Panthers look for home win

Published 12:34 am Saturday, September 23, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – They’ve got a win under their belt, now the LaGrange College Panthers will try to pick up victory number one on their home field.

After dropping its first two games, LaGrange College’s football team broke through for a 39-30 road win over Methodist last week in its USA South opener.

LaGrange College will step out of conference play today to take on Brevard at Callaway Stadium, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

Brevard’s season has followed a similar path.

Brevard (N.C.) lost its first two games before overwhelming Greensboro 63-7 last week.

LaGrange College began the season with a heart-breaking 29-25 loss to Birmingham Southern, and it fell to 0-2 with a 28-14 road loss to Berry.

LaGrange College trailed by nine points in the second half against Methodist, but it scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions to secure the conference win.

It was not only the first win of the season for the Panthers, but it was Steve Pardue’s initial victory as LaGrange College’s head coach.

“It’s great to get the first win and be 1-0 in the conference,” Pardue said following the Methodist game. “We’ll try to keep the momentum going next week against Brevard.”

Since Pardue’s arrival as head coach, he’s focused on re-invigorating the program’s running game.

That effort seems to be paying dividends.

In the Methodist game, LaGrange College ran for 252 yards and had three touchdowns on the ground.

Nicholas Searcy led the way with 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Brendon Scott had 119 yards with a 50-yard scoring run.

“We had really emphasized running the football during practice,” Pardue said. “I though the offensive line did a great job in the second half.”

Searcy has 246 yards in three games with three touchdowns, and Scott has run for 178 yards.

Quarterback Connor Blair also had a solid day, completing 14-of-23 passes for 177 yards with three touchdowns.

While Blair isn’t throwing the ball as often as he did last season he is still averaging 219 yards per game with six touchdowns.

Marcus Campbell, who has had a productive senior season, had six catches for 71 yards with a touchdown against Methodist, and Kiontai Button and Djeimon Owens also had scoring receptions.

Campbell leads the team with 19 catches for 247 yards.

LaGrange College’s defense, after giving up an early touchdown in the second half, buckled down and forced three consecutive punts.

Fabian Ryan led the Panthers with nine tackles, including a sack, and Pardue said he “showed a lot of leadership in the second half. I really appreciate the way he came out and played in the second half.”

Xavior Coaxum was next with eight tackles, Jamil Shakir had six tackles and Demetrius Rodgers, Rayshaun Bagsby and Elijah Robertson had five tacklesa piece.

Rodgers also had an interception.

Ryan leads the team with 25 tackles on the season Shakir is next with 16 tackles, and Coaxum (13), Bagsby (12) and Rodgers (11) are also in double digits in tackles.

Rodgers leads the team with three tackles for loss.

Khary Paige has nine tackles and a team-leading two sacks.

For Brevard, quarterback O’Shay Carter threw for 277 yards in last week’s win with five touchdowns.

Bubba Craven was Carter’s favorite target with169 receiving yards with three touchdowns.