Cavaliers celebrate a championship
LAGRANGE – What a night.
The Callaway Cavaliers beat the Spencer Greenwave 36-14 on Friday night at Callaway Stadium, and there was all sorts of celebrating going on.
Callaway wrapped up the Region 5-AA championship, and it will go for a perfect 10-0 regular season next week against Jordan.
Friday’s win was also a milestone one for Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins.
Wiggins, who took over the Callaway program in 2005, won his 100th game as the Cavaliers’ head coach.
Following the game, Callaway was presented with the region-championship trophy, and Wiggins was also recognized for his accomplishment, with members of his family there to share the moment with him.
As for the game, it was an important one for both teams.
Had Spencer won, it would have had a chance to win the region championship with a win over Heard County next week.
Now, Spencer and Heard County will play for second place, and Callaway will own the region title, no matter what happens in next week’s game.
“I was proud of our kids,” Wiggins said. “We worked hard all week, and we knew coming in what they would bring. It was a physical ballgame. But I’m proud of our boys.”
Callaway surged to a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter, and it maintained control the rest of the way, although Spencer kept things interesting for much of the way.
“We knew they were going to be a tough team,” Callaway senior Travis Traylor said. “We didn’t know we were going to start off the way we did. We thought it was going to be a battle the whole game. But we just wanted to win. If we won by one point or won by 50, that’s all we needed. We’re trying to finish undefeated (in the regular season). It’s one more win to go.”
Junior running back DJ Atkins, who transferred to Callaway from Spencer, had a 4-yard touchdown run, and he also caught a 57-yard scoring pass from Braylon Sanders.
Quarterback Dylan Johnson had touchdown runs of two and 14 yards, and Tely Fanning gave Callaway six points when he recovered a fumble in the end zone when a Spencer player misplayed a kickoff return.
Callaway’s Noah Stephens added a 36-yard field goal.
Callaway’s first touchdown was set up by an interception by senior Dominic Copeland at the Spencer 17-yard line on the game’s third play.
Atkins had a 13-yard run on first down, and he followed that up with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Callaway led 6-0 after the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Spencer’s second possession ended with a punt, and Callaway took over at midfield.
On a third-and-long play, Johnson threw a backward pass to Sanders, who heaved the ball downfield to a wide-open Atkins for a 57-yard touchdown.
Stephens made the extra point, and Callaway led 13-0 with 7:44 to play in the first quarter.
On its third possession of the game, Callaway drove from its own 15-yard line to the Spencer 17, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Stephens, and with 10:19 left in the half it was a 16-0 game.
For Spencer, it got worse moments later.
A Spencer player attempted to field the kickoff near the goal line, and he lost control of the ball, and Fanning recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown, and Callaway led 22-0.
Spencer answered with a touchdown, but Callaway came right back with a score of its own.
Johnson capped a 70-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run, and Stephens’ extra point pushed the lead to 29-8, and that was the score at the half.
Spencer scored a touchdown in the third quarter to get within 15, but once again Callaway had the answer.
Sanders returned the kickoff to the Spencer 28-yard line, and five plays later, Johnson’s 14-yard touchdown run and the Stephens extra point made it a 36-14 game with 11:16 to play.
Neither team threatened to score the rest of the way, and the game ended with Johnson kneeling down on three straight plays.
OF NOTE: For much more on Friday’s game, see Monday’s sports section. And for more photos, check out facebook.com/LDNsports
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports