Champion Hurricanes too much for Grangers

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The champs kept right on cruising.

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes extended their winning streak to 37 with Friday’s 56-0 victory over the LaGrange Grangers at Callaway Stadium.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence celebrated his birthday by throwing six touchdown passes, all in the first half, to help his team improve to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA.

The Purple Hurricanes, who have won back-to-back state championships, will return to Callaway Stadium on Nov. 13 to face Troup in a game that could decide the region title.

LaGrange (0-7) fell to 0-3 in the region, and it will face another tough assignment next week against an unbeaten Troup team.

“You just have to come back and go to work, because we’ve got another big one next week with Troup,” LaGrange head coach Dialleo Burks said. “It’s a high-tempo team that can put points on the board.”

The same goes for Cartersville, which scored touchdowns on all but one of its possessions in the first half.

The 6-foot-5 Lawrence, who plans on signing with Clemson, was brilliant, making every possible throw.

Even when Lawrence was under duress, he found a way to put the ball on target, and he was just as accurate throwing on the run as he was standing in the pocket.

Cartersville’s defense was dominant as well, limiting LaGrange to a handful of first downs.

It was the sort of performance that has become routine for Cartersville under head coach Joey King.

“They did what they’ve been showing all year,” Burks said. “They can score from anywhere on the field. They’re up-tempo, they’re strong, and they compete. It’s easy for a team like that to get complacent, but I don’t see it from them. They’re going to come, and they’re going to play.”

The Purple Hurricanes went to work right away, with Lawrence completing all five of his pass attempts on the opening drive, and he found Jkobe Orr for a 43-yard touchdown.

The Grangers went three-and-out on their first possession, and the Purple Hurricanes needed two plays to score after the punt, with Lawrence throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Lowe.

LaGrange tried to build some momentum on its second possession, with quarterback Charles Crawford completing an 18-yard pass to Jordan Ogletree for a first down.

The Grangers ended up punting, and the defense made its lone stop of the first half, with Jeremiah Holloway sacking Lawrence on third down, and it was a 14-0 game at the conclusion of the first quarter.

When the Purple Hurricanes got the ball back, the offense regained its momentum, with Lawrence hitting EJ Turner for an 8-yard touchdown pass, and the lead was 21-0.

On Cartersville’s next possession, Holloway had a hand on Lawrence in the backfield, but he managed to stay on his feet, and he threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Akins, and the lead was 28-0.

Lawrence showed off his ability to make the deep throw on Cartersville’s next possession with a 51-yard scoring pass to Lawrence, and LaGrange trailed 35-0.

With less than two minutes left in the half, Lawrence tossed a 31-yard scoring pass to Trey Holstein, and Cartersville was on top 42-0.

The final touchdown of the half came on a special-teams play.

Cartersville blocked a LaGrange punt, and Grant Harris scooped the ball up and went 13 yards for the touchdown with 44 seconds left in the half, and Jonathan Cruz converted his seventh extra point to make it a 49-0 game.

The lone touchdown in the second half came on a 9-yard run by Marcus Gary with 8:34 to play.

LaGrange made its only trip into Cartersville territory when Logan Karcher returned the ensuing kickoff to the 44-yard line.

The Grangers picked up one first down before a fourth-down play failed, and the Purple Hurricanes got the ball back and ran out the clock.