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Panthers face Grangers in Troupe County
LCHS's first playoff game Saturday
Senior Panther defender Marcus Jefferson brought energy and excitement to the field all season, according to coach Kirk Warner. Jefferson finished the regular season with 83.5 tackles, leading the Panther defense. Thomas Penny came up just behind him with 81. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The LCHS Panthers head to LaGrange on Saturday to play their second first-round playoff game in the school’s history. The first playoff match was three years ago, also against LaGrange. Liberty County lost 26-0.
It’s a game Panther coach Kirk Warner said some of his players can still recall.
“Most of our guys who are seniors played their first playoff game when they were freshmen,” he said. “So it’s not like they haven’t seen them or been in a playoff scenario before. I think we tend to play well on the road and I don’t think this will be an exception.”
Warner said the Grangers aren’t big, but they are physical and will run the wing-T effectively.
“They are well coached and they can execute well,” he said. “But I think if we eliminate the penalties and turnovers we can play against anybody and that includes LaGrange.”
The coach said last week’s bye was a blessing that gave his players a chance to heal injuries and study the upcoming opponent’s strategies.
“I think our confidence level is up to where it needs to be,” Warner said. “Offensively, we worked on some hot routes because they have a tendency to blitz on every play. We have some short passing plays that will help Julian (Stokes) out and we’ll try and slow their blitz down a little bit.”
The coach said the Grangers are comparable to West Laurens and Washington County.
“But they can pass,” he said. “They have a big quarterback and we are just going to have to wrap him up and tackle him. Traditionally, we have done well defensively against the wing-T teams. I think our guys are up to the challenge.”
The Grangers finished second in Region 2-AAA, behind Carver-Columbus. Their region record is 5-1, and they are 8-2 overall. Their offense scored 314 point and their defense allowed 115 points.
The Panthers finished third in Region 3-AAA with a region record of 4-2 and an overall 7-3 record.
They’ve scored 213 points this season and allowed 129.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, LaGrange has won 114 games this decade, the most of any 2-AAA school.
The Panthers are looking to make it to their first second-round post-season game.
Saturday’s game is at 6 p.m. at Callaway Stadium, 801 Dallis St., LaGrange. Admission is $8.
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