Seniors lead way for Grangers

Published 1:14 am Friday, October 18, 2019


Daily News

They’re fighting to the finish line.

It’s been a difficult season for the LaGrange Grangers, but with four games remaining, they’re going to give it everything they’ve got in an effort to close on a strong note.

The Grangers (2-4 overall), who have been hampered by costly injuries to dozens of players, will carry an 0-3 Region 5-AAAA record into today’s cross-town showdown with the Troup Tigers.

One of the steadying influences throughout a turbulent season has been senior Will Flowers, who has been a rock on the offensive line.

Flowers’ hope is that, as some of the injured players return, the Grangers can make the most of the games they have left.

“It’s getting rough with the injuries, but we’ve done a good job keeping the team morale high,” Flowers said. “Now that we’re getting some guys back, I think we’re going to have a strong finish to the season.”

Another one of the seniors, tight end Cole Crawford, said the attitude among the players has been positive, even as the injuries and the losses have mounted.

“We’re all just working hard, trying to get better every day,” Crawford said. “It’s been fun being able to get coached by an amazing coaching staff. It’s been great.”

Another player who has been there every day, working diligently in practices and games, is senior tight end Qua Bowles.

Bowles has watched so many of his teammates go down with injuries, and while that has been frustrating, he’s encouraged by the growth of the younger players who can only benefit by their time on the field.

“I know it’s hard when you’re losing your starters, and your key players, but also it sets it up for the future with the young guys because they’re getting playing time,” Bowles said. “They can build on that with game experience.”

While the Grangers still have plenty to play for this season and will do their best to pick up some wins in the home stretch, there’s no doubt that the coaches have an eye on the future as well, something the team’s veterans are well aware of.

“Coach (Chuck) Gibbs has talked a lot about growing for the future,” Crawford said. “We’re a program. We’re not just a team, we’re a program. We’re trying to get what’s best for the program. If that’s getting these freshmen some playing time, that’s what it is. They need the experience.”

Flowers, who is part of an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries, has welcomed the younger players with open arms.

“They’ve got a bright future,” Flowers said. “We treat them like they’re one of us. We practice hard with them. I think they’re going to be good.”

With so many injuries, it’s been even more important for the veterans like Flowers to provide leadership not just with their words, but with how they go about their day-to-day business.

“It’s just making sure I’m ready to practice every day, and going through a whole practice full speed, and not giving up,” Flowers said.

Another steadying influence throughout the season has been senior quarterback Charles Crawford.

Crawford has endured his share of injuries, and broken fingers he suffered on his left hand are carefully wrapped, but he’s been there every game, only missing a handful of plays during the season.

Crawford, as has been the case every game the past two years, will be under center when LaGrange kicks things off on Friday night against Troup.

“He’s one of those dudes that never stops,” Cole Crawford said. “He just works. That’s all he does. That’s what he knows. He’s a good leader for this team.”

Chuck Gibbs, LaGrange’s second-year head coach, has been frustrated to see his depth chart wrecked because of injuries, but he has no qualms with the effort the players have given.

LaGrange lost to Cartersville 45-2 last week, but Gibbs nonetheless was encouraged by what he saw.

“We’ve played hard,” Gibbs said. “The energy (against Cartersville) was good, and it was positive. (Cartersville coach Conor) Foster reached out to me and he said he really admired the way our kids fought and played hard, and with sportsmanship. When you get your opposing teams talk to you and tell you how much of a difference they see in the football team, that helps. Losing’s hard. You do realize that there are a few things that are bigger than the game, and we know we’re making huge strides. We hope to get a few kids back, maybe not for next week against Sandy Creek, but the following weeks against Chapel Hill and Shaw.”


WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Callaway Stadium

RECORDS: LaGrange (2-4 overall, 0-3 in Region 5-AAAA); Troup (4-2 overall, 1-1 in Region 5-AAAA)

LAST YEAR: Troup beat LaGrange 35-14

ALL-TIME SERIES: LaGrange leads 20-11