Cavaliers take first step toward title
LAGRANGE – That was impressive.
The Callaway Cavaliers began what they hope will be an extended playoff stay with a 55-20 victory over the Model Blue Devils on Friday night at Callaway Stadium.
Callaway (11-0) will be back at Callaway Stadium next week to play Brooks County (8-3), which beat Southwest Macon 20-16 in its first-round game.
Callaway’s offensive was unstoppable.
Callaway quarterback Dylan Johnson tossed five touchdown passes, two apiece to Michael Freeman and Braylon Sanders, and one to DQ Wilkerson.
Running back DJ Atkins continued to put up big numbers and he had a touchdown run, and fullback Jibrell Jackson also had a scoring run.
Callaway also got a defensive touchdown, with Sanders scooping up a fumble late in the first half and racing nearly 100 yards for the score.
Model’s offense did some nice things and found the end zone three times, but it was unable to keep pace with Callaway.
The Cavaliers scored a season high in points, surpassing the 48 points they notched against Harris County.
“I feel like we had one of our best nights,” Callaway offensive lineman Keiondre Jones said. “We felt unstoppable.”
That was a feeling likely shared by Model’s defense.
Whether it was Atkins beating Model for a long run, or Freeman making a one-handed catch in the end zone, or Sanders getting behind the defense for a long scoring catch, the Cavaliers were doing whatever they wanted to on offense.
Freeman, Callaway’s tight end who had two scoring catches in a game for the second time this season, said “we realized we had an intensity about us, and a physicality that couldn’t be matched. We just tried to punch it down their throat.”
Callaway began the scoring parade on its second possession, with Johnson finding Freeman for an 11-yard touchdown pass, and Noah Stephens made the first of his six extra point to give the home team a 7-0 lead with 3:56 to play in the first quarter.
On its next possession, Callaway needed two plays to score again, with Johnson connecting with Sanders for a 60-yard touchdown, and the lead was 14-0 with 1:13 left in the opening quarter.
Model put its first points on the board with 7:45 left in the half, with Chris Dublin scoring on a 15-yard run.
Callaway came right back with another score, and it was Freeman making a sensational one-handed grab in the end zone for the 23-yard touchdown, and the lead was 21-6 with 5:26 left in the half.
Later in the half, Model was on the verge of scoring again.
Quarterback Kyler Eldridge had a 4-yard run on fourth down to give Model a first down, but he had to leave the field on a stretcher after suffering an injury.
After a lengthy delay, Model fumbled right at the goal line, and Sanders picked the ball up and raced nearly 100 yards for the touchdown, and Callaway led 28-6 with 1:53 remaining in the half.
Model then hit for a big play of its own, with Evan Burger finding Dublin for a 61-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the half, and Callaway led 28-13 at the break.
The second half was all Callaway.
Within the first three minutes of the second half, Callaway scored two touchdowns.
Atkins returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the Model 34-yard line, and two plays later, Jackson scored on a 10-yard run, and the lead was 35-13.
Following a Model punt, Atkins ripped off a 51-yard run, and he followed that up with an 8-yard touchdown run, and Callaway led 41-13.
Model got within 21 on a Dublin 4-yard touchdown run with 4:58 to play in the third quarter, but Callaway scored the game’s final two touchdowns.
Johnson found Wilkerson for a 24-yard scoring pass with 4:17 to play in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Johnson rolled out and rifled a 21-yard touchdown pass to Sanders in the back of the end zone, and Hunter Williamson made the extra point to cap the scoring.
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