’10 LaGrange Football—Game 7 vs. Carrollton Trojans

By Scott Sickler, (LHS '80, LaGrange Football Historian)

 

Two of the most tradition-rich programs in the state of Georgia collide once again this evening at Callaway Stadium in the first meeting between the long-time GHSA football state powers since the GHSA 3A state quarterfinals matchup in 2004 at Grisham Stadium. In 2004, No. 1-ranked LaGrange (13-0) used a suffocating, super physical defense to shut down a high-powered Carrollton (12-1) offense as the Grangers recorded a convincing 17-3 win over the No. 2-ranked Trojans. It was a No. 1 vs. No. 2, 12-0 vs. 12-0 showdown and a tremendous crowd at Grisham Stadium. It's very rare for two outstanding traditions such as LaGrange and Carrollton to have a first but that may be the case this evening if the favorite 6-0 and No. 3-ranked Trojans pick up their first-ever win over LaGrange (3-3). 

 

—LaGrange leads the all-time series with Carrollton by a 13-0 count in a series which began in 1919.

 

The LaGrange-Carrollton all-time series history is as follows:

 

—1919, LG, 33-0

—1920, LG, 49-0

—1922, LG, 39-0

—1924, LG, 86-0*

—1947, LG, 38-6

—1948, LG, 19-6

—1949, LG, 41-6

—1950, LG, 32-6

—2000, LG, 17-7

—2001, LG, 31-7*

—2002, LG, 49-7

—2003, LG, 10-0*

—2004, LG, 17-3*

 

*—Denotes years in which LaGrange won a state championship (2002, 2003 and 2004) or laid a "claim" ie: pre-GHSA days (1947 back) as LG laid a "claim" to a state title in 1924, it's second "claim" as the first "claim" came in the 1921 season.

 

In the 13 LG-Carrollton games played, LaGrange has outscored Carrollton 461-48.

 

—LaGrange is also 8-1 all-time vs. Carrollton A&M and LG is also unbeaten against Central-Carrollton. 

 

—LaGrange coach Steve Pardue is 5-0 vs. Carrollton and 3-1 overall vs. Carrollton's Rayvan Teague was Swainsboro's coach in 2000 when the Tigers upended the Grangers in the "Mud Bowl" at Callaway Stadium in 2000 by a 6-0 score. Pardue is 3-0 vs. Teague in his tenure as the Carrollton coach (2002, 2003 and 2004.) Ross New was Carrollton's coach in 2000 and 2001 seasons. 

 

—LaGrange's Steve Pardue has won three state championships (2001, 2003 and 2004) and was an assistant on LaGrange's undefeated 1991 GHSA 4A 15-0 state and USA-Today national championship team.

 

—Carrollton's Rayvan Teague won a GHSA 3A state championship at Swainsboro in 2000.

 

 —LaGrange will be honor the 1991 state and USA-Today national champions (15-0) in the 2011 season on their 20th anniversary as well as the 10th anniversary of the  2001 undefeated 3A state champions (14-0)—Westlake game in 2001 was canceled and not made up after all GHSA games were postponed or canceled due to the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. 

 

—LaGrange's 2004 3A undefeated 15-0 state champions ended the season being ranked in five different national polls and in the Top-20 of three. They also began the 2004 season nationally-ranked and No. 1 in GHSA 3A in a rare wire-to-wire run as the No. 1 team in the state the whole season. LaGrange opened the 2004 season at home in routing 5A preseason No. 2 and nationally-ranked Newnan Cougars 35-7 on CSS TV in a sign of things to come for the other 14 opponents later in the season. A strong argument can be made that the 2004 LaGrange team may have been the finest in over 100 years of LaGrange football and few could argue. It was Granger football and LaGrange defense with a "swagger" level off the charts ..."agile, mobile and extremely hostile" a la Granger style. 

 

Clean Sweep for LaGrange:

 

LaGrange was a clean sweep winner of the Georgia High School Football Daily (GHSFD) newsletter’s four awards for the decade 2000-09. 

—3A Player of the Year — Tray Blackmon (LB); 

—3A Coach of the Decade — Steve Pardue;

—3A Team of the Decade — 2004 LaGrange; 

—3A Program of the Decade —LaGrange.

 

LaGrange Greats Recognized—Olajubutu, Blackmon and Mansour named to maxpreps.com (CBS Sports website) Georgia All-Decade Team for 2000-09.

