Cavaliers win a wild one
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was Callaway’s night to celebrate.
The Callaway Cavaliers built a 26-point halftime lead, and then turned away a furious Troup comeback attempt in the second half to capture a 56-45 victory in the cross-town showdown.
Trailing 40-14, Troup scored three touchdowns within the first nine minutes of the second half to cut its deficit to 40-37.
The Cavaliers answered with a quick touchdown of their own to regain momentum, and they led 56-38 before the Tigers found the end zone with less than two minutes remaining.
Combined with the earlier 56-10 win over LaGrange, Callaway won the county championship, and it will carry a 3-1 record into Thursday’s Region 5-AA opener against Temple.
“I’m so proud of our kids’ fight throughout the entire night,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “It was a great ballgame against a really good football team, and good luck to Troup the rest of the way. Our guys prepared so hard, and it showed tonight on the field. They were confident, and they believed in one another. I felt like we played together, we prepared together all week getting ready for this game.”
Troup made things interesting in the third quarter, recovering back-to-back onside kicks and scoring three touchdowns to get within three points, but it couldn’t complete the comeback.
“Once we got back within three I thought we had a shot, but we were out of gas,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “It’s kind of like a basketball team that’s down 20 and they make that run. It’s hard to get over the hump.”
Callaway played most of the game without its star running back, senior Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, but it didn’t matter.
Quarterback Demetrius Coleman was phenomenal, throwing touchdown passes to Jymere Jones and Jalin Shephard, and he also had a scoring run.
Jacob Freeman also had a big night, returning the opening kickoff for a score, and he had a touchdown run after scooping up a fumble by a teammate.
Charlie Dixon, doing an admirable job of filling in for Bigsby, had two touchdown runs and helped keep drives alive with some strong runs, and Bigsby had a scoring run before he had to leave the game.
Antinez Blount had some long receptions to set up touchdowns, and Callaway also got a field goal from Blake Eubanks.
For Troup, quarterback Kobe Hudson threw two scoring passes to Zy Varner and had a pair of touchdown runs, and Trey Williams also had two scoring runs.
While Callaway’s defense gave up 45 points, it made some key defensive plays in the second half.
Most notably, Callaway made fourth-down stops on back-to-back possessions in the second half that helped put the game away.
“We gave up 45 points, but we got the stops when we needed them at the most important times,” said Jabari Smith, a senior defensive lineman.
The Cavaliers started the game with a bang, with Freeman returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
The extra-point attempt was unsuccessful, and Callaway led 6-0.
“I got great coverage from my teammates,” Freeman said. “The blocking was unreal. I watched everybody block their butt off.”
Troup answered with a touchdown of its own, with Williams scoring on a 16-yard touchdown run, and Isaac Andrews made the extra point to give his team a 7-6 lead.
Later in the first quarter Callaway scored its first offensive touchdown, with Bigsby powering into the end zone for a 13-yard run, and Eubanks made the extra point to make it a 13-7 game.
The big play on the scoring drive was a 29-yard completion from Coleman to Blount.
In a back-and-forth first quarter, Troup came right back with a touchdown of its own.
Hudson scrambled and found Varner for a 27-yard touchdown, and Troup led 14-13 with 4:16 left in the first quarter.
It was all Callaway the rest of the first half.
With 29 seconds left in the first quarter, Dixon scored on a 6-yard run, and Callaway led 20-14.
In the second quarter, Callaway put together a 70-yard scoring drive that ended with an unusual touchdown.
Dixon took a handoff and ran for nine yards before he lost control of the ball.
Freeman was on the spot, and he scooped up the ball and ran 10 yards for the touchdown, and Callaway led 26-14 after an unsuccessful two-point try.
The Cavaliers weren’t done.
After a Troup fumble, Callaway drove 70 yards for another touchdown.
The Cavaliers covered 45 of those yards on a completion from Coleman to Blount, putting the ball on the Tigers’ 25-yard line.
Three plays later, Coleman threw a pass into the end zone, and Jones jumped up and snatched the ball away for the 17-yard touchdown, and the Cavaliers led 33-14.
The Cavaliers, following a defensive stop, got the ball for the final time in the half at their own 42-yard line, and they marched down the field for another touchdown.
Dixon’s 27-yard run put the ball on the 1-yard line, and Coleman scored two plays later, and Eubanks’ extra point gave Callaway a 40-14 cushion.
The Tigers, after the 20-minute halftime break, made things interesting in the third quarter.
Troup drove 65 yards for a touchdown to start the second half, with Williams scoring on a 9-yard run.
Williams also had the two-point conversion run, and Callaway’s lead was down to 40-22 with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
Troup recovered the onside kick and went 50 yards for another touchdown, with Hudson’s 11-yard keeper capping the drive.
Once again Troup went for two, and Williams found the end zone to make it a 40-30 game with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
After a second consecutive onside kick recovery, Troup was in business at midfield.
Following a 15-yard run by Williams, Hudson tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Varner, and Andrews converted the extra point to trim Callaway’s lead to 40-37 with 3:23 to play in the third quarter.
After Shephard returning the ensuing kickoff to midfield, Callaway’s offense had the ball for the first time in the second half.
“You just have to keep going,” Coleman said. “I just told them to keep doing what we’re doing, and don’t let up.”
On first down, Coleman threw deep to Blount, who made a fantastic catch for a 44-yard completion.
Three plays later on third-and-goal from the 13-yard line, Coleman found Shephard for a 13-yard touchdown, and Callaway led 46-37 with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
Troup’s next possession ended with a failed fourth-down attempt, and Eubanks made a 23-yard field goal to push Callaway’s lead to 49-37 with 11:14 left in the game.
Callaway’s defense then came up with another fourth-down stop, and that led to a touchdown that ended the suspense.
One play after Coleman completed a 14-yard pass to Markus Morman, Dixon powered his way into the end zone from one yard out, and Eubanks made his final extra point of the night to put Callaway on top 55-37.
Hudson’s 2-yard touchdown run, and Williams’ two-point conversion run, capped the scoring with 1:40 to play.
CALLAWAY 56, TROUP 45
C – Jacob Freeman, kickoff return for touchdown, extra-point attempt fails
T – Trey Williams, 16-yard touchdown run, Isaac Andrews extra point
C – Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, 13-yard touchdown run, Blake Eubanks extra point
T – Kobe Hudson 27-yard touchdown pass to Zy Varner, Andrews extra point
C – Charlie Dixon, 6-yard touchdown run, Eubanks extra point
C – Jacob Freeman, 9-yard touchdown run, two-point attempt fails
C – Demetrius Coleman 17-yard touchdown pass to Jymere Jones, Eubanks kick
C – Demetrius Coleman, 1-yard touchdown run, Eubanks kick
T – Trey Williams, 9-yard touchdown run, Williams two-point conversion run
T – Kobe Hudson, 11-yard touchdown run, Williams two-point conversion run
T – Kobe Hudson, 37-yard touchdown pass to Zy Varner, Andrews extra point
C – Demetrius Coleman, 13-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Shephard, Eubanks extra point
C – Blake Eubanks, 23-yard field goal
C – Charlie Dixon, 1-yard touchdown run, Eubanks kick
T – Kobe Hudson, 2-yard touchdown run, Williams two-point run
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