Local rivals to lock horns on soccer field

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

By Kevin Eckleberry


LAGRANGE – Today’s county showdown between LaGrange and Troup highlights what will be a busy week on the soccer field for the local teams.

The teams from Callaway, LaGrange, Troup, LaGrange Academy and Lafayette Christian will all be on the field this week.

First up will be today’s rivalry games between LaGrange and Troup at Gardner Newman Middle School.

The girls’ game will be played at 5:30 p.m., and the boys’ game will follow at 7:30 p.m.

In today’s late game, the Troup Tigers will put their 3-1-1 record on the line when they take on the Grangers.

Troup was supposed to open its Region 5-AAAA schedule last week against Woodward Academy, but the game was postponed.

In their most recent game, the Tigers fought the home-standing Opelika Bulldogs to a 1-1 tie on March 1.

The LaGrange Grangers, meanwhile, are 1-5 overall and 0-1 in Region 1-AAAAA, and they are coming off a home loss to Smith’s Station on Friday.

While Troup is an experienced team led by a bunch of men who have been starting for multiple years, LaGrange is in the midst of a rebuilding process after replacing more than 10 seniors from last year’s team.

Only a handful of LaGrange players, including senior Matthew Thomas, were signficant contributors on last year’s team that advanced to the state playoffs.

At practice last week, Thomas said the team is making progress day by day.

“We’ve come together as a team,” Thomas said. “We’re playing, talking a lot better than we did at the beginning of the year.”

Troup’s veteran players are hoping to make the most out of what appears to be an extremely promising season.

The Tigers have put together some impressive results, and including their preseason game against Harris, they’ve only allowed five goals in six games.

“I think that we have an extremely good chance to go to state and make it far,” said Thomas Trotter, one of the many veterans on the team. “It’s my senior year. It’d be great to do that.”

In today’s girls’ game, Troup will be looking for its first win, while LaGrange will try for its second win.

The Lady Grangers lost a heart-breaker in last week’s region opener against Northside.

The game was scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods, and Northside ended up winning on penalty kicks.

LaGrange and Troup will both be back in action on Friday.

LaGrange will play Central-Phenix City at Gardner Newman, while Troup will host Hardaway at the Troup County Soccer Complex.

The Callaway Cavaliers are set to play their long-awaited Region 5-AAA opener today when they host the Cedartown Bulldogs.

Callaway has had four straight region games postponed because of poor weather, but that should change today since the forecast calls for sunny skies.

The Cavaliers, who haven’t played since Feb. 26 when they lost on the road to the Shaw Raiders, are 3-1.

The Lady Cavaliers (5-0), meanwhile, were able to complete one region game when they blanked Haralson County 10-0 on Feb. 23, and they were tied with Rockmart 4-4 when the game was called in the second half.

Callaway’s teams will visit Haralson County on Thursday as they continue their region schedules.

LaGrange Academy’s girls’ team will make its home debut on Thursday when it plays Weber at 5 p.m.

Lafayette Christian School’s girls’ team will visit Central-Christian on Thursday for a region game.

Both Lafayette Christian teams will be in action on Friday and Saturday in a tournament hosted by Sherwood Christian School in Albany.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports