By: By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
September 18, 2013
The next time the Callaway Cavaliers have an off week will be when their season comes to a close, and they’re hoping that comes sometime deep into the state playoffs.
The Cavaliers are coming off their second and final off week of the young season, and they’ll return to action on Friday when they host the Harris County Tigers in their final non-region game.
The Cavaliers are 2-0 after impressive wins over Heard County and Troup, while Harris County has won two straight to move to 2-1.
A year ago, Callaway trailed at the half before rallying to beat Harris County 24-21.
This year’s Harris County team is getting it done with an explosive offense led by Esaias Chapman, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season and is off to a fast start this year.
Keith Jenkins teams with Chapman to give the Tigers a potent one-two combination at running back, and the offense is even more dynamic with the presence of quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who returned for last week’s game against Veterans after missing one game.
Marshall had three touchdown runs against Veterans, including a 77-yard scoring run.
“He’s able to make plays when there’s not a play,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “We went to the (Veterans) game, and he made a lot of long runs in situations where there really wasn’t anything. He’s a big threat. And they have two great backs. Both of those kids can really play.”
Wiggins also said Harris County’s offensive line is a strength of the team, and he was particularly impressed with the center.
“I think their center does a great job,” Wiggins said. “He’s been one of the best linemen that we’ve seen this year. He does a great job of getting out in their screen game.”
It will be, Wiggins figures, another big-time challenge for his team.
“They have a great football team,” Wiggins said. “Again, it’s going to be another big atmosphere. I know they’re excited, just like we are. Friday night should be a lot of fun.”
Callaway is 2-0 in large part because it has played two mostly clean football games, and Wiggins is hoping that trend continues.
“Like I’ve said the last three or four weeks, the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win the ballgame,” Wiggins said. “Good teams have minimized those mistakes, and hopefully we can do that. And when they make mistakes, hopefully we can take advantage of it.”
The Cavaliers are looking to build on the momentum they’ve built in their two regular-season wins, as well as a 33-7 win over Shaw in a preseason game.
Callaway opened the regular season with a phenomenal performance in a 34-0 win over Heard County.
In a rematch of a game won by Heard County last season, Callaway dominated the game from the get-go en route to the shutout win.
After their first off week, the Cavaliers faced the Troup Tigers, and that game was a lot more competitive.
Callaway built a big lead, and then watched Troup score back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to get within five.
Callaway quarterback Tez Parks, who hadn’t played in the second half because of a hip injury, came back into the game after the Tigers made it a 26-21 game.
On his first play back, Parks ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run, giving the Cavaliers a crucial touchdown on the way to a 34-21 win.
“Momentum had swung,” Wiggins said. “The offensive line did a great job, and our receivers did a great job (blocking downfield). He’d be the first to say that. He went 60 yards, and gave us a bigger lead and the momentum back.”
That win allowed the Cavaliers to take a perfect record into their second off week, and Wiggins feels the team has had a productive couple of weeks leading up to the Harris County game.
“We had a good week of practice leading into the game. The kids come to work every day,” Wiggins said. “We’re trying to get better, and looking at one game at a time.”
WHO: Callaway (2-0) vs. Harris County (2-1)
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
LAST YEAR: Callaway beat Harris County 24-21