Big day for LaGrange running back
Published 10:29 am Wednesday, August 28, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Kale Gibbs, a junior running back for the LaGrange Grangers, made a huge impact in last week’s season-opening 24-9 road win over Heard County.
Gibbs, the son of LaGrange head coach Chuck Gibbs, had 80 yards on 10 carries, an average of 10 yards per attempt.
Kale Gibbs also had two receptions for 28 yards.
Gibbs’ biggest play came in the third quarter when LaGrange was clinging to a 10-9 lead.
Gibbs took a handoff from quarterback Charles Crawford and raced 47 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown, and the extra point gave LaGrange a 17-9 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
LaGrange’s second-leading rusher was Crawford, who had 73 yards on four attempts, an impressive average of 18.3 yards per carry.
Crawford capped the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Crawford ran for 118 yards last season, so he’s already more than halfway to that total in one game.
Crawford believes the offseason strength program put in place by coach Tyler Eady paid dividends in the Heard County game.
On one second-half run, Crawford ran over a defender to get a critical first down as the third quarter ended.
“Our offseason weight program has been phenomenal,” Crawford said. “That’s given me the strength and ability to get away from (tackle attempts).”
In the passing game, Crawford was 12-of-22 for 84 yards with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Logan Karcher.
Late in the first half, Crawford dropped a perfect hand into the waiting hands of Karcher for the touchdown.
Adrian Traylor was LaGrange’s leading receiver with six catches, and Karcher and Gibbs had two catches apiece. Sam Yates and Andre Canty each had one reception.
The 24 points LaGrange scored against Heard County was its high-point total since the final game of the 2016 season.
A year ago, LaGrange’s high-point total came in a season-ending 16-14 win over Shaw, and it only had three games where it reached double digits in points.
During the winless 2017 season, the high-water mark in points came in a 25-18 loss to Chapel Hill.
LaGrange averaged seven points per game last season, and 4.4 points a game in 2017.
SHUTTING ‘EM DOWN: The Heard County Braves hit for some big offensive plays in the first quarter against LaGrange.
Alex Boyd had a 58-yard run to set up a field goal, and Leroy Marsh caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Macaiah Austin.
Following that touchdown that gave the Braves a 9-0 lead, though, they found almost no offensive success.
Heard County, in fact, didn’t pick up any first downs after its touchdown as LaGrange rallied for a 24-9 win.
LaGrange also forced three turnovers.
Adrian Traylor had two interceptions, and Charles Miller had one pick that set up LaGrange’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.