LaGrange looks for another win

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019


Daily News

The LaGrange Grangers, fresh off an impressive opening-week performance, will try to keep the good times rolling on Friday night.

LaGrange, which overcame a slow start to beat defending Class AA state-champion Heard County 24-9 in its season opener, will face the Callaway Cavaliers on Friday at Callaway Stadium.

It’ll be another big-time challenge for LaGrange.

Callaway, which stood toe-to-toe with Opelika in a 10-7 loss in its season opener, is ranked as high as second in one Class AA poll.

The Cavaliers are coming off a phenomenal season that

ended with a loss to the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in the semifinals of the state playoffs, and they’re expected to be in the state-championship conversation again this year.

Callaway is led by senior running back Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, who is one of the state’s best players at his position and is coming off a season where he ran for more than 2,000 yards.

Figuring out a way to corral Bigsby has been a heavy point of emphasis for LaGrange leading up to Friday’s game.

“You go into this game, and you have one of the most elite runners in high-school football,” LaGrange head coach Chuck Gibbs said. “Every time he touches the football he can score. He’ll run over you, he’ll run through you. You go back and look at film over and over again, he’s so dynamic that one tackler does not get him down, and his vision is so good.”

Gibbs added that “Tank, you get ulcers watching him on film. He’s that good.”

It helps that LaGrange has an elite defense that stuffed Heard County last week.

The Braves hit on two big plays in the first quarter as they built a 9-0 lead, but they didn’t have any first downs in the final three quarters.

Gibbs’ message to the players is to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do on every single play.

“You can play perfect on 98 percent of your snaps, and it’s the two percent you don’t play that get you,” Gibbs said.

LaGrange’s offense, meanwhile, had one of its most productive games in years.

The 24 points the Grangers scored, in fact, was their highest scoring output since the final game of the 2016 season.

Quarterback Charles Crawford led the way, completing 12-of-22 passes for 122 yards with a touchdown, and he also ran for 73 yards on four carries with a score.

Kale Gibbs led LaGrange’s rushing attack with 80 yards on seven attempts with a touchdown.

Adrian Traylor caught six passes for 41 yards, and Logan Karcher had a touchdown catch.

“Ours is getting to where we’re a balanced offense, to where our running game is solid enough to force teams to get seven or eight down in the box to open up our throws,” Gibbs said. “We’ve got a very deep stable of (running backs), five or six guys, and they all bring something different to the table.”

In the passing game, Gibbs likes the number of options Crawford has, with five players making catches last week.

“It becomes really hard, secondary-wise, to try to game plan,” Gibbs said. “If you want to take one receiver away, fine. Charles has shown the poise to spread the ball around, and know his reads, and having coach (David) Pleasants here every day coaching him on his quarterback reads, he’s an elite quarterback. Charles is about as sound as any of them get as far as understanding his pre-snap reads, and verifying post-snap, and making smart decisions.”

The Grangers are 1-0 for the first time since 2015, and if they win on Friday, they would match their victory total from a year ago when they went 2-8.

After last week’s big win, the players went into the stands to celebrate with the students, and Gibbs likes the vibe that’s surrounding the program right now.

“There’s a lot of positive momentum on campus right now,” Gibbs said.


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