Cavaliers run strong on homecoming

Published 1:03 am Saturday, October 21, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The Callaway Cavaliers shrugged off their first loss of the season in fine fashion.

On homecoming night at Callaway Stadium, Callaway bounced back from its heart-breaking loss to Heard County by beating Temple 48-21 on Friday night.

The Cavaliers improved to 7-1 overall and 2-1 in Region 5-AA while winning for the 26th time in 27 regular-season games.

The Cavaliers have two regular-season games remaining, and if they win them both, they’ll finish no lower than second in the region, meaning they’d be at home for the first round of the state playoffs.

Heard County (7-1), which beat Jordan on Friday night, is in first place in the region at 3-0.

“I felt like our kids responded,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “We had a great week of practice, and it was a great test of our character, and our kids played well tonight.”

Callaway’s high-powered running game was in excellent form, with five players combining for seven rushing touchdowns.

DJ Atkins, who was celebrating his 18th birthday on Friday, had touchdown runs of four and 58 yards, and Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby had scoring runs of three and 31 yards.

Qua Hines ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run, Jacob Freeman had a 37-yard scoring run while lined up at quarterback, and fullback Adrian Porter had a 26-yard touchdown run.

“DJ had a great night tonight running the ball,” Wiggins said. “And I felt like our offensive line was blocking really well. They were really physical. Tank Bigsby had another big night, and Qua Hines did a great job running the ball. All three of those guys, they bring something different. They all run really hard, and it’s great effort when they get on the field.”

Wiggins was also happy to see Porter, a junior fullback, find the end zone for the first time.

Porter took a handoff in the third quarter and seemingly ran through or over the entire Temple defense on the way to the end zone for the touchdown.

“I was really proud of Adrian Porter. That was his first touchdown carry,” Wiggins said. “He works really hard. He’s a 290-pound fullback, and he comes to work each day. I’m really proud of him.”

Atkins, who has had a phenomenal two seasons as a Callaway football player, opened the scoring with his two touchdown runs in the first quarter.

On his second scoring run, Atkins showed off his speed on a 58-yard touchdown run.

“It was there for me tonight,” Atkins said. “(The offensive linemen) gave me great blocking, and we just ran it down their throat.”

After a long kickoff return to start the game, Callaway had the ball at the Temple 38-yard line.

Fullback Gabriel Moultrie had a 17-yard run to the 4-yard line, and Atkins scored on the next play.

Noah Stephens made the extra point, and Callaway led 7-0.

Later in the quarter, Atkins’ 58-yard scoring run and Stephens’ extra point pushed the lead to 14-0.

Following a Temple punt, the Cavaliers needed three plays to go 52 yards and score again.

The big play on the drive was a 32-yard completion from Kedrick Ramsey to DQ Wilkerson that led to a Bigsby 3-yard touchdown run, and Stephens converted the extra point to make it a 21-0 game early in the second quarter.

Temple showed off its big-play ability moments later, with DJ “Flea” Winters ripping off a 78-yard touchdown run, and Callaway’s lead was down to 21-7 with 9:05 left in the half.

Callaway came right back with a touchdown of its own.

Callaway had the ball in Temple territory when Freeman, a sophomore wide receiver, moved to quarterback, and he took the snap and raced 37 yard for the touchdown.

Stephens made the extra point, and Callaway led 28-7.

The Cavaliers scored again a little more than two minute later, with Bigsby taking it to the end zone from 31 yards out.

Hunter Wiliamson made the extra point, and Callaway led 35-7, which was the score at the half.

On the Cavaliers’ first possession of the second half, Porter got into the act with his 26-yard touchdown run, and Williamson’s extra point made it a 41-7 game.

With 2:45 left in the third quarter, Hines beat Temple’s defense for an 80-yard touchdown, and Callaway led 48-7 following the Williamson extra point.

In the fourth quarter, Temple got a 67-yard run from Winters, and it also scored a touchdown when it blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone.

Callaway returns to action on Friday with a game at Spencer at 8 p.m.