Facing a drastically overmatched Columbus squad, the LaGrange Grangers figured to charge out to a huge halftime lead before emptying the bench in the second half.
That’s precisely what happened Thursday night at Kinnett Stadium, with the Grangers storming to a 41-0 halftime lead before winning 41-7.
“All in all, it was OK,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said of the performance. “Defensively, we dominated, and that was good. We did a lot of good things.”
Still, there were a few areas of concern with some touchdowns called back because of penalties to go along with two first-half turnovers.
“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. It’s one or the other,” Branch said. “I hope we’re a little sharper next week.”
LaGrange (3-2 overall), which improved to 2-0 in Region 5-AAAA, will host Alexander next Friday.
While LaGrange’s first-team offense had its way when it wasn’t committing penalties or turning the ball over, the defense gave up just about nothing.
In the first half, when the LaGrange starters were on the field, Columbus was held to a staggering minus 50 yards.
Columbus did score a late touchdown against LaGrange’s reserves.
Offensively, quarterback Zach Giddens had another big night, throwing for 183 yards and four touchdowns in the first half on eight-of-10 passing.
The only two passes Giddens didn’t complete were picked off by Columbus’ Ivan Rome.
Wide receiver Dee Smith, who is having a phenomenal senior season, caught a pair of scoring passes from Giddens, and Dee Gates and Demoton Boyd also had touchdown catches.
Boyd and Mon Denson chipped in with scoring runs.
LaGrange scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes to go up 14-0.
Giddens got the scoring started with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Smith.
Smith, also a starter at linebacker, picked off a pass to give the ball back to LaGrange.
After Giddens found Qua Baldwin for a 43-yard completion, Boyd capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:01 showing on the clock, and Taylor Stanford’s second extra point made it 14-0.
After a Columbus put, LaGrange went 59 yards for the score, with Denson getting the final 42 of those yards for the touchdown run, and Stanford’s kick pushed the lead to 21-0.
In the second quarter, LaGrange went up 28-0 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Giddens to Smith and Stanford’s fourth extra point.
Less than two minutes later, after a Columbus fumble, Boyd caught a screen pass from Giddens and went 22 yards for the touchdown.
Michael Ward’s extra point was true, and LaGrange led 35-0 with 7:26 left in the half.
With 4:12 remaining in the quarter, LaGrange capped its scoring when Giddens found Gates for a 12-yard touchdown.
In the second half, Branch made sure to get as many players as possible into the game, although that was challenging since the clock didn’t stop.
“The running clock in the second half, I was scrambling to get kids in,” Branch said.