Panthers going for third straight

Published 1:13 am Saturday, September 30, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – They want to keep the streak going.

For the first time since 2014, the LaGrange College football team has won two consecutive games, and it will look to make it three in a row when it visits Averett (Va.) today for a USA South showdown.

LaGrange College dropped its first two games before getting on the board with a 39-30 road win over Methodist in its USA South opener.

Last week, LaGrange College played its final non-conference game of the season, and it outlasted Brevard 38-28.

Ferrum’s season has gone the opposite way.

Ferrum won its first two games, but it has lost two in a row, both against USA South opponents.

A year ago, LaGrange College brought a 2-1 record into its conference opener against Averett, and the two teams played a thriller at Callaway Stadium.

The teams played four overtimes, and it was Averett outscoring LaGrange College in a game that featured 11 lead changes and more than 1,100 yards of offense.

Connor Blair, then a junior quarterback for the Panthers, threw seven touchdowns in that game, setting a conference record in that category.

It was a heart-breaking loss, though, and Blair will look to return the favor today.

“Averett’s a good team,” Blair said. “I’ve never beaten them, so we’ll see.”

While happy to be on a winning streak, Blair said no one is satisfied.

“We grow a lot better each week,” Blair said. “That’s one of our motives, is to always expect to be better, always expect to improve. Don’t settle for how you did this game. Always expect to get better.”

Blair, who is in his third season as the Panthers’ starting quarterback, is coming off a 400-yard passing game against Brevard, and he has completed 82-of-127 passes for 1,090 yards with 10 touchdowns on the season.

Marcus Campbell and Austin Sapp have been Blair’s two favorite targets.

Campbell has 26 catches for 457 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and Sapp has 16 receptions for 196 yards with a touchdown. Brendan Thomas has a pair of scoring catches.

Nicholas Searcy has been getting it done on the ground with 64 carries for 305 yards and three touchdowns, and Brendon Scott has 245 yards on 43 attempts with a pair of touchdowns.

Fabian Ryan, the Panthers’ outstanding senior linebacker, has 21 tackles with three for loss, while defensive back Jamal Shakir and Rayshaun Bagsby each has 18 tackles.

Demetrius Rodgers has 15 tackles, including a team-leading four for loss, defensive back Joshua Rivers has 14 tackles.

Also in double digits in tackles are Xavior Coaxum (13), Shamar Slappy (12) and Khary Paige (11).

For Ferrum, quarterback Zack Clifford has completed 63-of-115 passes for 906 yards with seven touchdowns, and four of them have gone to receiver Johnny White.

Brian Mann leads the Ferrum running game with 408 yards on 93 attempts.