No Playoffs For LaGrange, Columbus Prevails, 7-0
LaGrange High School will have to wait until 2016 or beyond to win its next state football championship.
The Grangers had one last chance to qualify for the Class AAAAA state playoffs on Monday night, and they fell seven points shy in a play in game at Tiger Stadium in Hamilton. The Columbus High Blue Devils issued the Grangers a 7-0 defeat in a minigame, which consisted of two five-minute halves.
Columbus will be moving on as the No. 4 seed out of Region 1. And LaGrange High will be staying at home when the state playoffs start on Friday. That does come as a bonafide disappointment for the Grangers, who most certainly had championship aspirations this year.
“From our seniors to our freshmen, we have expectations. We expect to be champions. Scheme-wise we were prepared to win. We have good players and a good system. We just didn’t execute (well enough),” said Ryan Daniel, a Grangers assistant coach.
And according to Daniel, “Coach (Dialleo) Burks has a plan, and he needs time to develop it.”
Burks is the LaGrange Head Coach, and his team had every chance to beat the Blue Devils for that final playoff berth out of Region 1. It did not happen with the minigame format.
“We were in an odd situation, and time was not our friend. We compete to be the best, and we didn’t quit,” said Burks. “But we had a lot of injuries (this season).”
LaGrange High’s heart and soul, junior quarterback Laperrion Perry, missed the play in game because of a toe injury. Perry, who is lightning in a bottle, has rushed for 1,458 yards and passed for 1,434 yards this season. Perry has 11 rushing touchdowns and 14 touchdown passes. “Laperrion is one of our premier leaders,” said Burks.
Granger senior Andrew Askew, who usually starts at wide receiver, got the starting nod at quarterback instead of Perry in the minigame against the Blue Devils. Askew manned up with 88 all-purpose yards. He ran for 46 yards on four carries. Askew also completed two of 10 passes for 42 yards.
But time ran out on the Grangers, who had a 5-5 regular season and a disappointing play in game. La-Grange High still got a fumble recovery from senior noseguard Emmanuel Mann with 1:15 left in the game.
Columbus High free safety Trysten Hall, a senior, returned the favor with 15 seconds left as he intercepted an Askew pass in the Blue Devil end zone. LaGrange High still won the statistical battle with 91 yards to Columbus High’s 68.
But the Blue Devils won the game. The only
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touchdown was scored by Blue Devil quarterback Derrick James on a 1-yard run with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.
And as LaGrange High senior linebacker Keaote Davis said, “We made too many mistakes.”
Davis played his final high school football game, as did his Granger teammate, Emmanuel Mann.
“I didn’t want to walk off that field,” said the 282-pound Mann. “Our team was grinding. We’re still the Granger family.”
And Columbus High, which is 7-3, is still playoff bound. The Blue Devils will
play Stockbridge on Saturday in Metro Atlanta in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We’re as good as anybody, and we’re determined. There is no quit in us,” said Blue Devils Head Coach Phil Marino.