it really bad.”
Fagundes said if you play soccer for LaGrange, you better be prepared to run a lot.
“He runs the crap out of us,” Fagundes said of Placide. “It’s really easy at the end of the game. We’re not huffing and puffing.”
In Tuesday’s game against Cedartown, the Grangers dominated the closing stretch of the game, turning a 1-0 lead midway through the second half into a 3-0 victory.
“The first 10 minutes, I’m going at it, and I’m tired,” Fagundes said. “The more the game goes, the more energy you get somehow.”
WHO’S NEXT?: The Grangers will have to wait awhile to see who they’ll be hosting in the second round of the state playoffs on Tuesday.
Stone Mountain and Chestatee won’t play until Saturday, with the winner of that game facing off against LaGrange.
LaGrange and Stone Mountain have already played once this season.
On March 1, Stone Mountain won 2-1 on penalty kicks.
That match was played at Stone Mountain, and the rematch would be at Callaway Stadium.