Grangers roll in preseason game
Published 11:58 pm Friday, August 10, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They were all smiles.
The LaGrange Grangers delivered a powerful all-around performance on the way to a 56-6 victory over Kendrick on Friday night in a preseason game at Callaway Stadium.
The Grangers scored a touchdown on their opening possession, and they never looked back.
Chuck Gibbs, LaGrange’s first-year head coach, was happy to see a group of players who endured a winless 2017 season enjoying themselves.
LaGrange opens the regular season on Aug. 17 against Heard County at Callaway Stadium.
“It’s about these kids,” Gibbs said. “We wanted to see them excited, and give them a chance to experience the joy of life, and fall back in love with the game.”
Senior Vondez Taylor, a part of the 0-10 team, said “it was real big” to play so well.
“Everybody doubted us,” Taylor said. “We had to show them what we can come with.”
The Grangers did a lot of their offensive damage on the ground, with Laracco Glaze and Myles Johnson combining for four touchdown runs.
Lataurus Swindle added a scoring run in the second half, and quarterbacks Charles Crawford and Sam Caputo threw touchdown passes to Koby Patton and Cole Sanders, respectively.
LaGrange also got a special-teams touchdown on a kickoff return by Andraka Martin.
“It was about making a statement,” Glaze said. “The offensive line was great. We’ve been working really hard.”
LaGrange’s defense was up to the challenge as well.
Kendrick’s lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, long after LaGrange’s starters had left the game.
“I’m pleased with the effort,” Gibbs said. “The kids are excited. And we had a great turnout. Granger Nation showed up tonight.”
Gibbs was also pleased to see all of the players walk off the field injury-free.
“At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be a competitive practice where we get to compete against another team,” Gibbs said. “Neither of us lost anyone. There were no major injuries. When you walk away with that, it’s a success.”
LaGrange needed less than three minutes to put the first points on the scoreboard.
Jakoby Smith returned the opening kickoff to midfield, and Charles Crawford found Kayo Bradfield for a 15-yard completion to the 35-yard-line.
Glaze did the rest with five straight carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run.
Matt Rainey booted the extra point, and LaGrange led 7-0.
Kendrick, thanks largely to some LaGrange penalties, moved the ball to the 1-yard line on its first possession.
On third-and-goal from the one, Mikal Younkins made a tackle in the backfield, and Jequavious Bowles broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down.
LaGrange’s offense went right back to work, going 98 yards for the touchdown.
Glaze had a 12-yard run to get the Grangers out of the shadow of their end zone, and Myles Johnson’s 37-yard run put the ball at midfield.
Two plays later, Johnson ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run, and Rainey converted the extra point to give LaGrange a 14-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Jaquez Smith recovered a fumble for LaGrange deep in Kendrick territory.
Crawford found Jakoby Smith for a 13-yard completion, and that set up Glaze’s 1-yard touchdown run, and Rainey’s extra point put LaGrange on top 21-0 as the first quarter came to a close.
Following a Kendrick punt, LaGrange went 60 yards for another touchdown with Sam Caputo in at quarterback.
Caputo showed off his scrambling skills with a 16-yard keeper on third-and-long.
Two plays later, it was Crawford delivering a strike to Koby Patton on a crossing pattern for a 20-yard touchdown.
Jimmy Cancino’s extra-point attempt was true, and LaGrange led 28-0.
Kendrick’s ensuing possession ended with a failed fourth-down play, and LaGrange went 38 yards for the score.
Caputo completed a short pass to tight end Cole Sanders, who rumbled to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown, and Cancino’s extra point pushed the lead to 35-0, which was the score at the half.
Moments into the second half, it was Johnson taking off on a 24-yard touchdown run, and Cancino’s extra point extended the lead to 42-0.
Later in the third quarter, Lataurus Swindle got into the act with a 33-yard touchdown run, and Cancino nailed the extra point, and LaGrange led 49-0.
After Kendrick scored its lone touchdown, Andraka Martin returned the kickoff for a touchdown, and Rainey made the extra point to cap the scoring.