Cavaliers meet their match

Published 4:39 pm Saturday, November 25, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

QUITMAN – It was one of those nights for the Callaway Cavaliers.

Facing a strong Brooks County team on its home field, Callaway fell behind early and was never able to recover on the way to a 31-0 loss in the third round of the Class AA state playoffs.

It was a tough ending to what was another special season under head coach Pete Wiggins.

Callaway finished 11-1 and reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time in nine years.

The Cavaliers were hoping to make it to the semifinals for the third time since 2013, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“We played a good football team in Brooks,” Wiggins said. “We have to execute better up front, and they presented us a lot of problems and we didn’t overcome it. They’ve got a good football team. I think the strength of their team is their defense, and it really showed tonight.”

After the game, Wiggins addressed his players and told them he was proud of what they accomplished this season.

Among that group were nearly 20 seniors who were a part of a lot of special moments during their four seasons as Cavaliers.

“I’m really proud of our 17 seniors,” Wiggins said. “They’ve done a great job leading our team all season, and representing our team in the school and in the community.”

The Trojans scored moments into the game on a 77-yard touchdown run by Jonathan White, and it turns out those were the only points they needed.

Brooks County’s defense controlled the game throughout, with Callaway unable to find any offensive rhythm.

Callaway was limited to five first downs in the game, and one of those came on a roughing-the-punter penalty.

Brooks County also showed off its offensive prowess with some big plays, including White’s touchdown moments into the game.

On the second play from scrimmage, White raced 77 yards for the touchdown, and the extra point gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead.

Brooks County came up empty on its next three possessions, with Callaway’s defense standing tall.

On their third possession, the Trojans made it to the Cavaliers’ 25-yard line, but defensive back DQ Wilkerson broke up a pass on fourth down to force a change of poessions.

The Trojans made it to the Cavaliers’ 1-yard line on their fourth possession, but John Curtis made a big stop just short of the goal line on fourth down.

The Cavaliers picked up a first down on a 15-yard run by DJ Atkins, but they ended up having to punt.

The Trojans took over at the Cavaliers’ 31-yard line, and Jacolby Brown capped that short drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

After the extra point, Callaway trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter.

Following a Callaway punt, Brooks County quarterback Mac Perry ripped off a 59-yard run, and that led to a short field goal by Tony Velasquez to make it a 17-0 game, and that was the score at the half.

The Cavaliers got the ball first in the third quarter hoping to build some momentum, and they got the ball near midfield on a long kickoff return by Qua Hines.

The Cavaliers picked up a first down on three straight runs by Cartavious Bigsby, but the drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down.

The Cavaliers then forced a punt, but they gave the ball right back to the Trojans on a fumble at their own 21-yard line.

On the next play, Perry’s 21-yard touchdown run and the extra point gave Brooks County a 24-0 lead with 7:13 left in the third quarter.

Late in the third quarter, the Trojans were threatening again when Kobe Jackson intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Facing third-and-long, the Cavaliers hit on a 14-yard completion from Kedrick Ramsey to Bigsby, and Jacob Freeman followed with a 7-yard run for a first down.

The drive stalled from there, though, and the Indians took over following a failed fourth-down conversion.

White capped the 36-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, and the extra point made it a 31-0 game with eight minutes remaining.

The returning Cavaliers will take some time off before getting back to work in preparation for the 2018 seasons.

The seniors, meanwhile, will prepare for life after high school, and Wiggins has no doubt they will all succeed.

“I’m really proud of this senior class,” Wiggins said. “We go to the final eight, and accomplish a great deal. We won 11 ballgames. This is a special group of young men.

“Even though we lost in the scoreboard, they’re winners in my book and in the game of life, and they’ll be successful on down the road. They’ll work hard and they represent our school really well.”

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