By: By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
September 27, 2013
They’re rested and ready to attack their conference schedule.
The LaGrange College Panthers, who were off last week, will host Greensboro (N.C.) today in their USA South opener.
The Panthers’ final eight regular-season games will be against conference opponents.
LaGrange College brings an 0-2 record into the game, while Greensboro is 1-2 after beating Apprentice 34-21 last week for its first win.
“They’re a solid ballclub,” LaGrange College head coach Todd Mooney said of Greensboro. “They have a lot of good skill players. Their quarterback’s dangerous. They’ve returned a lot of the players who played against us last year. They’ve got some new folks in spots, but so do we.”
A year ago, the two teams met in the regular-season finale, with LaGrange College falling 31-27.
Greensboro scored a touchdown with just 17 seconds left in the game to pull off the win.
“It was back-and-forth the whole way through, and unfortunately, a disappointing loss,” Mooney said. “That’s one of the things the guys have had in the back of their mind all year, too.”
Greensboro features a balanced offense, with quarterback Ryan Throndset and running back Warren Scott leading the way.
In last week’s victory, Scott ran for 145 yards, and Trhondset threw for 129 yards with a touchdown.
“They got their first win this last week,” Mooney said. “When you get off the snide and get a chance to win, that breeds some enthusiasm. They’re going to be a tough opponent.”
The Panthers came close to getting their first win in their most recent game against Millsaps.
After losing to Birmingham-Southern 59-38 in their first game, the Panthers lost to Millsaps 28-24 the following week.
The Panthers trailed 28-14 early in the fourth quarter, and they scored 10 straight points and had the ball late with a chance to win, but a lost fumble ended the threat.
“Our guys, all the way across the board, offense, defense, special teams, they battled,” Mooney said. “When you battle like that, you want to come out on the right end. We didn’t. But you want to make sure you’re within striking distance in the fourth quarter, and that’s what our guys did. It was a see-saw battle. We did some good things, and we didn’t do some good things. We kept ourselves in the game. We gave ourselves an opportunity.”
Quarterback Graham Craig, in his second start, threw for 353 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and freshman Ervens Oge had 132 receiving yards, and Griffin Roelle and Korey Schick each had a scoring catch.
Craig threw a scoring pass to Schick with more than seven minutes remaining, and after an Andre Carter interception, the Panthers had the ball late with an opportunity to win the game.
It didn’t happen, but Mooney felt it was a big step for the team to have a chance to beat a high-quality opponent.
“I guess there are no moral victories. There really aren’t,” Mooney said. “But I think our guys really have a good understanding now of what they’re capable of doing against a pretty good opponent.”