Callaway defense stands tall
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Cavaliers delivered a lock-down defensive performance last week against LaGrange, and senior linebacker Tely Fanning was a big reason why.
Fanning had 12 tackles, including three for loss, during Callaway’s 14-0 victory over the LaGrange Grangers.
Fanning, a senior, had 10 tackles in the season opener against Opelika, giving him 22 tackles in two games.
Defensive back Dre Towns chipped in with five tackles, and linebacker RJ Williams had five tackles as well.
Destin Patrick and Tre Heard each had a sack, and Markus Morgan had a key interception for the second straight game.
With LaGrange driving late in the game trailing 14-0, Morgan’s interception in the end zone preserved the victory, and the shutout.
RJ Williams, who was Callaway’s leading tackler against Opelika, said the defense succeeds because of everyone doing their job.
“That’s what we focus on at practice. All week we focus on coming together as a team, and team tackling,” Williams said. “You can’t win with one vs. 11. That’s what we focus on at practice is team tackling.”
It’s a defense with a lot of new starters, but the unit has stood tall in both games so far.
“I thought we played well defensively (against LaGrange),” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “The guys played fast. And again, we’re seeing a lot of new guys stepping up and taking leadership roles. I’m really proud of the kids.”
Williams said Dusty Hubbard, Callaway’s defensive coordinator since 2005, always has the players ready to go.
“Every week, coach Hub and the defensive coaches do a good job of preparing us,” Hubbard said. “And you just prepare game by game.”
TOUGH YARDS: Callaway faced an inspired LaGrange defense last week, but junior running back Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby still managed to surpass 100 yards.
Bigsby ran for 108 yards on 19 carries in Callaway’s 14-0 win.
Through two games, Bigsby has 357 yards on 41 attempts with three touchdowns.
Quarterback Jacob Freeman had seven carries for 45 yards against LaGrange with a touchdown, and he completed 5-of-9 passes for 61 yards with a touchdown.
Both of the touchdowns came in the first half.
Freeman threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Antinez Blount, and he also had an 8-yard touchdown run.
Freeman had to leave late in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit, and he was removed from the field on a stretcher.
Freeman later walked back on the sidelines to be with his teammates, and he was cleared after making a trip to the hospital following the game.
Senior Qua Hines also contributed offensively against LaGrange with four carries for 44 yards.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: While the LaGrange Grangers have yet to win a game, the defense is doing its part.
In the season opener, LaGrange had a terrific defensive effort in a 10-3 loss to Heard County.
Last week, the defense was in fine form once again in a 14-0 loss to Callaway.
In both games, LaGrange didn’t allow a point in the second half.
“We’ve building off the defense,” LaGrange head coach Chuck Gibbs said. “We have very sound, fundamental schemes where it’s going to take teams doing things that teams don’t normally do to create an edge and get an advantage.”
In the Callaway game, senior defensive back Jakoby Smith was selected as the defensive player of the week.
Smith had a remarkable 18 total tackles, including seven solo stops, and he also had an interception deep in LaGrange territory in the second half.
Dexter Fitzpatrick, following up on his 27-tackle effort against Heard County, had 15 tackles in the Callaway game.
Fitzpatrick had three tackles for loss including a sack, and he had two quarterback hurries.
Linebacker Andraka Martin had a big day as well with 13 tackles, including three for loss, and linebacker Qua Bowles had 11 tackles with one for loss.
Safety Vondez Taylor had eight tackles and two pass breakups.
RUNNING STRONG: While LaGrange didn’t score against Callaway, the offense did move the ball better than it did in the season-opening 10-3 loss to Heard County.
LaGrange finished with more than 200 yards in the 14-0 loss to Callaway.
Quarterback Charles Crawford had an efficient day, completing 8-of-12 passes for 110 yards with an interception.
Crawford completed passes to seven different receivers, including Mikal Younkins, who had a pair of catches.
Dylan Norvell, Jordan Ogletree, Koby Patton, Lacacco Glaze, Vondez Taylor and Andraka Martin each had one catch.
In the ground game, Laracco Glaze had a productive day, running for 60 yards on 16 attempts.
Crawford showed off his running ability with three carries for 16 yards.
FAST START: Throwing the ball to Alonzo Ogletree’s side of the field has been a losing proposition for opposing offenses.
Ogletree, a defensive back for the Troup Tigers, had two interceptions in the season opener against Ridgeland, and he another pick in last week’s 47-14 win against Columbus.
Against Columbus, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said Ogletree “kind of baited them into that one, so that was good to see. He was processing how we were calling the defense, and he did a really good job with it.”
Ogletree finished with four tackles, tops among the defensive backs, and he also had a pass breakup.
Senior linebacker Kevin Martin, Troup’s leading tackler the past two seasons, had four tackles and a fumble recovery.
Inside linebacker Jatavian Smith also had four tackles, and linebacker Devon Hill had two sacks.
Outside linebacker King Mwikuta had three tackles.
Senior defensive linemen Monta Hall did a lot of damage with three solo tackles, including a sack, and he forced a fumble.
Defensive lineman Jordan Adams also had three tackles, and Royce White recovered a fumble.
Most of Troup’s defensive starters only played a half, and they didn’t give up a point, and that came on the heels of a 32-0 season-opening win over Ridgeland.