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Grangers hoping to bounce back

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s bounce-back time for the LaGrange Grangers.

After opening the season with an impressive 24-9 victory over defending Class AA state-champion Heard County, LaGrange was hoping for a strong showing against Callaway.

Instead, the Grangers fell behind 14-0 early in the game, and it was the Cavaliers easing to a 56-10 victory in the county showdown.

On Saturday, LaGrange will look to get back on the winning track when it hosts Hampton, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. at Callaway Stadium.

Hampton is 1-1 after beating Fayette County 15-13 and losing to Sandy Creek 47-3.

Last season, LaGrange went on the road and beat Hampton 8-6 in a defensive slug-fest.

“We’re a better football team, but they have some key players at key positions, and their key players are at positions where Callaway kids had a tremendous amount of success against us,” said Chuck Gibbs, LaGrange’s head coach. “So we’re trying to shore up all those things, and we still have people growing into the playbook. We still have a lot of young offensive guys that are in there. And we’ve got to hold onto the football, and we’ve got to catch the football. We had nine drops on Friday night.”

Gibbs expects LaGrange’s offensive line to be put to the test against a formidable Hampton defensive line.

“Hampton, we have to be careful,” Gibbs said. “Their front four are good.”

Things came unraveled from the get-go last week.

After giving up a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, LaGrange fumbled on its second play, and that led to another Callaway score.

The game wasn’t even four minutes old, and LaGrange was trailing 14-0.

The Grangers trailed 28-3 after the first quarter, and the they were unable to get back in the game.

It didn’t help that LaGrange was unable to take advantage of some advantageous field position in the first half.

“We were inside their 20 three times, and we came away with three points,” Gibbs said.

LaGrange’s points came on a 30-yard field goal by Kaleb Ceja, and a 32-yard touchdown run by Caleb Ross.

Defensively, LaGrange surrendered a bunch of big plays, including a 98-yard touchdown pass from Demetrius Coleman to Jacob Freeman, an 88-yard scoring run by Charlie Dixon, and a 50-yard touchdown run by Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby.

“I thought we’d be further ahead than we are, but one game does not a season make,” Gibbs said. “It might have been the kick in the chins that we needed, to get embarrassed against a cross-town rival.”

LAGRANGE VS. HAMPTON

WHEN: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: LaGrange (1-1); Hampton (1-1)

LAST MEETING: LaGrange beat Hampton 8-6 last season