LaGrange hammers North Clayton for homecoming win

Published 11:27 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

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LaGrange breezed to a 56-6 region win over North Clayton on Friday, celebrating homecoming in style.

“We had a great week of practice leading up to this, and I told the guys before the game that we are only promised 10 of these so make the most of every opportunity,” LaGrange coach Matt Napier said. “It was a massive crowd, and the guys had an opportunity to show what they were about, and they did that tonight.”
Despite the overwhelming start it was a bit of a slow start for the Grangers, who fumbled on their first possession which stalled out their drive. The rainy conditions were helping neither team as LaGrange fumbled a snap on its second possession as well.

“We started off a little slow in the rain early,” Napier said. “We haven’t had the chance to go through that so far this season, so I am glad we did so the guys can experience some setbacks in different ways.”

Eventually the offense settled in and attacked the Eagles from all angles. 

Gavin Barlow opened the scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:56 left in the first quarter after a forced fumble by Parker Shattuck was recovered on the North Clayton 43-yard line. 

The Grangers were able to double their lead less than 90 seconds later when Caydin Thomas scored his first of two rushing touchdowns on the night. 

This touchdown was curtesy of the defense once again as they dislodged the football and Shattuck jumped on the loose ball on the 11-yard line to give the Grangers great field position. 

“He is a great player, and a great kid,” Napier said. “He gives tremendous effort on every snap, which is why he is in position to make those plays.”

LaGrange was not done scoring in the first quarter as Malik Kemp connected with Denoryan Reid on a 44-yard touchdown to put the home team up 21-0 with 2:59 left in the first quarter.

Kemp threw his second pretty deep ball just minutes later when he hit Steven Hill on a 60-yard bomb for a touchdown.

Kemp capped off another great performance with a touchdown run on fourth down to put LaGrange up 35-0 halfway through the second quarter.

Thomas got his second touchdown on a long run with 4:18 left in the half, and after that the Grangers deployed their bench.

“We’ve got a lot of guys in there,” Napier said. “Shoot, I think we had seven different guys get touches just on our starting offense. You saw different guys get involved tonight.”

The Grangers found the end zone one final time in the first half when Reid came in at quarterback and connected with Tayshon Lemon in a 15-yard strike with just six seconds left in the half.

“I’m really proud of Denoryan,” Napier said. “He is our backup quarterback, and he came in and led a two-minute drill and scored.”

The Eagles got their only points of the game on a short touchdown run late in the first half after a big fourth down conversion.

Jhmarion Johnson got the final touchdown of the game on a short run halfway through the fourth quarter.

LaGrange (5-2) has now won three games in a row heading into its bye, outscoring opponents 133-6 in that span. It will be tough sledding for the Grangers after the bye as they host region leader Trinity Christian in a pivotal region matchup on Oct. 20. 

“We got a tough region, and we know what to expect,” Napier said. “We have to get ready for the next one as Trinity is a great team. We will enjoy this one just a little bit, but we will get back out there and focused next week.”