It wasn’t a bad start for the LaGrange Grangers.
Although they didn’t score on their opening possession, they picked up a few first downs and showed some nice balance.
There were a couple of long runs, and quarterback Amad Ogletree completed a pair of passes.
The Grangers ended up punting, but they’d shown they could move the ball.
When the Grangers got the ball a second time, they were hoping to get on the move again, and hopefully put some points on the board.
Instead, on second down, Troup came up with an interception, leading to a touchdown.
It only got worse for the Grangers in what turned out to be a disastrous first half.
In addition to the interception, the Grangers also had a fumble, and a muffed kickoff return.
All three miscues let to Troup touchdowns.
After the initial possession that netted some positive returns, the Grangers didn’t get another first down, and they had less than 10 yards of total offense.
Troup’s offense, meanwhile, scored on five straight possessions in the first half.
By the time the first half came to a close, the Grangers were stunned, staring at a 36-0 deficit.
The Grangers played much better in the second half, but they still ended up losing 36-14.
That came on the heels of a 20-14 opening-night loss to the Callaway Cavaliers in a game where the Grangers led 14-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
“Everything that could happened for a team to lose a game, we’ve pretty much encountered all of that,” LaGrange head coach Dialleo Burks said. “So now, we don’t have a choice but to go up. We can’t get worse.”
Burks was encouraged by what he saw from his team in the second half.
The Grangers didn’t turn the ball over while scoring two touchdowns, and they kept the Tigers from adding to their point total.
“It’s a testament to who they are, and what the coaching staff can get out of them, for them to come back and put on that performance in the second half,” Burks said. “We just have to take care of the football, and come out and do what we have to do, and hopefully things will go our way.”
The Grangers notched their first touchdown with 7:05 left in the third quarter, with Mon Denson’s 5-yard scoring run capping a 40-yard drive.
Nathan Patton’s extra point cut Troup’s lead to 36-7.
The Grangers put together another nice drive when they got the ball back, moving the ball from their own 23-yard line to midfield, with Ogletree completing a 21-yard pass to Laperion Perry.
The Grangers ended up punting, but when they got the ball for a final time, they found the end zone again.
With the clock approaching zero, Ogletree dropped back and threw the ball deep toward wide receiver Mike Hardy.
The ball was tipped by a Troup defender, and it settled into Hardy’s hands, and he trotted into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown with nine seconds left.
While the Grangers did some nice things in the second half, the night belonged to the Tigers, but Burks said all the players can do is put it behind them, although losing to a cross-town rival is never easy.
“They’re going to have to live with it for a whole year,” Burks said. “They’ll hear about it until next August. We just want to move along and put it past us. We still have two more non-region games and then the region games are when it really gets going.”