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Impressive showing for Cavaliers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They’re ready for prime time.

In a tune-up for next week’s regular-season opener against Opelika, the Callaway Cavaliers took no prisoners in a 48-7 victory over Starr’s Mill in a preseason game at Callaway Stadium on Friday night.

The Cavaliers led 21-7 at the half when the starters were in the game, and they continued to pour it on in the second half, with the junior-varsity and freshman players showing what they can do.

While Callaway’s high-powered offense was as good as advertised, the new-look defense also got the job done.

A Callaway defense that has nine new starters didn’t give up any points, with Chapel Hill’s touchdown coming on a fumble return in the opening half.

Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach, was pleased with the way the defensive players prepared, and that translated to a dominant performance on game night.

Markus Morman and Jalin Shephard both had interceptions for Callaway.

“We played physical,” Wiggins said. “Coach (Dusty) Hubbard challenged the kids up front all week about having to play with physicality. They’re offensive line, all of them returned, so we knew they would be physical up front, and I thought the defense played really well, and they practiced and prepared really hard.”

Callaway’s first-team offense put three touchdowns on the board.

Demetrius Coleman threw two touchdown passes, both to Jacob Freeman, and Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby had a 90-yard scoring run.

The Cavaliers, with the young players on the field, continued to pile up the points in the second half.

Taylor Smith threw a touchdown pass to Cameron Smith, Quenderious Redding had a pair of scoring runs, and Karmelo Burton had a touchdown run.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Wiggins said. “We had some costly turnovers, and two big penalties that cost us, but I’m really proud of the kids’ effort.”

It didn’t take the Cavaliers long to find the end zone.

After a Starr’s Mill three-and-out, Callaway scored on a 39-yard scoring pass from Coleman to Freeman.

The Cavaliers began their next possession at their own 10-yard line, and it took them one play to score.

Bigsby, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season, took the handoff from Coleman and popped out to the right sideline, and he outraced the Starr’s Mill defense for the 90-yard touchdown.

Late in the second quarter, Freeman did his best Randy Moss imitation to give Callaway another touchdown.

Moss was known for his ability to soar into the air and snatch the ball away from hapless defensive backs, and that’s what Freeman did on a pass from Coleman.

Freeman was covered, but he went up and grabbed the ball, and he landed on his feet and raced the final 20 yards for a 69-yard touchdown.

“Those guys are close, and they know each other really well,” Wiggins said of Coleman and Freeman. “It’s two play-makers making things happen on the field, and that makes the team better.”

Freeman said the play was an example of two players with absolute trust in one another.

“Me and Demetrius, we’ve known each other since we were little,” Freeman said. “I think he just trusts me. I trust him with my life, and he trusts me with his.”

With the starters watching from the sideline, the Cavaliers didn’t slow down in the second half, giving them plenty of momentum heading into next week’s opener.

Callaway beat Opelika 35-21 to open the 2018 season.

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