Technically it’s not a must-win game for the LaGrange Grangers.
Even if the Grangers lose Friday’s game to Fayette County, they would still have a chance to earn one of Region 5-AAAA’s top four sports and make it to the state playoffs.
In reality, though, this is a game the Grangers likely have to have if they want to play beyond the regular season.
After the Fayette County game, LaGrange finishes the regular season against Sandy Creek, Troup and Carrollton.
Sandy Creek and Carrollton are ranked first and second, respectively, in the state, and Troup always presents a tough challenge.
LaGrange finds itself in desperate need of a win after losing on the road to Alexander on Friday.
That loss dropped the Grangers (2-4 overall) to 2-1 in the region, and they’ve got the meat of their region schedule still to come.
As for the Fayette County game, LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch called it “a playoff game for us.”
The Grangers were in a similar position the past two years after losing road games to teams they felt they should have beat.
Both years, LaGrange rallied to make it to the playoffs.
“We dropped one last year at Fayette County. We dropped one the year before at Haralson County. Both big losses,” Branch said. “But we managed to play our way back in it. We need to be able to play our way back in it by getting a big win at home against Fayette County.”
Fayette County has struggled this season.
The Tigers (1-5 overall) lost their first five games before breaking through for a 34-6 win over Columbus last week to improve to 1-2 in the region.
While the record isn’t flattering, Fayette County had the same exact record a year ago before beating LaGrange 38-35 in overtime.
One of the teams hoping to grab one of Region 5-AAAA’s four playoff spots is Troup.
While the Tigers (2-4 overall) are 1-2 in the region, those losses have come in back-to-back weeks against Sandy Creek and Carrollton.
Troup has a chance to make up some ground the next two weeks against Columbus and Fayette County, who have two wins between them.
First up will be a matchup with Columbus on Thursday at Kinnett Stadium.
It will be Troup’s second straight Thursday-night game.
Last week, Troup lost to Carrollton 49-12.
“We have to turn around and play another Thursday night game against Columbus. We’ll get ready for that,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said.
Kendall said the team will quickly turn the page from last week’s frustrating loss to Carrollton.
“As a good friend of mind always says, you have to put it in the rearview,” Kendall said. “You can’t dwell on it too long, because you’ve got another one in seven days coming right back up at you.”
The Callaway Cavaliers, meanwhile, will continue their quest for a second straight Region 4-AAA title when they hit the road Friday night to play Haralson County.
The Cavaliers (5-1 overall) posted an impressive 46-13 victory over Central-Carroll last week in a matchup of arguably the region’s top two teams.
That win moved the Cavaliers to 3-0 in the region, and they’re the only team without a region loss.
Haralson County, meanwhile, is running out of time to make a playoff run.
The Rebels (2-5 overall) have lost back-to-back region games to fall to 1-3, and a loss to the Cavaliers would likely eliminate them from playoff contention.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Troup at Columbus (Kinnett Stadium), 7 p.m.
Fayette County at LaGrange, 7:30 p.m.
Callaway at Haralson County, 7:30 p.m.