LaGrange finished the 2017 season with a hard-fought 27-17 loss to USA South champion Huntingdon on Saturday in Callaway Stadium. It was Senior Day for the Panthers, who finished 4-6 (3-4 USA South) in Steve Pardue's first year as head coach.
Before the game, the seniors were recognized. Rayshaun Bagsby, Connor Blair, Kiontai Button, Cameron Carder, Hank Harrison, Zachary Kudwa, Madison McCollough, Khary Paige, Demetrius Rodgers, Fabian Ryan, Nicholas Searcy, Shamar Slappy, and Ed Wright played their final game for the Panthers.
"We appreciate the seniors, what they did with a new coach coming in their senior year and a new staff," Pardue said. "I thought they bought in and tried to do what we asked them to do and I appreciate that personally. Hopefully we can get this program built and look back one day and they were the foundation of it and always be a part of the program."
Huntingdon (9-1, 7-0 USA South) scored on three straight drives in the first half to build a 21-0 lead. The Panthers had two drives end in turnovers, one at the one and another inside the 10-yard line. LC got on the board with a 31-yard field goal from Kudwa to make it 21-3 at halftime.
In the second half, the defense held the Hawks to a pair of field goals by Chase Young. The offense came to life in the fourth quarter. Brendon Scott finished a five-play 62-yard drive with a 7-yard run to make it 27-10. Kevin Hollingsworth recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Panthers at the Hawks' 49. Blair found Austin Sapp down the sidelines on the next play for LC's second touchdown in 10 seconds to close within 10. Huntingdon was able to run out the final minutes to insure the win.
"I like how we finished the game. I thought our kids competed to the end and that's what we ask them to do against a real good football team we're right there in it," said Pardue. "I thought we missed a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half we would love to have back. I was glad to see us play better defensively in the second half. I thought we played a lot better than the first half. This is kind of the way its been all year, we've got to learn to play four quarters."
Blair finished the game 14-for-28 for 191 yards, the touchdown to Sapp and an interception. He also rushed for 57 yards on nine carries. Ryan and Rhett Mixon each had nine tackles on defense. Jaxson McFadden had seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Bagsby had a force fumbe to go with four tackles, while Rodgers had a quarterback sack.