LaGrange, Carver set for first-place showdown
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’ll be a first-place showdown at Callaway Stadium.
The LaGrange Grangers have taken care of business against their first three Region 2-AAAA opponents, setting up a monster matchup with the Carver Tigers on Friday night.
Both teams are 3-0 in the region, and the winner will remain in first place while capturing a huge head-to-head win.
LaGrange is in the midst of a fantastic turnaround season
under first-year head coach Matt Napier.
The Grangers came into this season having won just six games over the previous four years, and they had a 23-game losing streak against region opponents going back to 2016.
After dropping its season opener, LaGrange has won four in a row, and it kept the winning streak going with a dominant 56-12 win over Shaw last week.
Now, the Grangers are preparing for one of their biggest regular-season games in years with a chance to earn a statement win.
“We’re grateful to be in the situation we’re in where we’re playing them with an opportunity like this,” Napier said.
LaGrange, after down-to-the-wire games against Northside-Columbus and Columbus High, has outscored Kendrick and Shaw by a combined score of 95-21 the past two weeks.
Both games were decided by the half, with LaGrange’s offense scoring at will and the defense doing an outstanding job as well.
LaGrange and Shaw played close games the past two seasons, but there was no suspense in last week’s game.
“The kids have done a phenomenal job of buying into what we’re doing, and I couldn’t be more proud of their effort and their focus (against Shaw),” Napier said. “They kept their composure and played hard all night. I’m proud of our kids.”
Things are also trending in the right direction for the Troup Tigers, who have won back-to-back games since opening the season with three straight losses.
Troup (2-3 overall), which overwhelmed Columbus 53-14 last week to improve to 2-1 in Region 2-AAAA, will play Kendrick on Thursday this week, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
While things are going well for Troup, it’s been a struggle for Kendrick (0-4), which has been outscored 185-28 in its four games.
On his weekly radio show on Monday, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said at this point the focus is more of an internal one as opposed to who the team is playing.
“We are really trying to look and see what we can do to get better. That’s the biggest thing.” Glisson said. “This stretch right here where we play Spencer, Columbus, Kendrick, we’re just trying to get better, because we know at the back end of our schedule we’ve got some big games coming up.”
Troup hosts Shaw next week before facing LaGrange and Carver, who are unbeaten in the region, in back-to-back games.
While the schedule has lightened up a bit in recent weeks, Glisson is happy with the way his team has taken care of business.
Troup led 29-7 after the first quarter against Columbus, and it was ahead 46-7 at the half.
“They played extremely well. We executed extremely well,” Glisson said. “Now, that being said, the competition level wasn’t quite as good as it was against Callaway, and Harris County, and Hardaway, but the deal is we went in there and we executed and we did what we were supposed to do at a high level, and I felt like even our young guys came in and played at a high level.”
The Callaway Cavaliers (4-0), after beating Thomas County Central in a 16-14 thriller last week, are off this week as they prepare for the start of their Region 5-AA schedule against Haralson County.
Callaway scored a touchdown with less than 10 seconds remaining against Thomas County, with Demetrius Coleman throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Shephard to erase a 14-9 deficit.
“I’m so proud of our kids, and the character they displayed,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said after the emotional win. “They work so hard each day. When we go on the field, we feel we’re going to win regardless of any situation, regardless of how much our backs are against the wall. We showed that tonight against a really good football team.”
It was the first time Callaway and Thomas County Central played, and they put on a show for the fans.
“Coach (Ashley) Henderson and Thomas County Central, what a tradition, and they have a really good football team, and I’m proud of our guys fighting, and I’m proud to do it on the road,” Wiggins said. “It was a big road trip at their place, and we had some adversities through the game that we handled and overcame those and kept fighting, and kept believing in one another and found a way to win, and I think that’s a great testimony to the character of our kids.”
Callaway’s challenging schedule continues next week with a road game against Haralson County (5-0), which has reached the halfway point of its schedule with a perfect record.
Haralson County improved to 5-0 with a 44-0 win over Banks County last week.
Lafayette Christian School, meanwhile, is in the midst of a three-week stretch without a game.
Lafayette Christian (3-1) doesn’t play again until it hosts Flint River Academy on Oct. 30 in its region opener.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Troup at Kendrick (Memorial Stadium), 7 p.m.
Carver at LaGrange, 7:30 p.m.