LAGRANGE – It was just one game.
It was an ugly game to be sure, at least from the standpoint of the team on the wrong end of the scoreboard, but it was just one of 10 regular-season games.
That was one of the messages LaGrange High coach Dialleo Burks delivered to his players following last week’s 51-0 road loss to the Griffin Bears.
LaGrange (1-2), which opened the season with a 38-6 loss to Callaway before beating Villa Rica 28-7 in Week 2, will host East Coweta on Friday before taking a week off in preparation for the start of Region 5-AAAA play on Sept. 23 against Central-Carroll.
“We’re 1-2. Some of them were acting like we were 1-6,” Burks said. “It’s only two games. So we’re fine. We’ll get some guys back, and next week we’ll be off and we’ll get some guys rested up. We’ll get some guys well.”
There was no sugar-coating how badly last week’s game went, though.
Griffin dominated the game in every way imaginable, compiling nearly 500 yards of offense while limiting LaGrange to 105 yards, and nearly half of that came on one completion from Nathan Cronic to Jamari Thrash.
It was a 38-0 game at the half, and Burks had the option of going with a running clock, which would have shortened in the game.
He declined that option.
“I elected not to have a running clock,” Burks said. “That was all the talking right there. You’re either going to finish the game and play hard, or you’re going to sit here and take every bit of this thrashing. We had a lot of guys that stepped up and finished the game. We respect them for that. You’re looking for the guys that can step up, and fill roles.”
During practice this week, Burks spent some time making sure the players understood how important it is to be there for each other.
Burks said he asked the players “who are you playing the game for? Is it yourself? I want to know. I made every last one of them tell me before we left the locker room.”
Burks added that “for some, their mind wasn’t in the right place as to who they were playing for. There’s only one answer. It’s for the guy next to you. We can preach all day, and fuss all day, but if they’re not out there for the right reason, it doesn’t matter.”
Burks said that bond that develops between players, in good times and bad, is “what makes you stronger.”
As for this week’s assignment, it’s another challenging one for LaGrange.
East Coweta, which is led by former LaGrange High coach Steve Pardue, is 2-0 after beating Lovejoy 34-6 and Jackson 49-7.
In last week’s win over Jackson, East Coweta led 42-0 at the half, and the only touchdown it gave up came late in the third quarter when there was a running clock.
Burks would obviously like to see his team get the win to even its record at 2-2, but the main thing he’ll be looking for is for every player to give maximum effort from the first play until the last.
“The only thing I would like to see us do is compete until the end,” Burks said. “In the two games we lost, we didn’t compete. We didn’t compete as a whole. So if we do that, let the chips fall where they may. Don’t come out and lay down. Let’s challenge them.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports