Cavaliers open with shutout
By Kevin Eckleberry
HOGANSVILLE – Jonathan Leonard is picking up right where he left off.
During his junior season, Leonard was a tackle machine for the Callaway Cavaliers from his linebacker position.
Michael Freeman led the Cavaliers with 123 tackles, and Leonard was close behind with 109 tackles.
If Friday’s season-opening game against LaGrange is an indication, Leonard is headed for another big season.
Leonard helped the Cavaliers deliver a dominant defensive effort in the 26-0 victory.
Leonard led the team with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, and he had four tackles for loss with a sack.
Qua Hines also had a big day with eight tackles and a forced fumble, and fellow linebacker Jabari Smith had six tackles, including one for loss.
On a veteran defense, Smith is one of the new-comers, and he looked right at home on Friday night.
Smith is taking over the Sam linebacker position for Freeman, who is now at Mercer.
“Jabari’s a 10th-grader, and he’s 225 pounds, and he plays hard, and
we’re excited about what he’s going to bring to the table,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said.
Defensive lineman Lichon Terrell had five tackles, including two for loss, and he also blocked a kick that was returned for a touchdown by DQ Wilkerson.
Defensive linemen Jamie Sellers and Nathan Sapp had five and four tackles, respectively, and Sapp recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown.
Tely Fanning had three tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, and Quan Todd had two tackles with a sack, and Travis Traylor had a sack.
The defensive backfield, which is expected to a strength for the Cavaliers, shut down LaGrange’s passing attack with Kobe Jackson, DQ Wilkerson and Courtney Williams getting it done.
Jackson had an interception return for a touchdown in the second half, although the play was wiped out by a penalty.
Jackson did have an interception in the first half where he got behind the receiver and made a leaping catch.
It was a suffocating overall effort by Callaway’s defense, which held LaGrange to less than 80 yards of offense.
“I thought our defense played fast and physical,” Wiggins said. “I thought they set the tone for the game. We ran to the ball, and made a lot of big plays.”
Wiggins added that “I’m really proud of Jonathan Leonard. He was really running to the ball. Lichon Terrell played physical up front.”
While the numbers tell the story of how dominant Callaway’s defense was, Terrell said there is room for improvement.
“We had a couple of missed assignments up front with the defensive line, a couple of missed calls in the secondary,” Terrell said. “We’ll get better.”
On offense, senior Kedrick Ramsey made his first regular-season start at quarterback, and he had a touchdown pass, and a scoring run.
In the first half, Ramsey hooked up with Williams for a 62-yard touchdown that gave the Cavaliers a 17-0 lead at the half.
In the second half, Ramsey scored on a 4-yard run that helped put the game away.
Ramsey had more than 60 yards on the ground and was Callaway’s leading rusher.
“As we went through the game, I started getting more confident,” Ramsey said. “I played better.”
Callaway is off this week, and it will host Handley on Sept. 1.