Preview: Lagrange Grangers

The 2006 Grangers come off what some say was a rebuilding year. LaGrange graduated 25 players in 2004, including three that went to SEC schools. So when the 2005 season started, few expected the Grangers to go deep in the playoffs. As they often do, LaGrange exceeded those expectations finishing 10-4 and ending the season in the semifinals.

This season, LaGrange returns seven starters on offense and nine on defense, including Division 1 prospects D.J. Stafford and Mychal Bailey.

On offense, LaGrange has five trying out for the quarterback spot. The top two are Rodney Tolbert and Trey Duffy. Running back Bernard Heard returns for his second season as starter. The fullback position was vacated by Michael Kendall. Dez Lovett and William Smith are battling for that job. Look for LaGrange to pass more with A.J. Hardy at wingback and Mario Poythress, Colby Terry and Randall Burden sharing time at split end/wide receiver.

On defense, Division 1 prospects Ironman Mychal Bailey and D.J. Stafford start at will linebacker and defensive end, respectively. Sophomore Qua Huzzie starts at sam linebacker and has been compared to Tray Blackmon and Sam Olajubutu.

Junior Pat Simmons will handle extra point and short field goal duties, while freshman Joe Mansour will handle the kickoffs and long field goals.

The Grangers see many familiar teams as every team from the 2004 & 2005 Region 2-AAA return, plus the addition of Columbus schools Carver and Hardaway. LaGrange once again expects to contend for the region championship and go deep in the playoffs.

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