Cavaliers find way to podium
Published 11:40 am Friday, December 14, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Callaway’s football season ended with a tough 28-22 loss to Rockmart in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
A few days later, some of those football players swapped out their shoulder pads for a wrestling singlet.
Their presence is much-appreciated by Jason Boatman, who is in his second season as Callaway’s head wrestling coach.
When Boatman looked around the practice room this week, he pointed out that nine of the 14 weight classes are filled by players who made the transition from football to wrestling a little more than a week ago.
“A bunch of these guys, they were really busting it during football,” Boatman said. “It wasn’t like they were resting up. They were going hard the whole time, and now they’re here working.”
All of Callaway’s wrestlers were in action at the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament that was held last weekend at Central-Carroll High.
It was a successful tournament for Callaway, which had five placers.
Leading the way was Cameron Key, who placed third at 106 pounds. Anthony Elliott (195 pounds) earned a fourth-place finish, Ladarious Williams (126 pounds) and Laquize Gilbert (160) were fifth, and Curmondre Bray (170 pounds) was sixth.
It was Callaway’s first competition of the season, and Boatman felt it took his wrestlers a while to get into the flow.
“Friday when we went, there were a lot of nerves, and you could kind of tell that,” Boatman said. “Going into the tournament, nobody had a record. So, everybody else has had two matches at least. Once we got to day two, they kind of settled in a little bit.”
Key was in and out of lineup at 106 pounds last season, and he’ll likely be in there for every match this season.
“Cameron Key was our highest placer, and last year, he didn’t crack the starting lineup until the end of the year,” Boatman said. “He’s only going to get better. When you have anybody older than a freshman wrestling 106, that’s big.”
Key feels the offseason work he put in has helped prepare him for the grind of a wrestling season.
“Over the summer, I came here for weight training, and that helped me out,” Key said.
Boatman expects Key, and all of the wrestlers, to continue to improve.
“They’re young, but the more experience they get, the better they’ll be,” Boatman said. “You can see the glimpses. The awesome part about this group is, so far, the effort’s there.”