 

—Linebacker Sam Olajubutu (2001—led team to 14-0 season and 3A state championship and considered one of LaGrange's all-time greatest players and leaders); 

—Linebacker Tray Blackmon (2004) resembled a missile and played on three LaGrange state championship teams in 2001, 2003 and one of the school's all-time greatest teams in 2004. Was also the AJC all-classification player of the year and unanimous All-American); 

—Placekicker Joseph Mansour (2009), Georgia's all-time 50-yard plus field goal kicker wlth five FGs over 52 yards. Also had 84 percent of his kickoffs in high school in the end zone for automatic touchbacks. Currently at the University of Kentucky. 

 

—LaGrange has posted an all-time state playoff record of 59-27-1 and 54-25-1 since 1948 (GHSA-recognized.)

 

—LaGrange’s regular season finale against Troup will be the school’s 1,000th all-time officially recorded game. (It’s believed LG has well over 700 wins but many are missing from 1908-09 to 1920 seasons.)

 

LaGrange Football — a championship program. 

—LaGrange just completed the school’s most successful decade of GHSA 3A football with a sparkling 114-17 overall record from 2000-09 seasons. Peach Co. was second at 102-27 and Shaw third at 101-28. In the decade of 2000-09, LaGrange was ranked No. 1 for 53 weeks, far and away the best in 3A football. Cairo was second at 14 weeks, Hart Co. third at 12 weeks, Screven Co. fourth at 10 weeks, Carver fifth at nine weeks and Peach Co. sixth at eight weeks. WACO, Cartersville, Carrollton, Gainesville, Fitzgerald and Swainsboro rounded out the Top-12.

 

Harris named to All-SEC Decade of the 1990s Team

—Former LaGrange All-American and Mississippi State defensive back Walt Harris (1991 senior on LaGrange's GHSA 4A and USA-Today national championship team) was named to the first-team defense for the SEC All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Harris was the only Miss. State first-team selection on defense or offense. Harris was also named to the NFL's NFC Pro Bowl team in 2007 following a terrific season with the San Francisco 49ers. 

 

Poole a member of New England Patriot world championship teams in 2003, 2004

—Former LaGrange and Fort Valley St. (Ga.) defensive back Tyrone Poole was a member of Bill Bellicheck's 2003 and 2004 back-to-back New England Patriots Super Bowl champions and world championship teams. 

 

Pardue has amassed an impressive 26-10 state playoff record in 12 seasons of postseason play, one of the top marks and one of the highest winning percentages in all of GHSA football. 

 

LaGrange Anniversary teams: The 2010 season is the 80th anniversary of the 1930 Grangers. In 1930, LaGrange’s nickname was the Veterans, a contest was held and chose Grangers as the official nickname, which has stayed the same for 80 years now.  LaGrange defeated Newnan 33-0 in 1930 (Nov. 22) to lay a claim for the mythical state championship, it’s fifth overall at that time — along side other claims in 1921, 1924, 1925 and 1926. LG then went on to lose the Southern prep football championship to Columbia, S.C. in the Charity Bowl, by a 30-6 score.  The 2010 season is also the 85th anniversary of the perfect season LaGrange Veterans of 1925, the school’s third claim to a state title (1921, 1924 others.)

 

—The 2010 season is also the 55th anniversary of the LaGrange 1955 co-state championship team. LaGrange tied Rossville 13-13 on Dec. 9, 1955 in bitterly cold Rossville, Ga., on the Tennessee border. Earlier that year in the state playoffs, LaGrange defeated a Pat Dye-led Richmond Academy Musketeers team, 20-13.

 

LaGrange vs. Legendary Region 1 Foes...

 

—From 1954-67, LaGrange was a combined 69-40-7 against Region 1 foes and proudly boasts and all-time record of 76-45-7 for a .621 winning percentage. LaGrange is one of very few schools in Georgia that can boast of an overall winning percentage all-time vs. Region 1 rivals. In 1996, LaGrange defeated Region 1-AAAA foe Tift Co. Blue Devils 19-10 at Callaway Stadium in a GHSA 4A first-round state playoff game. Tift Co. entered the game with Region 1-AAAA's top-ranked rushing defense in allowing a little over 50 yards per game. LaGrange rushed for well over 200 yards in the win and the Grangers defense held Tift Co. to just 15 net yards rushing. In 1983, Tift Co. defeated LaGrange for the 4A state championship. 

 

Championship defense — LaGrange style..."agile, mobile and extremely hostile" 

 

—The cornerstone for any great LaGrange football team through the years has been superb team defense. It’s been the backbone of every state championship the Grangers have ever won. LaGrange’s defense has recorded an astounding 209 sacks in state championship-winning seasons in 1991 (a school-record 63), 2001 (50), 2003 (49) and 2004 (47). 

