Cavaliers ready to chase the ring
Published 12:05 pm Saturday, November 2, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
And now they wait.
The Callaway Cavaliers, after Thursday’s 51-0 victory over Jordan to end the regular season, won’t play again until the opening round of the Class AA state playoffs on Nov. 15.
Callaway, which won the Region 5-AA championship, will host the number four team from Region 7-AA in a first-round matchup at Callaway Stadium.
Chattooga County is in fourth place in the region, although the final standings won’t be determined until the regular season concludes next week.
Callaway (9-1 overall) finished with a 6-0 region record, and it closed the regular season on a nine-game winning streak after losing to Opelika 10-7 in the season opener.
Now the Cavaliers will begin pursuit of a state championship, a goal they’ve come close to achieving over the years.
Callaway advanced to the state semifinals in 2013, 2016 and 2018, only to be denied each year.
Last season, Callaway lost a 28-22 heart-breaker to Rockmart in the semifinals.
Heard County, which beat Callaway to win the region championship, knocked off Rockmart in the state-title game.
“We’ve just got to keep working and do what we do and stay healthy, and try to accomplish the goals that we’ve set,” said Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach.
While the Cavaliers haven’t won it all, they’ve been a consistent winner in the playoffs for more than a decade.
Beginning in 2008, the Cavaliers have won at least one playoff game every year but once, and five times since 2009 they’ve made it to the state quarterfinals or further.
If the Cavaliers win their playoff opener, they’ll also reach double digits in wins for the fifth year in a row.
The architect of the Cavaliers’ success is Wiggins, who is 135-46 in 15 seasons, and he has guided the team to the state playoffs for 14 straight years.
This program has continued to thrive this season, despite the loss of more than 20 talented seniors from last year’s team.
Callaway dropped a hard-fought game to Opelika to begin the season, but it’s been smooth sailing since then.
Callaway wrapped up its seventh region title under Wiggins with a 34-0 win over Heard County, and it finished the regular season in style with a 51-0 drubbing of Jordan.
“We’ve still got a long way to go to get where we need to be,” Wiggins said. “We’ve got a lot of goals left to accomplish, so we’ve got to get better each week, each day, and that’s what we’re going to continue to work toward.”