Grangers look for bounce-back win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re rested and ready to roll.
The LaGrange Grangers, who were off last week after falling to Carver on Oct. 16, will continue their season with a home game against the Jordan Red Jackets on Thursday.
With a win, the Grangers would solidify their position as one of the four state-playoff teams from Region 2-AAAA.
The Grangers (4-2 overall) are in excellent position in the region with a 3-1 record, and with a win over Jordan they’ve moved into a third-place tie in the region with Troup.
LaGrange plays Spencer next week before closing the regular season with games against Troup and Hardaway, teams with one region loss between them.
First up is Thursday’s showdown with Jordan (2-4 overall), which is still very much in the playoff picture with a 2-3 region record.
“They’re fighting for a playoff spot, just like we are,” said LaGrange head coach Matt Napier. “They’ve got an opportunity to get in the playoffs if they win, and they’re approaching this game I’m sure with that in mind. They’ve got some players that scare you. Their interior defensive linemen are really big kids. Offensively, they run the spread, and the quarterback can run, and they’ve got a couple of guys that are explosive.”
While this seems to be a soft spot in the schedule with Jordan and Spencer in back-to-back weeks, Napier stressed that all of the effort in practice has been geared toward performing well in Thursday’s game.
“There’s no looking past them right now,” Napier said. “We’re preparing every day to beat Jordan and not look ahead. They’ve had our undivided attention. We’ve stressed to the kids how important this game is for us, and our future. So, it’s a big one. It’s a region game, and we’ve got to approach it as though it’s the most important game we’ve played.”
LaGrange saw its four-game winning streak come to a close with the 36-14 loss to Carver.
The game was tied at 14-14 in the third quarter, but Carver scored three unanswered touchdowns to win going away.
“It’s never fun from a coach’s or a player’s standpoint to get a week off after you lose, because you want to get that bad taste out of your mouth,” Napier said. “But I felt like the kids played really hard. They made a couple of mistakes in the second half of the game that are tough to overcome. The kids know that, and they’re eager to grow. We didn’t have any negative energy or anything like that. The kids were eager to watch the film and get better and grow from it. Even though it was a loss, it was a positive experience for our team, because the feeling was and they saw we can compete at a high level if we just take care of this thing or that thing. So there were definitely positives coming from a loss, which you always try to learn from.”
On a night when a lot of things went wrong, senior running back Kale Gibbs continued to perform at a high level.
Gibbs ran for 134 yards on 24 carries, and he has more than 700 yards this season, despite missing much of two games with an injury.
Quarterback Jaylan Brown ran for 26 yards on eight attempts, and he scored both of Troup’s touchdowns.
Defensively, Kway Coverson had a big game with 11 tackles, while Isaiah Jordan and Jarno Huzzie had 10 and nine tackles, respectively.
“We’re just trying to get better,” Napier said. “We’re still in the middle of the growth phase. We definitely focused on some fundamentals and things like that.”
WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
RECORDS: LaGrange (4-2 overall, 3-1 in Region 2-AAAA); Jordan (2-4 overall, 2-3 in Region 2-AAAA)