Cavs take aim at another rival
by By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
The Callaway Cavaliers have already vanquished one big-time rival this season.
Now they’ll try to make it two-for-two when they face the Troup Tigers Friday night at Callaway Stadium.
It’ll be Callaway’s first game since it blanked Heard County 34-0 on Aug. 23, meaning it will have had two weeks to prepare for Troup by the time the two teams mix it up on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“Obviously the Troup game will be a big atmosphere, as was the Heard County game,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “Our guys are focused on what we have to do, and they’re excited about the game. We’re looking forward to Friday night.”
Callaway is looking to win two straight games over Troup for the first time in the brief history of the rivalry.
Callaway won 28-7 a year ago, although Troup still holds a 3-2 edge in the series.
The teams have played every year since 2008.
“It’s the type of atmosphere that you look forward to,” Wiggins said. “The kids have worked really hard every day to get ready for Friday night.”
Callaway will look to build on its impressive opening-night performance against Heard County.
It was a highly-anticipated matchup, with both teams coming off exceptional seasons.
In the 2012 season opener, Heard County beat Callaway 43-37 in an offensive shootout, and both teams returned a lot of players, setting the stage for what figured to be another classic ballgame.
Instead, Callaway dominated the game in every way imaginable en route to the blowout victory.
Callaway’s offense duplicated its performance from last year’s Heard County game by moving the ball up and down the field with quarterback Tez Parks leading the way.
The big difference this year, though, was the performance of Callaway’s defense.
A year ago, Heard County’s offense was unstoppable, but it was a vastly different story this time around, with the Callaway defense throwing a blanket over the Braves.
Callaway’s defensive front dominated Callaway’s offensive linemen, and linebackers KeShun Freeman and Labronze Zelaya combined for 20 tackles.
“I was very proud of our guys,” said Freeman, who led the team with 12 tackles against Heard County. “They went out and worked really hard. Everyone was familiar with the job they had to do. Everybody was in the right place at the right time.”
Zelaya had eight tackles, and defensive lineman Deon Smith also had eight tackles, including three for loss.
Offensively, the Cavaliers figured to have no trouble putting points on the board with their high-powered option offense, and they didn’t.
Parks had three touchdown runs, and Devon Rosser added a 54-yard scoring run.
It was a special win for the Cavaliers, but Wiggins said the team had no trouble turning the page with the Tigers waiting in the wings.
“Troup has a great football team,” Wiggins said. “ It’s going to be a physical game. I feel like whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win the football game.”
Wiggins got a chance to watch Troup play last week against Redan, and he was impressed with what he saw.
Troup overwhelmed Redan 46-0 in a game that was as one-sided as the score indicated.
“(Head coach Lynn) Kendall and the Troup coaches have done a great job with their kids,” Wiggins said. “They really executed well, and they played hard. It’s going to be a great game, and a big atmosphere. I’m looking forward to it. The kids know one another, and families know each other. It should be an exciting game.”
TICKET NOTE: Advance tickets for Friday’s game are available at Troup High and Callaway High. Tickets will also be sold at the stadium on Friday. The advance tickets are $7, while tickets will be $10 at the gate.
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