Looking back, though, Callaway defensive coordinator Dusty Hubbard isn’t overly surprised the Cavaliers struggled on the defensive side of the football that night.
Firstly, Heard County is obviously an excellent football team.
The Braves are 10-0, and they’re averaging more than 40 points a game.
Also, the Cavaliers were breaking in a handful of new starters that night, and some other players were playing different positions.
Callaway was also without a couple of defensive starters, including sensational sophomore cornerback Terry Godwin.
Since that game, Callaway has gotten better and better on the defensive side of the football.
As the Cavaliers (9-1) prepare for their state-playoff opener Friday night against Tatnall County (5-5), defense has become a strength.
Through 10 games, the Cavaliers are giving up just 14 points per game, and they’re allowing less than 10 points per game over their past six games.
“We’ve gotten better from game to game (on defense),” Hubbard said. “The biggest thing as coaches was we had some guys out of position. You have to figure that out. We knew going in defensively was where we lost most of our guys. We had basically all new linebackers inside and out.”
Ten games into the season, everyone has obviously settled into their roles.
The men up front are doing a great job of caving in the line of scrimmage, and a linebacking corps that was inexperienced at the start of the season has become a strength, with veteran Eddie Culpepper leading the way.
And in the defensive backfield, the Cavaliers have been dynamic, with Godwin, Wilson Lindsey and Cortez Leonard making a huge impact.
Those three players each have multiple interceptions this season, and they’ve each scored defensive touchdowns.
One of the strengths of the defense of late has been its ability to force turnovers, and sometimes turn those turnovers into points.
In last week’s regular-season finale against Rockmart, Godwin came down with a one-handed interception and then scored a touchdown.
“Turnovers don’t happen by accident,” Hubbard said. “They happen because defenses are aggressive, they tackle well, they’re around the football.”
While the defense has steadily improved, the offense has been on point since Day 1.
Even in the loss to Heard County, the Cavaliers were unstoppable on offense.
Only an untimely turnover in the fourth quarter kept the Cavaliers from winning.
Quarterback Tez Parks, and running backs Lindsey, Eddie Culpepper and Devon Rosser have scored touchdowns in bunches this season.
The Cavaliers are scoring 34 points per game, a number that would be a lot higher but head coach Pete Wiggins has called off the dogs in a lot of blowouts.
Add it all up, and the Cavaliers are cruising.
They’ve won nine straight games, and they appear to be playing their best football of the season at the moment.
Since a 14-10 win over Central-Carroll on Oct. 12, the Cavaliers have won their past four games in blowout fashion.
“I think right now, the biggest thing is I think we’ve got some pretty good momentum going,” Hubbard said. “I think our guys are confident. I think they believe in what we’re doing. They believe when they go out there that they’re going to win. That says a lot.”
Tatnall County, meanwhile, has been the definition of an up-and-down football team.
The Warriors, who finished fourth in Region 1-AAA, haven’t lost back-to-back games this season, but they also haven’t won more than two games in a row.
One thing the Warriors have done all season is score points.
They’re averaging 33 points per game, and quarterback Brandon Purcell has had a lot to do with that level of production.
Hubbard said Purcell is kind of like Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in his ability to stay alive in the pocket and find receivers downfield.
“It all starts with their quarterback. Their quarterback is a really good player,” Hubbard said. “He’s going to throw it better than anybody we’ve seen all year. He can slide around and make plays. He keeps his eyes downfield. He’s looking to beat you with the pass. If we don’t cover, they’re going to be able to score some points. We’ve really worked on that this week.”