After getting blown out by the Carrollton Trojans the past two seasons, the LaGrange Grangers were hoping this year’s game would yield a different outcome.
The script was mostly the same, though.
While the Grangers were more competitive with the Trojans than they were in 2010 and 2011 when they were outscored by a combined score of 105-7, they were once again over-matched en route to a 41-14 loss at Callaway Stadium.
The Trojans did it with a powerful rushing attack, with Jarvis Terrell leading the way with 240 yards, including touchdown runs of 90 and 77 yards.
The Grangers also did some good things on offense, accumulating nearly 300 yards on offense, but they were shut out in the second half and they had two costly turnovers.
“They have a really good football team,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “The best team won. They’re a better football team than we are.”
The game was the final one of the regular season for both teams.
LaGrange (5-5 overall) finished with a 4-3 record in Region 5-AAAA, and it will be the region’s third seed in the state playoffs.
LaGrange will visit Chestatee, the second-place team from Region 8-AAAA, in the opening round of the playoffs next week in Gainesville.
Carrollton (7-3) finished as the second seed behind Sandy Creek.
Trailing 27-13 at the half, the Grangers got the ball first at the start of the third quarter, and they quickly made it to the Carrollton 11-yard line after Zach Giddens completed a 26-yard pass to Dee Gates, and a 37-yard pass to Dee Smith.
On first down, though, Giddens threw an interception to Wil Garrett, ending the scoring threat.
“That was a backbreaker,” Branch said of the turnover. “We drive it right down, get right down there with a chance to cut it to one score and we turn it over.”
The Trojans then marched 83 yards in just four plays for the touchdown, with Trey Chivers scoring on a 31-yard run.
The Grangers went three-and-out on their next possession, and this time it took the Trojans just one play to score, with Terrell ripping off a 77-yard scoring run, and the extra point made it a 41-14 game with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
LaGrange’s defense buckled down after Terrell’s last scoring run, but the damage had been done.
“Defensively, there were some spurts where we played pretty good, got a couple of stops and put our offense in some good positions, and then didn’t do much with it,” Branch said.
The Grangers did find the end zone twice in the first half, both times with Giddens connecting with Gates.
The first of those touchdowns came after Carrollton took a 17-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Trojans got a 3-yard scoring run from Garrett, a 38-yard field goal from Tyler Newsome, and a 91-yard touchdown run from Terrell late in the first quarter to push the lead to 17.
The Grangers answered on the first play of the second quarter, with Giddens connecting with Gates for a 65-yard touchdown.
Giddens found Gates over the middle at about midfield, and Gates our-raced the Carrollton defense from there for the touchdown.
With 3:30 left in the first half, Malik Sheppard scored on a 3-yard run, and the Trojans were up 24-7.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, the Trojans failed on a fourth-down conversion attempt, and the Grangers took over at midfield.
After Giddens completed a 40-yard pass to Smith, he found Gates in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown, and Michael Ward’s second extra point cut Carrollton’s lead to 24-14.
The Trojans got a nice return on the ensuing kickoff, and they were able to drive down the field, setting up a 32-yard Newsome field goal as time expired.
Still, the Grangers were feeling good about their prospects after fighting back from the 17-0 deficit, but they were unable to keep that momentum going into the second half.