Teams ready to fight for title

Published 1:42 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The Long Cane Middle School Cougars are set to defend their title.

A year ago, Long Cane beat Callaway Middle School to win the league championship.

On Thursday, Long Cane will begin defense of its league title when it hosts Callaway at 4:30 p.m. in a semifinal game.

In the other semifinal game, LaGrange will cross the state line into Alabama to play Valley, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. at Ram Stadium.

Valley finished the regular season as the number one seed while Troup is the number two seed, so those two teams will host a playoff game.

Callaway is the number three seed, and Gardner-Newman is seeded fourth.

Next week, the two semifinal winners will meet for the championship, with the higher-seeded team hosting the game.

Long Cane and Callaway finished the regular season with a game against each other last week.

Long Cane trailed at the half, but it rallied for a 28-24 victory with Robert Harris, Adrian Tucker, Daylen Teasley and Tayquan Dowdell each scoring touchdowns.

Gardner-Newman finished the regular season with a 26-14 loss to Valley last week, but head coach Scooter Weathers believes his team has a shot to flip that script this week.

“Hopefully we’ll show up and play a whole game,” Weathers said. “We’ll see what happens. If we come out hot and play good, things can go well. If we come out flat, we’ll get flattened.”

In last year’s semifinals, Callaway beat Valley, while Long Cane beat Gardner Newman in overtime.

In the championship game, Long Cane hosted Callaway, and they played a thriller.

Callaway led 12-6 at the half, but Long Cane rallied in the second half for a 36-26 victory.

Long Cane has put together another strong season to put itself in position to compete for another title.

Next year this time, the eighth-graders on the local middle-school teams will be in high school.

Preparing the players for high-school football is a big part of what the coaches at the local middle schools are trying to do.

Long Cane coach Torre Pike said he and Troup head coach Tanner Glisson have a great working relationship.

“This is probably the closest that Troup and Long Cane have ever been,” Pike said. “We use all the same terms. The offenses are not the same, but they’re very similar. The defense, we run their best defense.”

Kerry Woodard has been the Callaway Middle head coach for more than a decade, and he works closely with Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins.

“We started the same year (2005),” Woodard said earlier this season. “I came in with coach Wiggins. We started the same year. When he got the head-coaching job, we got on the same page.”



4:30 p.m. – Callaway Middle at Long Cane

6 p.m. – Gardner-Newman at Valley