Tough night for Grangers

Published 12:06 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It was one of those nights.

The LaGrange Grangers arrived at Callaway Stadium on Friday night hopeful of breaking through for their first win of the season, but instead it was Villa Rica getting off to a fast start on the way to a 50-0 victory.

Villa Rica scored on all four of its offensive possessions in the first half while also getting a touchdown on an interception return to build a 41-0 lead at the half.

LaGrange’s defense tightened up in the second half and didn’t allow any points, but Mecose Todd returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and Villa Rica also scored on a safety after a blocked punt.

LaGrange (0-2), which opened with a 26-0 loss to Callaway last week, will look for its first win on Thursday when it hosts Griffin.

“We had six penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game that cost us some field position, which led to points to them,” LaGrange head coach Dialleo Burks said. “And we had a couple of let-downs on special teams. You can’t do that.”

For Villa Rica, it’s been smooth sailing so far.

Villa Rica opened with a 41-13 victory over Central-Carroll before getting the convincing road win over LaGrange.

“I think we made a lot of improvements from last week,” said Rico Zackery, Villa Rica’s first-year head coach. “We really wanted to work on coming out fast, and being able to finish, and we were able to do that tonight. I know there’s some things I’ll look back on that we need to improve on, but as long as we’re getting better every week that’s what matters.”

The Wildcats set the tone early.

After the Grangers went three-and-out on their first possession, the Wildcats covered 45 yards in five plays for their first score.

Todd, a sophomore running back, had a 7-yard scoring run, and Luke Darby made the first of his six exra points to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 7:44 left in the first quarter.

Following another LaGrange three-and-out, Villa Rica needed just three plays to go 46 yards.

Todd got things started with a 28-yard run, and Phillip Zachery scored on a 15-yard run.

A two-point attempt failed, and Villa Rica led 13-0 with 5:30 to play in the opening quarter.

The Grangers tried to get something going on their ensuing possession.

On third down, LaGrange quarterback Charles Crawford rolled out and completed an 11-yard pass to Jordan Ogletree for a first down.

The Grangers stalled, though, and they punted the ball back to the Wildcats, who went 64 yards in three plays for another touchdown.

Todd, who opened the drive with a 39-yard run, capped the drive with an 8-yard scoring run, and it was a 21-0 game with 39 seconds to play in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats kept it going with a 43-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, with Dushante Holloway scoring on a 6-yard run, and the Grangers trailed 27-0 with 7:57 to play in the half.

The Grangers got another first down on their ensuing possession with Crawford hooking up with Ogletree on an 11-yard completion, but they were forced to punt once again, and the Wildcats drove 65 yards for another score.

Noah Best, who was in at quarterback for Kelvin Stevenson, ripped off a 60-yard run, and the Wildcats led 34-0 with 2:16 left in the half.

The Villa Rica defense put the half’s final points on the scoreboard.

LaGrange quarterback Jakoby Smith was hit as he released the ball, and Kalil Humphreys came up with the interception.

Before he was tackled, Humphreys flipped the ball to Michael Hanson, who covered the rest of the ground for the touchdown, and Villa Rica led 41-0.

The 20-minute halftime break did nothing to slow the Wildcats, with Todd returning the kickoff for a touchdown.

Late in the third quarter, Villa Rica capped the scoring, with Vanquez Wheeler blocking a punt, and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

While the Grangers were unable to score in the second half, their defense fared better.

“We did some good things in the second half,” Burks said. “We had some guys really step up and play.”