Cavaliers look for another win over rival

Published 2:47 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019


Daily News

The Callaway Cavaliers are hoping to make it four in a row over the rival LaGrange Grangers.

After dropping three of the first four games in the series, Callaway has won three in a row over LaGrange, including last year’s hard-fought 14-0 victory.

Those two county rivals will meet for the eighth time overall and for the sixth consecutive season on Friday night at what should be a jam-packed Callaway Stadium.

LaGrange began its season with an impressive 24-9 win over Heard County, while Callaway fell to Opelika 10-7 in its first game.

Callaway and LaGrange were off last week, giving the coaching staffs and the players ample time to prepare for Friday’s game.

Pete Wiggins, who is in his 15th season as LaGrange’s head coach, is anticipating a major challenge.

“Anytime you play a rival game, it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be very competitive,” Wiggins said. “The emotions will be really high on both sides. I think it’s going to be a great football game.”

Callaway hung tough with a formidable Opelika squad in its opener, scoring a late touchdown to make it interesting before losing 10-7.

A lot went wrong for the Cavaliers, who turned it over four times and had a bunch of penalties, but they were still in the game at the end.

Opelika followed up its win over Callaway by beating Auburn last week.

While disappointed to return home without a win, Wiggins said “I think we learned a lot from that game.”

“I think that it made us better,” Wiggins added. “We never want to lose a ballgame, but they’ve got a great football team. They had a big win over Auburn last week. The game was 10-7 at the end with four turnovers and as many penalties as we had. As many mistakes as we had, and there are obviously a lot of negatives and things we’ve got to do better, there are a whole lot of positives to take from it as well.”

One of those positives was the performance of a new-look defense that went toe-to-toe with Opelika and kept the team in the game.

The defense was led by senior linebacker R.J. Williams, who had nearly 20 tackles.

While the offense didn’t score a touchdown until there was less than a minute remaining, the Cavaliers did move the ball well at times, and Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby ran for more than 100 yards and averaged nearly 10 yards per carry.

Bigsby scored on a short touchdown run that was set up by a completion from Demetrius Coleman to Antinez Blount.

“I thought our effort was really high throughout the night,” Wiggins said. “We had our backs against the wall several times on defense, and the guys kept rising to the occasion, and to the offense’s credit we found a way to get into the end zone at the end, and never quit fighting against a really good team.”

Since Callaway played on a Thursday, Wiggins was able to watch LaGrange and Heard County play the following night, and he was impressed with what he saw, particularly from senior quarterback Charles Crawford.

Crawford threw two touchdown passes and had a scoring run against Heard County.

“I think their quarterback is a very special football player,” Wiggins said. “He’s a great leader. I think he presents a lot of problems to a defense. Their offensive line is big, and strong, and they come off the ball. They’re physical. Their backs run hard, and their receiving corps is solid. I think offensively they have a great football team.

“Defensively, the guys they play on the defensive line, particularly their two inside guys, are really big, and they’re physical, and their ends run well. They play fast defensively, so we’ll have to execute, and minimize mistakes, and hopefully we’ll be able to get the ball in the end zone.”

Wiggins added that “it’s going to be a physical game, and these kids have grown up with one another, their families know one another, so it’s going to be a big-time contest.”


WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: Callaway (0-1); LaGrange (1-0)

LAST GAME: Callaway lost to Opelika 10-7; LaGrange lost to Heard County 24-9

ALL-TIME SERIES: Callaway leads LaGrange 4-3

LAST MEETING: Callaway beat LaGrange 14-0 last season