Callaway sports teams excel
Published 1:46 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With the baseball team leading the way with its trip to the semifinals, it was a phenomenal 2017-2018 sports year for Callaway High.
Eight different Callaway teams won at least one game or match in the state tournament, and a wrestler from the school came within one victory of a state championship.
Considering that wide range of success, it’s not surprising that Callaway racked up a bunch of points in the Georgia Athletic Director’s Association standings.
Points are awarded to teams or individuals that enjoy success on the state level, and at the end of the school year, the final standings are revealed.
In Region 5-AA, only Lamar County finished with more points than Callaway.
Lamar County led the way with 653 points, with Callaway coming in next with 552 points.
In the overall standings, it was Lamar County (653) taking top honors followed by Callaway (552), Temple (492), Heard County (470), Spencer (375) and Jordan (341).
Callaway’s boy’ teams accumulated the most points in the region with 295, and the girls’ teams had 257 points.
Callaway’s baseball team was responsible for 83 of those points thanks to its trip to the semifinals.
Callaway beat Douglass-Atlanta, Rabun County and Thomasville before falling to eventual state-champion Benedictine in the semifinals.
Callaway pushed Benedictine to a third and deciding game in the series before losing.
Callaway came within three wins of a state championship.
“You find a group that likes being together, and staying together, and I think that had a lot to do with the reason they fought so hard,” Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard said. “I’m just proud of them. These older guys showed our younger guys how you handle things. It was awesome.”
Callaway’s football team made it to the state quarterfinals, and that was good for 70 points.
Callaway won three playoff games before falling to Brooks County.
A group of seniors who were also a part of a semifinal team in 2016 provided tremendous leadership.
“I’m really proud of our 17 seniors,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “They’ve done a great job leading our team all season, and representing our team in the school and in the community.”
Six other Callaway teams won a state-playoff game, including both soccer teams.
Callaway’s boys’ team beat Douglass-Atlanta 8-0 for the first state-playoff win in the history of the program.
Callaway’s season came to a close with a loss to Model in the second round.
Callaway’s girls’ soccer team, which won its first-ever playoff game a year ago, came within a whisker of reaching the quarterfinals this season.
Callaway thumped South Atlanta 10-1 in the first round before losing to Model 4-3 in overtime in the second round.
In the fall, history was made when Callaway’s softball team won a state-playoff series for the first time.
Callaway thumped Douglass-Atlanta 20-0 and 22-0 to win its first-round series before losing to Banks County in the second round.
Also winning on the state level were the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams.
Both Callaway teams beat Washington-Atlanta to reach the second round, and they lost to Banks County in the second round.
“I’m very proud of them,” Callaway coach April Bunn said. “They’re working hard, and it’s showing.”
Also breaking through at state was the Callaway girls’ basketball team.
After finishing second in Region 5-AA, Callaway beat South Atlanta 54-49 in the first round of the state tournament.
Callaway trailed by eight points in that game before surging to the win, and senior Chyna Cameron came up big with 18 points.
“It means everything to me,” an emotional Cameron said after the game. “This is our first time (winning at state) since 2003. So it means everything.”
Callaway’s season ended with a loss to Model in the second round.
Callaway’s cheerleading team had a strong showing at state, and it earned 45 points with its 15th-place finish.
On the individual front, Callaway’s Justin Kiss placed second in the state in the 113-pound weight class.
Kiss rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime before losing to Kevin Martin of Fitzgerald.
It was a heart-breaking loss, but Kiss was nonetheless thrilled to be one of the last two men standing in his weight class.
“That was one of my biggest dreams was to be here,” said Kiss, a three-time state placer.
Baseball – 83, Football – 70, Softball – 53, Girls’ soccer – 53, Boys’ soccer – 53, Girls tennis – 53, Boys tennis – 53, Girls’ basketball – 53, Cheerleading – 45, Wrestling – 36