Published 12:00 am Friday, November 20, 2015
LAGRANGE – They’ve crossed paths before.
When the Callaway Cavaliers and Westminster Wildcats meet in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs today, it will mark the third time they’ve faced off in the playoffs since 2009.
In 2009, Callaway won a 35-31 thriller over Westminster in the second round of the state playoffs.
Two years later in 2011, it was Westminster getting some payback with a 34-15 victory in the first round.
Who will win Round 3?
We’ll found out soon enough.
Here’s a look back at the two previous meetings between Callaway and Westminster, beginning with that unforgettable game in 2009.
CALLAWAY 35, WESTMINSTER 31
Quantavius Leslie had a bunch of memorable moments as a wide receiver for the Cavaliers.
One stood above the rest.
Late in the the 2009 state-playoff game between Callaway and Westminster, the host Cavaliers had the ball trailing by three points.
Quarterback Quan Bray dropped back to pass, and he heaved the ball deep down the field toward Leslie, who was double-covered.
It didn’t matter.
Leslie went up and snatched the ball away from the defenders for a 37-yard catch, and he was brought down at the 1-yard line.
After three plays netted nothing, it was fourth down, and Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins had the option of going for it, or attempting the game-winning field goal.
Wiggins kept the offense on the field.
“We didn’t hesitate,” Wiggins said after that game. “We knew we were going to go for it. We believe in what we’re doing and we believed our offensive line was going to come off and give us that one yard we needed, and that’s what we did.”
That decision was the right one.
Bray scored on a 1-yard run with less than 20 seconds left, and Josh Ham capped the scoring with an extra point.
For the first time school history, Callaway was headed to the quarterfinals.
The Cavaliers began their game-winning dive at their own 20-yard line.
Callaway was on the Westminster 38-yard-line when Leslie made his game-saving catch.
“I knew I just had to make a play for our team when they needed me,” Leslie said.
Callaway led 28-13 in the second quarter, but behind running back Ralph David Abernathy, Westminster rallied to take a 31-28 lead in the fourth quarter.
Abernathy, who ran for 283 yards in the game, scored on a 14-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left in the game to give his team a three-point lead.
Turns out, that was just enough time for Bray to engineer a game-winning scoring drive.
Callaway had a pretty good running back of its own that night in Marquis Terrell, who ran for 142 yards with scoring runs of 48, 36 and three yards.
Leslie, in addition to his big recpetion at the end, also had a 75-yard scoring catch from Bray.
Callaway looked unstoppable in the first half in taking a 28-16 lead, but Westminster dominated the second half and looked to be in position to steal the road win.
When everything seemed to be going against them, though, the Cavaliers perservered, and they found a way.
“I told the guys, just play ball,” linebacker Jeffrey Cameron said that night. “They came out and fought well. We just pulled the victory out.”
WESTMINSTER 34, CALLAWAY 15
It was anybody’s game at the half of the 2011 first-round playoff game.
Through the first two quarters, Westminster was clinging to a 10-7 lead over the home-standing Callaway Cavaliers.
The second half was all Westminster, though.
Callaway fumbled on its first possession of the second half, and Westminster took advantage of that break and scored a touchdown to go up 17-7.
Moments later, Westminster blocked a punt that led to another touchdown, and the lead was 24-7.
“They took advantage of some mistakes we made early in the third quarter that we just couldn’t overcome,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said.
Callaway quarterback Ricky Parks scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first half to tie the game at 7-7.
The Cavaliers didn’t score again until they were behind 34-7 in the fourth quarter.
Running back James Newson had a 35-yard touchdown run, and Parks ran in the two-point conversion attempt to cap the scoring.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports