The first game of the season is always one of the most important contests of the year.
That’s a cold, hard football fact for LaGrange High head coach Dialleo Burks.
“The first game is a tonesetter for the season. You want to see the guys compete, and you want to play your best. All the seats are going to be filled,” said Burks.
Other than that, Burks and LaGrange High expect to have a nail-biter of a season- opener tonight against county rival Callaway. The game will get underway at 8 p.m. at Callaway Stadium.
Both teams should find out where they stand and how far they have come in the preseason drills. Burks and the Grangers are hyped, and they will need some of that emotion against the big and physical Cavaliers.
“Callaway is well coached. They know how to win. I’ve never seen them have a bad team. Callaway has an All-American lineman and some skill guys,” said Burks.
The Grangers will show up for the game anyway. LaGrange High can match athletes with any team in West Georgia.
“We have depth. We feel good. This is going to be an exciting year. This is going to be all-out football (against Callaway). We have some veterans and some younger guys. We’re going to be playing against some friends. We can’t have (a lot of) mistakes and penalties,” said Burks.
During the offseason and in the preseason camp the Grangers have found some leaders and some headhunters. They aren’t hard to spot, not with the likes of LaGrange senior linebacker Jadarius Young, senior safety Marcus Fanning, junior wide receiver Bo Russell, senior offensive tackle Coy Tedescucci, defensive tackle Marques Payne (5-foot-11, 252 pounds) and senior quarterback Amad Ogletree.
Tedescucci is ready to rumble, as are the rest of the Grangers. They lost twice in the preseason to Heard County and Newnan. La-Grange High does not plan to lose tonight against Callaway.
“Our last two days of practice have been better. We are ready for some football. We’re focused. We’re off the chain. We need to get locked in (on game night). And we are going to give everything that we have,” said Tedescucci, who is a big talent at 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds.
The offensive line maestro and his LHS teammates are ready to bring it.
“We’re going to punch them in the mouth on every play,” said Tedescucci.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer