LAGRANGE – They’re playing for pride.
As the LaGrange College Panthers headed to Maryville College last weekend, their hopes of winning the USA South championship were still very much alive.
The Panthers had one conference loss at the time, leaving them one game behind Maryville and Huntingdon.
For much of the game, it looked like LaGrange College was going to come away with a big road win.
As the third quarter came to a close, LaGrange College had a 28-14 lead, but it turns out Maryville had plenty of time to mount a comeback.
Maryville outscored LaGrange College 24-3 in the fourth quarter to claim a 38-31 victory.
With the loss, the Panthers (2-5 overall) fell to 2-2 in the USA South, and their title hopes are over.
Maryville (7-1) improved to 5-0 in the conference, and it will play Huntingdon today for the conference championship.
The Panthers have two games remaining, and they’ll look to close the season on an up-note.
Because the Panthers’ game at Averett on Oct. 3 was canceled because of severe weather, they will only play nine games this season.
LaGrange College will play its final home game today when it takes on North Carolina Wesleyan at 1 p.m.
North Carolina Wesleyan heads into the game on a hot streak.
After opening the season with four consecutive losses, the Battling Bishops have won three of their past four games, including their past two.
The Bishops have been getting it done with an explosive offense.
In back-to-back wins over Greensboro and Averett, North Carolina Wesleyan has scored a combined 117 points.
Overall, the Battling Bishops are averaging 31.5 points per game.
Quarterback Dustin Midgett is averaging 280 yards per game, and he has thrown 20 touchdowns.
Midgett’s favorite target is Malik Adams, who has 57 catches, and 12 of them have been for touchdowns.
Freshman running back Adrian Minondo has eight rushing touchdowns.
As potent as the Bishops have been on offense, they have struggled defensively.
The Bishops are giving up 427 yards and 31 points per game.
LaGrange College sophomore quarterback Connor Blair, who threw for 360 yards with three touchdowns in the Maryville game, will try to keep the North Carolina Wesleyan defense on its heels.
For the season, Blair is completing 65 percent of his passes and is throwing for more than 300 yards per game with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Josh Hardrick is one of the 16 LaGrange College players who has caught at least one pass this season.
Hardrick has 50 catches, including five for touchdowns, and Ervens Oge has 32 receptions and three touchdowns.
Marsalis Jackson has hauled in 29 passes, and he has four touchdowns, and Lavell Meeks has 19 catches with two touchdowns.
Untorrey Thomas, Nick Searcy and Joshua King each has one touchdown catch.
Jamarkis Holmes leads the team with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Searcy and Lewiski each has one rushing touchdown.
Nick Raszeja leads the LaGrange College defense with 61 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, and defensive back Brandon Penn has 52 tackles and two interceptions.
Defensive lineman Demetrius Rodgers has been an impact player this season with 45 tackles, including an impressive 10.5 tackles for loss.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports