Local teams are running strong

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Daily News

There were plenty of bright spots during last week’s preseason games.

Callaway, LaGrange and Troup each enjoyed dominant performances, controlling every aspect of the game.

One area where each team was particularly impressive was in the running game.

With a host of backs carrying the ball, the Cavaliers, Grangers and Tigers put up big numbers on the ground.

The backs showed off their speed, vision, and the toughness to take on opposing defenders.

For the Grangers, establishing a running game will be critical as they look to turn things around following a difficult 2017 season.

So far, so good.

In last week’s 56-6 win over Ridgeland, one of the bright spots was the performance of senior running backs Laracco Glaze and Myles Johnson.

The two men combined for four touchdown runs, and they did a lot of their damage after first contact.

Glaze had touchdown runs of seven and 11 yards, and Johnson ripped off scoring runs of 55 and 24 yards.

Sophomore Lataurus Swindle got into the act as well with a 33-yard scoring run in the second half.

Glaze said “It was about making a statement. The offensive line was great. We’ve been working really hard.”

Cornell Kendrick was LaGrange’s featured back last season when he was a senior, and Glaze and Johnson are expected to get the bulk of the carries this year.

They were superb in the spring game against Manchester, and they were unstoppable against Kendrick.

“We’ve worked hard in the weight room, and running, and on conditioning, and everything,” Glaze said.

Glaze got the Grangers on the board with a 7-yard touchdown run, and he slammed his way into the end zone from one yard out to end the first quarter.

“I don’t ever think I’m going down,” Glaze said. “I’m running square every time I touch the ball.”

While Glaze was the bulldozer, Johnson was the sports car.

On LaGrange’s second possession, Johnson had a 37-yard run, and then on third-and-long, he took a handoff from Charles Crawford and scored on a 55-yard run.

Johnson’s 24-yard touchdown run came in the third quarter.

Glaze said he and all of the running backs have a close-knit relationship.

“We’re a family. It’s family first,” Glaze said. “And me and Myles, we’re close. We have a good time.”

Troup blew past Northside-Columbus 30-2 last week, and while the big-play passing attack was on display with quarterback Kobe Hudson showing he’s perfectly comfortable running the offense, the running game was potent as well.

Junior Trey Williams did a lot of the damage for Troup with touchdown runs of 12 and 11 yards.

Williams gained a bunch of his yards after first contact, and it usually took a handful of Northside defenders to bring him down.

“I fight for every yard,” Williams said.

Williams’ first touchdown run capped an 80-yard scoring drive on Troup’s opening possession.

Williams took a handoff from Hudson at the 12-yard line, and he ran over a Northside defender on the way to the end zone.

Williams added an 11-yard scoring run early in the second quarter, and once again he carried the ball into the end zone, despite the best efforts of Northside’s would-be tacklers.

“He runs a lot bigger than he is,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “He’s got a lot of speed to get to the edge. Trey Williams is a good football player. He’s got good all security. He’s a smart kid, so he picks up all the checks, and blitzes pretty good and the things we do offensively.”

Tyree Carlisle, Troup’s leading returning rusher, also got some carries and was effective.

While the passing game will clearly be a big part of Troup’s offense, the team will look to be balanced with an effective running game.

“We’ll be looking to run the ball a lot,” Williams said. “The O-line, they’re working hard.”

At Callaway, while Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby will be the featured back this season, he won’t have to carry the entire load.

In the spring game against Montgomery-Catholic and the preseason game against Starr’s Mill, running back Charlie Dixon has shown an ability to make big plays as well.

Dixon had an 81-yard touchdown run against Montgomery-Catholic, and that came after Bigsby ripped off a 77-yard scoring run.

Dixon had a touchdown run against Starr’s Mill as well, although it only covered one yard.

Bigsby, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season, had a 6-yard scoring run in the Starr’s Mill game.

Qua Hines, a starter on defense, will get his share of work at running back as well.

“Charlie Dixon has gotten a lot better,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “He continues to work, and he’s getting better. And Qua Hines is a versatile guy that a lot of people don’t talk about. Qua is an explosive running back. He’s got great hands out of the backfield.”

Bigsby, who has received numerous offers from big-time college program from coast to coast, will get the bulk of the carries, but Wiggins likes knowing there are other guys who can get the job done as well.

“We’ve got several guys that can do a good job for us, that we’ll depend on heavily,” Wiggins said. “It’s good to have that depth, and those three guys compete against one another.”