Perfect Cavaliers begin quest for three-peat

Published 12:25 am Friday, October 6, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The journey to a possible three-peat has begun.

The Callaway Cavaliers, who are hoping to win a third consecutive region championship, opened their Region 5-AA schedule with a resounding 48-7 victory over Lamar County on Thursday night at Callaway Stadium.

Callaway (6-0), which has won 25 consecutive regular-season games, will be at Heard County on Oct. 13 for a showdown against Heard County in a game that will go a long way toward determining the region champion.

Against Lamar County, Callaway trailed 7-0 in the first quarter, but it dominated the remainder of the game on both sides of the ball.

Callaway’s offense, led by a relentless running attack that features a host of talented backs, put up big numbers, and quarterback Kedrick Ramsey also hit on a big play with a touchdown pass to Jacob Freeman.

Defensively, Callaway had its way with Lamar County most of the game.

Lamar County’s lone touchdown came when it recovered a fumble at the Callaway 22-yard line in the first quarter.

“I think we had a great week of practice, and it was just a good feeling coming into tonight’s game,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “Coach (Dusty) Hubbard and coach (Matt) Napier put (the players) in great situations, and I felt like we made plays.”

Cartavious Bigsby, Callaway’s hard-running sophomore, had a pair of touchdown runs, and DJ Atkins and Gabriel Moultrie each had one scoring run.

Ramsey had a 39-yard scoring pass to Freeman, and Callaway also scored on defense, with Tely Fanning returning an interception 30 yards for a score.

As has been the case throughout the season, a number of different players were involved in the running game, and they were all the beneficiaries of a strong offensive line.

“I like it like that,” Bigsby said of the balance in the running game. “Whatever will get us a W. That’s all that matters. It can’t get any better.”

After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, Callaway answered moments later with the tying touchdown.

Qua Hines returned the kickoff deep into Lamar County, and two plays later, Atkins ripped off a 36-yard touchdown run, and Noah Stephens made the extra point to tie it at 7-7 with 3:45 to play in the first quarter.

It was the defense that gave Callaway the lead.

On Lamar County’s ensuing possession, linebacker Jonathan Leonard got his hand on a pass and deflected the ball, and Fanning caught it and raced 30 yards for the touchdown.

Stephens converted the extra point, and Callaway led 14-7 with 53 seconds to play in the first quarter.

After Fanning made the catch, he had some teammates around him to serve as escorts to the end zone.

When Fanning got close to the goal line, he dove and hit the pylon.

“I know my boys,” Fanning said. “They were going to block for me, Kobe Jackson and Cartavious Bigsby. I saw the end zone, and I just dove for it.”

Callaway recovered a fumble early in the second quarter and took over at the Lamar County 25-yard line, and that led to a Bigsby 13-yard scoring run.

Hunter Williamson made the extra point, and Callaway led 21-7 with 10:27 to play in the first half.

The Cavaliers used a bit of trickery to score their final touchdown of the half.

On a flea-flicker play, Ramsey spotted a wide-open Freeman down the field, and he got the ball to him for the 39-yard touchdown, and Stephens’ extra point pushed the lead to 28-7.

The Cavs got the ball first at the start of the second half, and they went 58 yards in four plays to pad their lead.

Moultrie, Callaway’s outstanding senior fullback, showed off his speed with a 35-yard touchdown run, and Williamson nailed the extra point to put Lamar County in a 35-7 hole.

Lamar County’s first possession of the second half ended with a Hines interception, and Callaway had the ball back.

The Cavaliers thought they’d scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ramsey to Courtney Williams, but that play was negated because of a penalty.

After the penalty yardage was marked off, Bigsby’s 28-yard touchdown run and the extra point by Stephens gave Callaway a 42-7 lead with 7:45 left in the third quarter.

That’s the way it remained until, with less than a minute to play, backup quarterback Bryce Kurian threw a short pass to Sidderian Shealey, who turned it into a 60-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.

“It was a good effort all week in practice, and they know the importance of each game from here on,” Wiggins said. “So we’ve just got to keep working.”

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