Heart-breaker for Grangers
Published 1:05 am Saturday, September 28, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers were driving with a chance to make it a happy homecoming, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Trailing by three points with time winding down in the fourth quarter, LaGrange was in Central-Carroll territory, needing a field goal to tie it, and a touchdown to walk away with the win.
Instead, it was Central-Carroll’s Abrin Daniel coming through with the game-clinching interception with a little more than a minute to play.
The Grangers only had one timeout remaining, so the Lions were able to run two kneel-down plays and run out the clock and earn the dramatic 17-14 victory in the Region 5-AAAA opener for both teams.
“It’s hard, because they realize how important the first
“It’s hard, because they realize how important the first region game is, especially when you’re playing a team that I thought we were evenly-matched with,” said Chuck Gibbs, LaGrange’s second-year head coach.
The Grangers faced a 10-point deficit when they went 70 yards in less than three minutes for a touchdown, with quarterback Charles Crawford finding Sam Yates for a 1-yard touchdown.
Kaleb Ceja’s extra point made it a 17-14 game with 6:37 to play.
After recovering a fumble at their own 25-yard line, the Grangers were in business with 5:18 to play.
The Grangers were on the move, making it all the way to the Lions’ 30-yard line when Daniel’s interception ended the suspense.
Both teams had scoring chances in the first half, but the only points came on a 33-yard field goal by Mauricio Centeno that gave Central-Carroll a 3-0 lead with 50 seconds left in the first half.
With Charles Crawford finding Cole Crawford for a pair of long completions, the Grangers’ made it to the Lions’ 23-yard line, but Ceja’s 40-yard field-goal attempt was unsuccessful as time ran out in the first half.
On its first possession of the second half, Central-Carroll scored a touchdown to pad its lead.
After quarterback Kashif Taylor ripped off a 60-yard run, Daniel’s 6-yard touchdown run and the extra point put the Lions on top 10-0 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
The Grangers needed someone to step up and make a play, and junior running back back Caleb Ross obliged.
On third-and-long, Ross took a handoff from Crawford, and it looked like he was going to be stopped in the backfield for a loss.
Ross shrugged off the would-be tacklers, though, and got to the right sideline and out-raced the Central defense for an extraordinary 65-yard touchdown run.
Ceja converted the extra point, and Central’s lead was 10-7 with 4:40 to play in the third quarter.
That’s the way it remained until Daniel got loose for a 60-yard touchdown run with 9:19 left in the game, and Central-Carroll’s lead was 17-7.
Back came the Grangers, who quickly covered 70 yards for the touchdown to get back within three.
Most of those yards were covered by completions of 28 yards and 27 yards from Charles Crawford to Cole Crawford.
The Grangers were on the 5-yard line when Ross muscled his way to the 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Charles Crawford hit Yates for the short touchdown, and it was a three-point game once again.
After Central’s fumble, LaGrange began marching down the field once again.
The Grangers faced a fourth-down situation when Crawford threw a short pass to Dylan Norvell, who reversed field and manage to elude the Lions’ defenders long enough to dive for a first down.
On the next play, though, LaGrange’s hopes ended with the interception, and Central celebrated the hard-fought win.
LaGrange will try to avoid an 0-2 start in region play when it visits Cedartown next Friday.
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