Kickoff time for Grangers, Cavaliers

Published 12:21 am Friday, August 18, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The Callaway Cavaliers have lost one regular-season game during the past two seasons, and that came on opening night in 2015.

With quarterback LaPerion Perry leading the way, LaGrange rolled to a 44-20 victory over Callaway.

Since that setback, the Cavaliers have ripped off 19 consecutive regular-season victories, and that included a 37-6 win over the Grangers a year ago.

Overall, Callaway has won 24 of 26 games since that 2015 setback to LaGrange, with both of the losses coming in the playoffs to the team that went on to capture the state championship.

LaGrange’s fortunes have gone in the other direction since that game in 2015.

The Grangers finished 5-5 in 2015 and missed the playoffs, and they struggled to a 2-8 record a year ago.

All that will mean nothing today, though, when LaGrange and Callaway meet in the season opener for the fourth consecutive season.

Both teams put the finishing touches on their preseason preparations on Thursday, and they’ll kick things off at 7:30 p.m. today before what should be a packed house at Callaway Stadium.

While the Cavaliers are looking to continue their winning ways, the Grangers are hoping to turn things around after a difficult year.

“With the year we had last year, we don’t want that to carry over,” said Dialleo Burks, LaGrange’s fourth-year head coach. “We want to stop that circle, and start something new.”

Pete Wiggins, who has been Callaway’s head coach since 2005, said a key to the program’s success has been the ability to not look too far down the road.

“We always take it one week at a time,” Wiggins said. “As far as goals on the season, it’s always let’s get better every day, get better every play, and I feel like the kids do a good job of that. They come to work each day with a purpose, and I think that makes it very special.”

While LaGrange will play four non-region games, Callaway will play five games before beginning its Region 5-AA schedule.

Both teams have some big-time challenges ahead.

Next week, Callaway will host Handley, which won a state championship in Alabama a year ago.

Callaway follows that up with games against Columbus, Upson-Lee and Harris County before opening region play against Lamar County.

All five of Callaway’s non-region opponents play in higher classifications.

“For us being a AA school, that’s really good competition,” Wiggins said.

After today’s game, LaGrange will play Villa Rica, Griffin and East Coweta before starting Region 5-AAAA play against Central-Carroll.