Tough night for Grangers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers, hoping to find some success in their final region game of the season, were unable to keep pace with the Chapel Hill Panthers on the way to a 37-3 loss on Friday night at Callaway Stadium.
LaGrange (1-8 overall), which finished its Region 5-AAAA schedule with an 0-6 record, will close its season with next Friday’s home game against Shaw, and it will be senior night and homecoming.
While the Grangers have been losing games this season, they have been competitive for the most part.
LaGrange lost three of its first five region games, in fact, by a combined seven points, and that included a 3-2 setback to Sandy Creek on Oct. 18.Things went a different way against Chapel Hill, which led 16-3 at the half before putting it away with three touchdowns in the third quarter.
After returning the opening kickoff to the LaGrange 20-yard line, Chapel Hill scored a few plays later on a 1-yard keeper by quarterback KJ Burton.
The Grangers answered with their most effective drive of the night.
After Jakoby Smith got things started with an 8-yard run, Charles Crawford connected with Jordan Ogletree for a 61-yard completion.
Ogletree was covered, but he went up and ripped the ball away from his defender, and he raced down the right sideline before being dragged down. The Grangers made it to the 5-yard line before the drive stalled, and Matt Rainey made a field goal to cut the Panthers’ lead to 6-3 with 7:52 to play in the opening quarter.
Chapel Hill extended the lead to 13-3 on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Burton to Miles Richardson with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
With 4:11 remaining in the half, the Panthers made a field goal to make it a 16-3 game.
The Grangers had a chance to cut into the deficit when Darwin Gomez recovered the ball after the Panthers fumbled a punt return.
LaGrange made it to the Chapel Hill 44-yard line when a fourth-down play failed, and it was a 16-3 game at the half.
On its first possession of the second half, LaGrange was stuffed on a fourth-down play, and Chapel Hill took over 34 yards from the end zone.
Burton capped that short drive with a 1-yard scoring run, and the lead was 23-3.
After a LaGrange punt, Chapel Hill took over at its own 40-yard line, and it drove for another touchdown, with Burton throwing an 8-yard scoring pass.
LaGrange’s next possession ended with an interception, and Burton threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jamonte Mason, and Chapel Hill led 37-3 with 48 seconds to play in the third quarter.
With Sammy Caputo in at quarterback, the Grangers had a chance to score in the fourth quarter.
Caputo completed three passes to get the Grangers inside the 20-yard line, but a lost fumble ended that threat, and the Panthers ran out the clock.