Cavs wrap up stellar regular season
Published 3:17 am Friday, November 3, 2017
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – It’s time to chase a championship.
After a dominant performance against Jordan in their regular-season finale on Thursday night, the Callaway Cavaliers will turn their attention to the state playoffs.
Callaway put the finishing touches on a 9-1 regular season with a 42-12 victory over Jordan, and they finished second in Region 5-AA to Heard County.
Callaway, which has reached the state semifinals twice since 2013, will open the playoffs at home against Douglass next week.
It’s a veteran, talented team that figures to be one of the teams to beat in Class AA, but there are some tough opponents to come, beginning with Douglass.
“At this point, you get to the playoffs and everybody’s 0-0 again,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “So we’ve just got to keep working and preparing and be ready to go. Douglass will have a great football team. Coach (Rodney) Cofield does a great job, and they’ll be physical with a lot of talented kids. Next Friday night will be a tough opponent here at Callaway Stadium.”
Thursday’s victory put the finishing touches on another remarkably successful regular season under Wiggins.
Callaway has won nine or more regular-season games six times since 2008, and that includes last year’s team that went 10-0.
The seniors, who were recognized before Friday’s game, have helped the Cavaliers win 39 games over the past four seasons.
“The season started way back on Jan. 4, and these kids have really committed in the weight room, and in the offseason to get to where we are now,” Wiggins said. “I’m really proud of our senior leadership, and the dedication these guys have shown day in and day out.”
Now Callaway will try to put together another extended playoff run, and possibly bring home the program’s first state championship.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Kedrick Ramsey, Callaway’s senior quarterback. “I want to take this team where we’ve never been before. We’ve got the talent to do it. We’ve just got to keep practicing hard and try to make it.”
Callaway put Thursday’s game away early.
The Cavaliers scored touchdowns on their first four possessions, and they also got a defensive score on a Jonathan Leonard fumble return.
On offense, DJ Atkins had a pair of scoring runs in the first half, and Kedrick Ramsey and Cartavious Bigsby each had one touchdown run.
In the second half, freshman quarterback Demetrius Coleman had a scoring run, and that was his first varsity touchdown.
Callaway’s defense was dominant.
Jordan has a capable offense led by quarterback Emmanuel Mann, but it was overmatched by Callaway, which controlled the line of scrimmage.
Both of Jordan’s touchdowns came in the second half when Callaway’s starters had left the game.
“I thought we played really fast tonight,” Wiggins said. “We did a good job of assignment football. Their quarterback’s a really talented kid. I don’t their record indicates how good of a football team they are. They’ve really played a lot of teams close this season, and I think coach (Justin) Newman has done a great job with their program.”
The Cavaliers got the scoring started early with a touchdown on their first possession.
Courtney Williams caught a 42-yard pass from Ramsey on a jump ball to put the ball deep in Jordan territory.
Later on the drive, Ramsey had a 7-yard touchdown run on fourth down, and Hunter Williamson made the first of his five extra points and Callaway led 7-0.
Jordan’s first possession ended on fourth down when Nathan Sapp sacked Mann, and Callaway had the ball.
Atkins ripped off a 30-yard run into Jordan territory, and he followed that up with a 26-yard touchdown run, and Callaway led 14-0.
The next touchdown came via the defense, with Leonard picking up a fumble and racing about 20 yards for the score, and Callaway was up 21-0 late in the first quarter.
When they got the ball back, the Red Jackets were forced to punt thanks to a Lichon Terrell sack on third down.
The Cavaliers got the ball at their own 44, and they needed six plays to score again.
Bigsby had a 21-yard run to put the ball on Jordan’s side of the field, and Atkins completed that drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Another Terrell sacked forced the Red Jackets to punt again, and Callaway went 72 yards in five plays for its final touchdown of the half.
Bigsby put the exclamation mark on the dominant first half with a 47-yard touchdown run, and Callaway had a 35-0 lead.
The Cavaliers got the ball back when Tely Fanning recovered a fumble, and they made it to the Red Jackets’ 24-yard line before time ran out in the first half.
Mann threw touchdown passes to Quintavious Hill and Junior Hill in the second half to put Jordan on the board.
On Callaway’s final possession, Jalin Shephard had a long run to get the ball deep in Jordan territory, and Coleman had a 4-yard keeper for a touchdown.
Eli Freeman made the extra point to cap the scoring.