Valley Preps

LaGrange withstands Harris County’s comeback efforts in 30-20 win

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

LaGrange quarterback Laperrion Perry had his dancing shoes on Friday night in his team’s homecoming game against Harris County.

Perry made moves all over the field scoring all four of his team’s touchdowns in a 30-20 win at Callaway Stadium.

When Harris County charged ahead in third quarter to take a 14-13 lead, Perry hit Enrique Moody for a 36-yard gain inside the 10-yard line to set up a 22-yard field goal that gave LaGrange a 16-14 advantage.

The junior made sure the lead was safe by adding two scores in the fourth quarter. He finished with 11 carries for 147 yards was 7 of 16 passing for 96 yards. He had five plays go for 25 yards or more, and two of them were touchdown runs.

LaGrange coach Dialleo Burks summed up the performance by calling it “electrifying.”

“He is able to dissect what the defense is doing,” Burks said. “He’s a competitor, and wants to win every play. He needs to gain more experience at the position, but when it comes down to just putting the ball in his hands, and him making plays – that’s what he does best.”

Harris County put up a fight, but couldn’t overcome Perry’s standout performance, and a pair of costly turnovers. It put the ball on the ground five times, and lost it twice.

While LaGrange gave up more than 225 rushing yards, Burks praised the defense’s effort against Harris County’s deceptive rushing attack that features motion, and multiple options in the backfield.

“That offense is tough, we have been seeing spread offenses all year,” Burks said. “We bent, but didn’t break.”

Perry gave the defense an early cushion, putting LaGrange ahead two scores in the first half. He scored the first touchdown with the offense backed up in a third-and-15 at midfield.

After dodging a defender in the backfield, he pulled the ball down and burst towards Harris County’s sideline.

Harris County tried to keep him boxed in, but Perry bounced back towards the middle of the field where he made two more defenders miss, going 50-yards for the score.

Perry’s touchdown put LaGrange up 6-0 with 4:16 to go in the first quarter. A high-snap on the extra-point led to a failed 2-point conversion.

The junior displayed similar athleticism on his second touchdown when he turned what should have been a short gain on a called run into an unlikely 32-yard touchdown.

Perry had the entire defense following him on the play, but somehow made it to the edge around the right side of his line, where he used some quick footwork to weave through the secondary down.

The quarterback tiptoed down the sideline for the score to put LaGrange up 13-0.

“I came in expecting we would go hard,” Perry said. “We went hard, but some of their defense, got us, confused us on the routes. I had no choice a couple of times, but to take off.”

Despite Perry’s fireworks, Harris County went into the half with some momentum thanks to a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ate more than eight minutes of the clock.

The offense ran the ball 12 straight times until it faced a third and goal from the 10-yard line.

LaGrange was betting on a run, and didn’t have any of Harris County’s receivers covered in the end zone.

Quarterback Chandler Lott had pressure in his face on the throw, but lofted a pass to John McGowan for the touchdown to cut LaGrange’s lead to 13-7 with 1:12 left in the first half.

Both of Harris County’s previous drives stalled once it crossed midfield. It failed to convert a fake punt on a fourth down in the first quarter, and Bubba Blackmon fumbled at LaGrange’s 37-yard line on the first play of the second quarter.

Harris County had another strong drive in the third quarter, converting twice on fourth downs, to take what would be its only lead of the game on a 8-yard run from James Adams.

Defensive lineman Kevonta Fanning came in the game on offense on a fourth-and-two, and ran 22-yards on the drive.

Burks credited his team for responding to adversity for a second straight week. Last week, it won a contested matchup 35-28 over Shaw. It was the fourth one-possession game it played this season.

“It’s what we have been through all year,” Burks said. “The games we lost, those were all similar types of (close) games. It s started last week when we were able to pull out the Shaw game. We hit that point this week, and I told them we’ve been here before.”

Friday at Callaway Stadium

Harris County  0 7 7 6

LaGrange 6 7 3 14

First Quarter

L – Laperrion Perry 50 run (2-point conversion failed), 4:16

Second Quarter

L – Perry 32 run (kick good), 9:22

H – John McGowan 10 pass from Chandler Lott (kick good), 1:12

Third Quarter

H – James Adams 8 run (kick good), 4:35

L – Matthew Thomas 22 field goal, 0:12

Fourth Quarter

L – Perry 14 run (kick good), 6:42

H – TJ Chiles 2 run (kick failed), 3:44

L – Perry 5 run (kick good), 0:31

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google

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