Granger defender shines in loss

Published 6:37 pm Monday, September 4, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – He was all over the field.

It was a tough night for the LaGrange Grangers, who lost to Griffin 31-0 last week, but there were some bright spots.

One of those bright spots was the performance of junior defensive back Vondez Taylor.

Taylor was in double digits in tackles with 11, including one for loss, and he also had one of his team’s three interceptions.

Lequincy Shepard and Chris Watson also had interceptions for the Grangers, and Laracco Glaze broke up a pass in the end zone.

LaGrange head coach Dialleo Burks said Taylor is one of the success stories of the program.

“He’s come a long way,” Burks said. “From the first day he came in, he said he’s got a dream of playing on the next level. And we’ve put him to the test, mentally and physically. To take a kid like that to have him playing at the level he’s playing at, that’s what it’s all about.”

Burks was also proud of Watson, who bounced back from some adversity during the game.

“Chris Watson got beat for a touchdown, and he didn’t hang his head at all, and he came back and had an interception,” Burks said.

Late in the fourth quarter, Shephard had an interception in the end zone to keep Griffin from padding its lead.

“The defensive backs played very well,” Burks said. “I’m very proud of the defense.”

Defensive lineman Darwin Gomez and linebacker Dexter Fitzpatrick each had three tackles, defensive back Mon Beasley had a pair of tackles, and linebacker Omar Athcherson had a tackle for loss.

While the defense is holding its own, LaGrange’s offense is looking for answers.

The Grangers were limited to fewer than 30 yards in last week’s game, and they also had three turnovers.

Senior running back Cornell Kendrick ran for 26 yards on 12 carries.

Dylan Norvell provided a spark with 19 yards on just two attempts.

Quarterback Jakoby Smith had one completion that went for 11 yards to Jordan Ogletree.

LaGrange (0-3) will look for a breakthrough win on Friday when it visits East Coweta.

It will be LaGrange’s final non-region game before it opens Region 5-AAAA play against Central-Carroll.

“You can’t let that (doubt) creep in,” Burks said. “The adversity of looking up on that scoreboard and seeing that we don’t have anything, and that we’re behind, it’s easy to get to that point where you start pointing fingers.  And it’s on all 11. We’re going to continue to focus on our guys doing their jobs.”