Cavaliers a step closer to title
The Callaway Cavaliers still have plenty of work to do if they’re going to win a second straight Region 4-AAA championship, but they have firmly established themselves as the team to beat.
With last week’s 46-13 victory over Central-Carroll, Callaway is the only team without a region loss.
The Cavaliers (5-1 overall) are 3-0 in the region, and all three of those wins have been of the blowout variety.
Callaway opened region play with a 39-14 victory over Jackson, and it then went on the road and rolled past Chapel Hill 45-13.
That set up last week’s showdown against Central-Carroll, which came into the game with a 3-0 region record.
It was no contest.
The Cavaliers scored on a 91-yard touchdown pass from Tez Parks to Terry Godwin moments into the game, and they rolled from there to a 46-13 victory.
Godwin caught a pair of touchdown passes, and he also threw a scoring pass to Dante Lindsey on a trick play.
Parks, meanwhile, had a huge night with the two scoring passes, as well as three touchdown runs.
Devon Rosser also had a scoring run for the Cavaliers.
Defensively, Callaway had its way with Central.
The Lions’ only touchdown against Callaway’s first-team defense came after a Cavaliers’ fumble deep in their own territory.
The domination was complete.
“Coach (Dusty) Hubbard and the defensive guys did a wonderful job,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “Those kids ran to the ball all night, and they played so physical. Again, the defensive guys, and defensive coaches, along with our offensive guys and special teams, it was a good effort out of everybody.”
As for Godwin, he continues to show why so many high-profile programs are recruiting him.
Godwin has been making huge plays since his freshman season, and he was so highly regarded that he received a scholarship offer from the University of Georgia before his sophomore season.
His scoring catch at the start of the game was special.
His defender had solid coverage on him, but it didn’t matter.
Godwin and his defender both jumped as the ball approached, and it was Godwin who snatched it out of the air just short of midfield and then raced to the end zone for the touchdown.
That was just the start of an amazing night for Godwin.
With the Cavaliers up 26-13 in the third quarter, and the outcome still in doubt, Godwin ended up with the ball in the backfield, and he could have run it or passed it.
Lindsey was standing all by his lonesome in the end zone, no one within 10 yards of him, so Godwin threw him a strike for the touchdown.
Wiggins said the team has “been working on that all year, we’ve kind of been waiting on the right moment. We had it tonight.”
Godwin wasn’t done.
He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Parks late in the third quarter.
Then after Callaway’s final touchdown, Godwin again showed off his versatility.
Godwin was the holder on the extra point, and after a high snap, he pulled the ball out and found J’Lynn Allen for the two-point conversion.
It was a heads-up play, and it was also an indication of how well-coached these Cavaliers are.
No matter what happens, the players are prepared.
As impressive as the Cavaliers have been, of course, they know there’s work left to do.
The Cavaliers have four region games remaining, beginning with this week’s game at Haralson County.
The Cavaliers sure do look like the class of the region, though, and it’s hard to picture anyone knocking them off.
While Callaway’s place atop the region looks fairly secure, LaGrange and Troup are both in a fight to just finish among the top four in Region 5-AAAA.
LaGrange is 2-1 in the region, but it is coming off a disappointing 33-19 loss to Alexander last week.
A win would have put the Grangers at 3-0 in the region heading into a very winnable game this week against Fayette County.
Instead, the Grangers now find themselves facing a must-win scenario against Fayette County before heading into the meat of their region schedule.
The Grangers finish the season against Sandy Creek, Troup and Carrollton.
That’s a brutal closing stretch that includes games against the state’s top two teams according to every poll, as well as a showdown against their biggest rival in Troup.
But as disheartening as last week’s game was, it was just one game, and the Grangers can come back from it.
The Grangers have been hit hard by injuries this season, and they’ve basically had to play the entire season without their standout quarterback, Zach Giddens.
Giddens missed the first two games while recovering from off-season surgery, and he only played one quarter against Thomson in Week 3 before suffering a shoulder injury, and he hasn’t played since.
LaGrange has had a number of other key injuries on both sides of the ball.
The Grangers will have to find a way to overcome those injuries if they’re going to keep their playoff streak alive.
LaGrange has been in the state playoffs every year since 2000, a streak that now spans 13 years.
To keep that streak going, LaGrange will likely need to beat Fayette County, as well as Troup.
As for the Alexander game, the Grangers were down 6-0 at the half, and while the offense picked up the pace in the second half, the defense was unable to slow down the Cougars.
“We just couldn’t stop them. They physically beat us down,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “Lack of depth, with a bunch of young kids on defense, and they physically overwhelmed us.”
LaGrange did get a couple of touchdown runs from Benny Gray, and Mon Denson also had a scoring run.
Whenever the Grangers seemed to find some momentum, though, something would go wrong.
“Everytime we’d do something good, we’d so something bad,” Branch said. “We’d come back and score, and then we’d have a poor kickoff, or poor kickoff coverage and they had half a field to work with. We obviously didn’t do a very good job defensively, and that was the key.”
LaGrange now turns its attention to a Fayette County team that has struggled to a 1-5 record.
Fayette County had the same record a year ago, though, when it knocked off LaGrange, so there’s no doubt this game will have the full attention of the players and coaches.
The Troup Tigers, meanwhile, are 1-2 in Region 5-AAAA, but they can take solace in that the brutal stretch of back-to-back games against Sandy Creek and Carrollton is over.
Troup also has a win over Alexander to its credit, and that looks a lot more impressive in light of what happened last week.
After losing 21-0 at Sandy Creek, Troup lost to Carrollton 49-12 at home last week.
It was a miserable start for the Tigers, who found themselves down 42-0 early in the second quarter.
By the time the Tigers collected themselves, the game was effectively over.
Troup continued to fight hard, though, and it did some nice things the rest of the way.
Senior running back Daryl Dunlap, who has shown the past two years he can get it done against anyone, had a pair of touchdown runs, including a 47-yard scoring run late in the game.
Troup’s defense also settled down after the miserable start and played a lot better.
“I thought our seniors stepped up in the second half and showed some solid leadership,” Troup head coach Lynn Kendall said. “They were able to get the rest of the team behind them.”
It was an unbelievably difficult two-game stretch for the Tigers.
They played Sandy Creek on a Friday, and then had to turn around six days later and play a Carrollton team that has been blowing the doors off of every team it has played.
Kendall felt his team was well-prepared for the Carrollton game, things just didn’t go the Tigers’ way.
“That’s not something the typical high-school player faces in a given season, playing them back-to-back (games) like that,” Kendall said. “There was a little bit of toughness there. At the same time, we had a good game plan, we just didn’t execute, and they did.”
The schedule lightens up now for the Tigers.
On Thursday, they’ll visit a Columbus team that has just one win this season and was just blown out by a Fayette County team that had been winless.
But the Tigers know it’s a game they have to have to meet their goal of making the playoffs, so Kendall said it’s an assignment no one is taking lightly.
“That becomes the next big game in region play,” Kendall said. “We have to take care of some things right here if we’re going to meet our goal of getting to the playoffs.”
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