Panthers’ senior shines at new position
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Before Saturday’s final home game, the 10 seniors on the LaGrange College football roster were recognized.
One of those seniors, Nick Searcy, is already a college graduate.
Searcy, who was a prep standout at Peach County, played as a graduate student this season, and he was a key contributor as a defensive back.
Searcy was a running back the previous three seasons, but he made the transition to defense as a senior, and he is second on the team with 40 tackles.
“He’s a really good football player, but as a human being, it is unbelievable what he’s done,” LaGrange College head coach Earl Chambers said. “He graduated in three years. He’s in graduate school right now He’s playing another position, and he’s still trying to help us out in the weight room. It’s like this guy is Superman.”
In Saturday’s 48-38 win over Methodist, Searcy had three tackles, and he also made a massive contribution on a special-teams play in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers were clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter when they lined up in punt formation.
Instead of kicking the ball, punter Tristan McCann completed a 23-yard pass to Searcy for a first-down.
That led to a game-clinching touchdown as the Panthers secured the win on senior day.
SETTLING IN: It’s been a revolving door at quarterback for LaGrange College this season, with four different men playing the position.
Chambers has been hoping to find someone who could lock down the position, and Caleb Speirs has done just that.
Speirs, a sophomore, has started the past three games, and he’s coming off his best performance of the season.
In Saturday’s 48-38 victory over Methodist, Speirs completed 26-of-32 passes for 355 yards with four touchdowns, and he was named the USA South offensive rookie of the week.
In his first start against Maryville, Speirs completed 18-of-29 passes for 269 yards with two touchdowns.
Against Brevard, Speirs completed 21-of-34 passes for 212 yards with three touchdowns.
“He started three games ago, and he hasn’t done anything but get better and better,” Chambers said. “When we sat down and looked at all of our quarterbacks, I told Felton (Huggins), just pick the one you feel like gives us the chance to win. And he was the guy.”
One of the men who has played quarterback this season, junior Alex Scott, may have found a home at a new position.
Scott made his debut at wide receiver in the Methodist game, and he had six catches for 95 yards with a touchdown.
“We’ve been trying to get Alex to do something else to help us,” Chambers said. “And I think he understands that he can be a value to our team if he’ll do something different.”
WHAT A CAREER: Senior Marcus Campbell is going to exit the stage as one of the most productive wide receivers in the history of the program.
Following Saturday’s big game against Methodist, Campbell has 143 career catches, and he’s fourth on the school’s all-time list in that category.
If Campbell has five or more catches in Saturday’s season finale against Huntingdon, he’ll pass Marsalis Jackson and move into third place.
Campbell had three touchdown catches against Methodist, giving him 13 for his career, and he’s tied with Josh Hardrick and Stephen Tuck for fifth all-time in school history in that category.
Campbell also has 1,885 career receiving yards, and only two LaGrange College players have more than that.
Campbell has done a lot of his damage in the past two seasons.
He had 65 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns as a junior, and he has 51 receptions for 720 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
UP NEXT: LaGrange College will finish its season with a road game against Huntingdon on Saturday in Montgomery, Ala.
Huntingdon, which beat North Carolina Wesleyan 50-29 on Saturday, has won two in a row to improve to 3-5 overall, and 3-3 in the USA South.
LaGrange College (3-6 overall) is 2-4 in the conference.