Facing the winless Alexander Cougars Friday night at Callaway Stadium, the Grangers built a 42-7 lead in the third quarter before holding on for a 42-28 victory.
The Grangers (4-2 overall) improved to 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA, while the Cougars (0-6) fell to 0-3 in region play.
“We got out of here with a win, but we’ve got to go to work,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “That wasn’t very good. That’s not going to win any games down the road.”
It was still a win, though, and Branch will take it.
“The good news is, we won,” he said. “We’ll take it and move on.”
It was a 28-0 game at the half, and after the Cougars scored to get within 21, the Grangers notched two more touchdowns to build their 42-7 lead late in the third quarter.
The Cougars scored two touchdowns in the closing moments of the third quarter, including one on an interception return, and they added another score in the fourth quarter before the comeback stalled.
LaGrange’s first touchdown came with 4:53 to go in the first quarter when quarterback Zach Giddens scored on an 11-yard run, and Taylor Stanford made the first of his six extra points to make it 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, Giddens found Dee Smith for a 40-yard touchdown pass, and it was a 14-0 game.
The Grangers struck again in the second quarter, going 76 yards in nine plays, with Demoton Boyd capping the drive with a 15-yard run.
After an Xavier Hatten interception, the Grangers had the ball deep in Alexander territory, and Giddens scored on a 10-yard run to push the lead to 28-0 with two minutes left in the half.
The Cougars came charging out of the gate in the third quarter, going 75 yards in 17 plays, with quarterback Brian Danserau scoring ona 6-yard run with 6:12 showing on the clock.
Andrew Chandler made the first of his four extra points to get the Cougars with seven.
Back came the Grangers.
After a long kickoff return from Smith deep into Alexander territory, Giddens dumped a screen pass to running back Benny Gray, who went 20 yards for the touchdown with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
After an Alexander punt, the Grangers scored again, this time on a Boyd 36-yard touchdown run, and the lead was 35 points with 2:53 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cougars were far from done, though.
On the Cougars’ ensuing possession, they drove 61 yards for the touchdown, with Mikell Lands scoring on a 39-yard run with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
Moments later, Alexander’s defense got into the act, with Brandon Boss returning an interception for a touchdown, and as the third quarter ended, LaGrange’s lead was down to 42-21.
In the fourth quarter, after a LaGrange fumble, the Cougars needed just three plays to go 50 yards and get within 14.
A McGregor 42-yard pass from Dansereau got the Cougars close, and Lands capped the drive with a 2-yard scoring run, and it was a two-touchdown game.
When they got the ball back, the Grangers were able to hang onto the ball after two straight fumbles, and although they didn’t score, they ran more than four minutes off the clock before a fourth-down play failed at the Alexander 20-yard line.
The Cougars made it as far as the LaGrange 26-yard line before time ran out.