WHAT A GAME: LaGrange scores twice in under a minute, stuns Troup to clinch playoff berth – LaGrange Daily News
WHAT A GAME: LaGrange scores twice in under a minute, stuns Troup to clinch playoff berth
Posted 11:58 p.m. on Friday, November 4, 2022
Friday night’s LaGrange-Troup game had it all. Critical turnarounds, late-game heroism, and a hint of madness with a pinch of the impossible.
The Grangers came into the game in a must play scenario to qualify for the playoffs and showed every ounce of heart they had to knock down no. 4 Troop 38-34. LaGrange (8-2) scored two touchdowns in under a minute to stun the Tigers, ending Troup’s (9-1) run in the first perfect regular season in school history.
“I think it’s important to remember how much these young men put into these games,” LaGrange coach Matt Napier said. “These young men don’t just show up on Fridays and play ball. They dedicate their lives to Granger football.
Troup didn’t have much to play for outside of bragging rights, but it still wasn’t a satisfying end to the 2022 regular season.
“I thought we were bad in all three phases,” said troop coach Tanner Glisson. “What disappointed me the most tonight was our effort. I felt like they wanted this game a lot more than us.
While the game was full of momentum swings, a major defensive play completely changed the game. With 2:41 left in the game, Parker Shattuck skipped a short screen pass from Troup quarterback Taeo Todd , collected the ball and sent it back inside the Tigers’ five-yard line.
“Coach Napier told me he liked my commitment,” Shattuck said. “He loved that I didn’t want to leave the pitch. I played the whole match and I played my heart.
It was a game where tons of LaGrange players played with their hearts on their sleeve.
After Shattuck’s interception, AJ Tucker crossed the goal line on a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Grangers a 38-34 lead after the PAT. Both players will now be etched forever in Granger history.
“I’m so proud of Parker,” Napier said. “He has guts. We count every game played by every player. Every week, he plays over 70 players a week and gives his all on both sides of the ball.
The game had more drama than a Shakespearian play as two heavyweight fighters threw hay on the biggest stage in the county.
LaGrange delivered the first blow when the Grangers fell just 1:14 behind to go 74 yards down the field to score. Tucker dove into the end zone from 20 yards out to give the Grangers a 7-0 lead.
The Tigers had an answer in the form of Todd, who shrugged off a fumble on the Tigers’ initial possession of the game by scoring at short range. This reduced the lead to 7-6 Grangers.
With 6:09 to go in the first half, Christian Ceja netted a field goal from 26 yards out as he sent the ball through the uprights to give the Grangers a 10-6 lead.
Todd showed why he’s the favorite to be named AAAA Player of the Year when he pulled a bunny out of his hat and stayed up on a 35-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers their first lead in the league. match, but it was the Grangers who brought the magic. On the next drive, Magic Johnson got the better of the Tigers defense in line with a 56-yard touchdown reception as Jaylan Brown dropped an absolute dime in his arms.
The Grangers thought they would take the lead in the break, but Troup responded with a 46-yard catch and swung off Noah Dixon to give the Tigers a 20-17 lead before halftime.
The third quarter was quiet as neither team scored. Troup took the first 6:05 of the third quarter but couldn’t find the end zone as a turnover on the downs returned the ball directly to LaGrange.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Todd joined Dixon on a 27-yard touchdown connection to give the Tigers their first double-digit lead of the game.
The Grangers responded quickly with a 20-yard touchdown from Johnson that cut the lead to three with just over seven minutes remaining.
The fourth quarter was one of superheroes, including Todd responding to the bell with a long touchdown run to give the Tigers another double-digit lead with 5:24 left in the game.
On the ensuing drive, Brown put the Grangers on their backs and produced an iconic Granger play when he ran through three defenders for a score of over 50 yards with just over three minutes left.
“He’s got guts and he’s done game after game,” Napier said. “Jaylan has been doing this all year for us. He’s a guy you can count on. We’ve been through a few battles together. To see him pull through and make a special game like that was amazing for our team.
Two plays later, Shattuck intercepted the ball and placed the Grangers in enemy territory.
“It was a screen game, and we probably should have thrown the ball instead of forcing it,” Glisson said. “If we could do it all over again, there’s a lot we’d do in all three phases. I don’t really look at one piece in particular.
Troup mounted a late drive that ended inside Granger’s 30-yard line as a Todd pass was completed before the sticks on fourth down.
Jubilation took over the sideline from LaGrange. The Grangers booked a playoff spot with the win.
LaGrange finished the regular season 8-2 overall and 5-2 in regional play. The Grangers will face Burke County next week in the first round of the playoffs at Callaway Stadium. After a lot of ups and downs this season, the Grangers will enter the AAAA playoffs as the top two seeds.
“Feels good, I want a few more (cold water baths),” Napier said with a laugh. “I want the expectation that we are not dropping a water bath for this game, we are doing it for a regional championship.”
Troup ends the regular season 9-1 overall and 6-1 in regional play. The Tigers won their first regional title in 35 years and can wash the taste of defeat out of their mouths with a playoff game next Friday against New Hampstead at Callaway Stadium.
“We have to make sure this game doesn’t beat us twice,” Glisson said. “The good thing about it is that we have a chance to go and do something good next week.”