Winning night for Callaway
By Kevin Eckleberry
HOGANSVILLE – It was a winning night for the Callaway Cavaliers.
In their lone preseason game, the Cavaliers beat the Northside Patriots 20-14 on Friday in Hogansville.
Callaway’s offense struggled to get anything going for much of the night, but that changed when freshman quarterback Demetrius Coleman entered the game late in the third quarter.
Coleman led the Cavaliers on back-to-back touchdown drives, and the Patriots’ hopes ended when their quarterback was sacked by freshman linebacker Kaden Rogers on the final play of the game.
Callaway opens its season on Friday against LaGrange.
“It was great to see the young kids get in here and make some plays,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “I’m really proud for them. They work hard every day in practice, and I’m proud of the opportunity they had.”
When the starters were in the game, it was a struggle for the Callaway offense, which was hurt by turnovers and penalties.
DJ Atkins, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season, had a touchdown run in the first half, and that was lone touchdown for Callaway’s first-team offense.
“Tonight, I felt like our kids played hard, but there’s a lot of stuff we’ve got to do better,” Wiggins said. “We had 10 penalties, three turnovers in the first half, and that’ll make for a tough ballgame. So we’ve got things we’ve got to do better, and that’s what we’ll do going into the first week.”
Northside struck first, taking advantage of a short field following a Callaway turnover to score a touchdown in the first quarter.
Callaway answered with a touchdown in the second quarter.
On a third-down play, Chandler Lott completed a pass to Gabriel Moultrie, and Cartavious Bigsby and Qua Huines followed with long runs to put the ball deep in Northside territory.
On a first-down play, Atkins went up the middle for a 28-yard touchdown run, and Noah Stephens made the extra point to tie it at 7-7 with 4:39 left in the first half.
In the third quarter, Callaway’s defense made some big plays to keep it a 7-7 game.
Courtney Williams and Atkins both had pass break-ups, Rogers made a tackle in the backfield, and Tely Fanning had an interception.
After Atkins’ break-up forced a bunt, Coleman entered the game at quarterback late in the third quarter.
Coleman completed long passes to Bryce Kurian and Jymere Jones to put the ball on the Northside 10-yard line.
Moments after Jones made a tremendous catch on a jump ball, Coleman took off on a 10-yard touchdown run, and Callaway led 13-7 with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
After the Patriots answered with a touchdown and an extra point to go ahead 14-13, Coleman and the Cavaliers’ offense went back to work.
Coleman threw a strike about 40 yards down the field to Antinez Blount, setting the Cavaliers up near the Patriots 20-yard line.
On the next play, Antinius Barnes bulled his way through the defense for the touchdown, and Hunter Williamson made the extra point to give Callaway a 20-14 lead with a little more than three minutes to play.
Northside made it deep into Callaway territory in the closing moments, but a sack by Rogers ended the suspense.