 

—2004 LG team in elite company: The powerhouse 2004 LaGrange 15-0 3A state championship and nationally-ranked team (five polls) is in elite company in GHSA football history. The ‘04 Grangers are one of  just 11 teams since 1947 to have won every game by at least 11 points. Valdosta’s legendary 1971 team — called by many as the best in state history — is the leader in winning every game by 21 points. 

 

Big Game Grangers: 

—According to the AJC’s computerized-rankings game, LaGrange has played in 19 of the top 200 best-ever games ever played in the state, based on the strength of the two teams combined.  LG had five of the 19 games in 1991, including the legendary 6-0 Valdosta game, which ranks No. 3 all-time in state history,  just behind a pair of 1980 games played between Valdosta and Lowndes Co. By contrast, the 2008 Northside-Lowndes Co. showdown ranked only 150th among the 200 games, based upon the current ratings. 

 

—LaGrange has won or laid a claim to 11 state championships. LG is also 10-4-1 in title-deciding games. 

 

—LaGrange and Newnan are now tied at 20-20 since 1966 as each school is an even 10-10 at each other's fields since Drake Stadium opened in Newnan with the arrival of Max Bass, Cougars coach for 29 years (1966-1994).

 

LaGrange has had five teams (‘83, ‘86, ‘90, ‘91 & ‘04) nationally-ranked in at least one national or as many as five national polls (‘04 season.)

 

—LaGrange has recorded an all-time season-opening game record of 61-36-4 in 100 recorded years of football.

 

LaGrange Football — a Cavalcade of Legends: 

 

—LaGrange has played football (documented) since at least 1909 and has a long-standing tradition of attracting some of the great coaches coaches and names in Southern football history. In addition to the legendary Granger Hall of Fame coach Oliver Hunnicutt, LaGrange has also produced some of the most significant men in Southern football history in Bernie Moore, LaGrange's head coach in 1918-20, later head coach of the LSU Tigers and the first full-time and second overall commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. Moore moved the SEC office from Jackson, Miss. in 1940 to Birmingham, Ala., and served as SEC commissioner from 1948-66. Moore's tenure as SEC commissioner is still the longest in SEC history which includes seven commissioners including present leader Mike Slive. Other coaching legends who served time at LaGrange included T.W. (Tatum) Gressette, a former South Carolina Gamecock football star and head coach of the then-known LaGrange "Veterans" from 1923-26. Gressette led LaGrange for four seasons and three straight from 1924-26 when LaGrange won 31 straight games against high school competition. Amos M. Teasley Jr., served as LaGrange's coach in 1940-41 but was better known for his service to his country as an FBI agent under legendary J. Edgar Hoover for more than 30 years. It was Teasley's keen investigative work which played a important role in the solving of the 1950 Brinks robbery in Boston. Teasley served under Hoover in the FBI not only in Boston but also Cleveland and Washington as well. 

 

Granger Greatness:

 

—When it comes to tradition and success, LaGrange football takes a back seat to only one program in the state of Georgia — the famed Valdosta Wildcats. Since the 1983 season, LaGrange has had five players who have been rated as the No. 1 player in the nation at their respective position or No. 1 player overall by at least one if not several national recruiting publications. 

—In 1983, QB Vince Sutton (Alabama) and DL/OL Nate Hill (Auburn) were both considered the top prospects at their positions in the U.S. and Sutton was the overall No. 1-rated prospect in the nation by nearly every recruiting organization. 

—In 1986, John Johnson DE/DT/LB (Clemson) was considered by the No. 1 rated player at his position(s) by several national recruiters. 

—In 1991, QB Rodney Hudson (Miss. State) was considered as the No. 1-rated quarterback prospect.

 In 2004, Tray Blackmon (Auburn) in 2004 was the No. 1-ranked LB prospect by nearly every national recruiting service. 

 

LaGrange owns winning record vs. legendary Boys’ High of Atlanta:

 

—LaGrange may be the only team in GHSA history to own an all-time winning record vs. the premiere pre-GHSA (1947-present) high school football program in the state in legendary Boys’ High of Atlanta. LG was 3-0-1 in four meetings in 1922, (LG 44-0), 1924 (14-0), 1925 (LG 20-6) and a tie in 1939 with Boys’ B-team at 6-6. Boys’ High won 10 state championships prior to 1947. One of the many legends at Boys’ High was the former Georgia Tech legend Clint Castleberry, ranked as the second greatest HS football player in Georgia history in a recent story.

 

 LaGrange has had more players drafted by NFL teams than any other school in Georgia since 2000. LaGrange also is one of the top producers of SEC talent.