Winning night for Grangers
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 16, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With Charles Crawford throwing two touchdown passes and running for another, the LaGrange Grangers throttled the Kendrick Cherokees 34-0 in a preseason game on Thursday night at Callaway Stadium.
Crawford, in his third season as a starter, threw touchdown passes to Sam Yates and Cole Crawford, and he also had a 3-yard scoring run.
Caleb Ross got into the act with a 45-yard touchdown run in the first half, and freshman Valshawn Patterson had an 8-yard scoring run to end the third quarter.
LaGrange begin things for real on Aug. 23 at defending Class AA state-champion Heard County, and that’s the start of a challenging regular-season schedule that includes four teams that were in the state semifinals a year ago.
“As we get more in sync as a staff, I think we have the ability to be really good, but you look at our schedule, and I can’t discount any team we play, and it starts off with a big one,” said Chuck Gibbs, LaGrange’s second-year head coach. “I know our kids are excited, and we’ve got to ice down and see if we can heal up.”
It helps to have an experienced, talented quarterback leading the way.
Crawford has started nearly every game the past two years, and after a slow start, he led an offense that was unstoppable.
The Grangers scored on their final three possessions of the first half, and they continued to move the ball well in the second half.
After coming up empty the first two times they had the ball, the Grangers showed off their big-play ability to put the game’s first points on the board, with Ross pulling away from the Cherokees’ defense for a 55-yard touchdown run with 10:44 to play in the first half.
Following a Kendrick three-and-out LaGrange went back to work.
Kale Gibbs got the Grangers close with runs of six and 11 yards, and Crawford’s 3-yard keeper and the extra point made it a 14-0 game with 5:20 to play in the half.
The Grangers began their next possession at midfield, and they soon found themselves facing fourth-and-long from the 31-yard line.
Crawford dropped back, and with his linemen offering some nice protection, dropped a perfect pass into the hands of Yates for the 31-yard touchdown.
LaGrange’s next touchdown, which came in the third quarter, was set up by a phenomenal one-handed interception by sophomore Montavious Martin.
Facing fourth-and-two, Kale Gibbs powered his way through the Kendrick defense for the first down.
On the next play, Charles Crawford threw a short pass over the middle to Cole Crawford, who raced into the end zone for the 18-yard touchdown, with it was a 28-0 lead with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
Cole Crawford is playing football for the first time in high school, and he got to celebrate a touchdown.
“It’s my first time playing football since the sixth grade, so it felt good,” Crawford said.
LaGrange got the ball back when freshman Javari Moss recovered a fumble, and that set up Valshawn Patterson’s 8-yard scoring run.