The Callaway Cavaliers came into Friday’s Class AAA state-playoff game against Washington County flying high.
They’d won 10 straight games, including a 49-7 victory over Tatnall County in the first round of the state playoffs.
Friday night at Callaway Stadium, though, the Cavaliers (10-2) met their match.
Washington County, looking every bit like a state-championship contender, enjoyed a dominant night on both sides of the football to improve to 11-1 and advance to the Class AAA quarterfinals.
Perhaps most impressive was Washington County’s ability to slow down a Callaway offense that had been unstoppable for most of the season.
Against the Golden Hawks, though, the big plays the Cavaliers were so accustomed to seeing weren’t there.
And when the Cavaliers did manage to put something together on offense, they stalled when they got near the Hawks’ goal line.
Callaway kept the ball for nearly nine minutes at the start of the third quarter, but that possession ended with a punt.
Callaway also made it to the Washington County 22-yard line late in the first half, but that possession also ended without any points.
“It was frustrating,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said of his team’s inability to finish drives. “We put together a couple of good drives, and to come away without points, it took momentum (away), and they were able to make plays.”
Washington County, meanwhile, had no problem coming through with big plays on offense.
Elusive running back Jakelo Johnson gave the Cavaliers fits, and he had touchdown runs of 10 and five yards.
Quarterback William Walker also proved difficult to stop, and he had a 52-yard scoring run, as well as a 21-yard touchdown pass that gave the Golden Hawks a 21-0 lead at the half.
The game was still somewhat in doubt early in the fourth quarter when Wilson “Boom” Lindsey picked off a pass and returned it to midfield, but the Cavaliers went backward from there and a fourth-down play failed.
A few plays later, Johnson scored from five yards out, and the lead was 28-0.
It was a disappointing conclusion to what was still a fantastic season for the Cavaliers.
They won the Region 4-AAA championship, reached double digits IN victories and won a playoff game.
“They’ve got to hold their heads up high,” Wiggins said. “It hurts to lose when you put as much time in it as the kids put in in practice. But, you take something from every game and you move on. (Washington County) is a great team.”
While the team loses nine seniors, the Cavaliers appear poised to enjoy another big season in 2013 with so many gifted players coming back.
Callaway will soon get to work on its offseason condition program in preparation for a new season that begins next August.
“We’ve got a lot of youth on our football team, so we’re excited about that,” Wiggins said.