Returning from their off week, the Grangers are spending this week preparing for a whale of a challenge in their third game of the season.
After splitting with Newnan and Harris County in its first two games, LaGrange will take on Class AAA powerhouse Thomson on Friday at Callaway Stadium.
Thomson is ranked second in Class AAA, and it boasts a season-opening victory over Burke County, which won the Class AAA state championship a year ago.
“Newnan is a really good team, but this is, by far, the best team we’ve played,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “That’s what I want people to know. This is a team that is going to be contending for a state championship in a great classification.”
Branch said Thomson called and requested 1,000 tickets, and impressive number considering the school is nearly three hours away.
“Those folks take their football really seriously,” Branch said. “I’m hoping our people really show up and we pack that stadium.”
Thomson started the 2011 season 9-0 before losing in its regular-season finale and in the opening round of the state playoffs to finish 9-2.
The Bulldogs figured to be a strong team coming into the season, and then they came out and knocked off Burke County 21-14 in the opening week.
Thomson followed that up with a 51-27 victory over Lakeside, and a 21-14 win over St. Pius X.
“These cats are the real deal,” Branch said. “They’ve got a fullback who is a 215-pound guy that can run you over or out-run you. They’ve got two running backs who are game-breakers. They’ve got a quarterback that is mobile who can throw and run. The offensive line is physical, the tight end is Super 11 and going to South Carolina.”
Branch said the Bulldogs run a power offense, but they have the ability to produce big plays out of it.
“They trick you because they run a power offense, but they’re home-run hitters,” Branch said. “They run power plays, but they become 60-yard plays because of the skill that they have. We have a challenge on our hands. We’re going to have to play really well.”
Branch said a key for his team will be getting it done on the offensive end to keep Thomson’s high-powered attack on the sidelines.
“Offensively, if we’re efficient, it keeps them over there, keeps the clock moving, the chains moving,” Branch said. “We have to be able to move the football. Against a team like this, if you’re not moving it, they’re hitting you with body shots. We have to limit their opportunities.”
LaGrange is coming off an impressive showing against Harris County.
The Grangers were dominant on the defensive end, and they chewed up huge chunks of yardage on the offensive end.
Senior wide receiver Dee Smith had nearly 200 receiving yards with a pair of touchdowns.
Branch is hopeful the Grangers can continue to play well this week, and hopefully get a winning streak started heading into Region 5-AAAA play next week.
“I believe that this team can get on a roll,” Branch said. “I want our kids to be playing Sandy Creek (on Oct. 26) on a six-game winning streak.”