Callaway standouts glad to be back

Published 11:33 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

They didn’t care for the view from the sidelines.

A strength of Callaway’s team coming into the season figured to be a defensive line anchored by seniors Lichon Terrell and Jamie Sellers.

For a good portion of the season, though, Callaway had to play without them on the field at the same time because of injuries.

Now, as Callaway prepares for its second-round playoff test against Rockmart, Terrell and Sellers are ready to go, and they’re a part of a defensive line that dominated Douglass-Atlanta in last week’s 28-8 playoff victory.

“So many football games are determined by your guys in the trenches from an offensive and defensive-line standpoint, and Lichon Terrell and Jamie Sellers have been huge factors in so many games for us,” said Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins. “I’m just proud of their work ethic, not only on the field, but in the weight room and throughout their four-year career. They’re just really special young men.”

Both players missed three games because of injuries.

As soon as Sellers returned from his injury, Terrell went out and missed three games of his own.

Terrell and Sellers have been on the field together for four consecutive games now, and it has made a big difference for the defense.

In their past three games, the Cavaliers have given up a total of 27 points, and they dominated the line of scrimmage in last week’s playoff victory.

“They came off the field with a little swagger when they made plays, so that’s always good to see,” said Jamal Bruce, Callaway’s defensive-line coach.

For Sellers and Terrell, missing time was a harsh reality, especially since it’s the senior season for both men.

“It was pretty bad,” Terrell said. “At first, I didn’t expect to miss as many games as I did. I thought it was a pull and I’d miss one game, and I ended up missing three.”

Sellers said “it was hard” standing on the sidelines and watching his teammates compete.

“This is my senior season,” Sellers said. “I saw everybody else out there playing, and I wanted to be out there with them.”

While he couldn’t play, Sellers was committed to doing what he could to help his fellow defensive linemen.

“I talked to them about what I saw, and what they could do differently, just trying to help out,” Sellers said.

With Sellers and Terrell on the field, Callaway’s defensive front line is at full strength.

Juniors Nathan Sapp and Destin Patrick have been stalwarts on the defensive line, and a number of other players have contributed throughout the season including Lavaris Patterson, John Curtis and Keshawn Suggs.

Against Douglass last week, Terrell had five tackles, including three for loss, and Sellers had four tackles with a sack.

Terrell, who has verbally committed to Western Kentucky, plays the game with an attitude.

He’ll be your friend off the field, but when it’s game time, a switch flips.

“How I play the game is way different than when I’m just walking around school,” Terrell said. “I don’t like the person that’s playing in front of me.”

Sellers, who is oftentimes at a size advantage, is dedicated to making the most out of every play.

“I know I’ve got to bring it,” Sellers said. “I know they’re going to be bigger than me, so I’ve got to bring it every play.”

Bruce said it’s a “whole different mentality,” when the lights come on.

“Between the whistles, it’s physical and fast,” Bruce said. “That’s it.”

Terrell and Sellers said they both enjoy playing for Bruce, who was a defensive lineman at Callaway before enjoying a standout collegiate career at Duke.

“Since he’s a coach closer to our age, he understands what we’re going through,” Sellers said. “It’s real fun to be around him and him be our coach.”

Terrell said he “got moved to defensive line when (Bruce) came here. It was a fun experience watching him play, and now he’s coaching me.”

Sellers and Terrell have been a lot of special moments at Callaway, and they helped the team reach the state semifinals last year.

Wiggins said both men “are team players, and they’re great leaders on our team. That’s on and off the field. In our school, they’re great representatives for the jersey, and they represent their families well.”

OF NOTE: For a preview of Friday’s game between Callaway and Rockmart, see Friday’s sports section.