Seniors leave winning legacy
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s playoff game, it has already been the most successful four-year run in the history of Callaway High football.
Since the start of the 2016 season the Cavaliers are 47-7, and they’re in the state semifinals for the third time in four years.
In the playoffs alone the past four years the Cavaliers are 11-3, and they’re two wins away from the program’s first state championship.
There are 12 seniors on this team, and most of them have been members of the program for four seasons, so they’ve been a part of a bunch of wins over the years.
Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach since 2005, appreciates their contributions.
“I’ve talked about this senior class many times throughout the year,” Wiggins said. “They’ve been really coachable. They’ve led our team on the field, and in the weight room, and in the school building. I’m proud of them. They’ve really strengthened our tradition, and the foundation that we have here at Callaway High School. So it’s been a really good group.”
The senior class includes two players, wide receiver Jacob Freeman and running back Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, who have been playing since they were freshmen.
Other seniors include wide receivers Antinez Blount, wide receiver and defensive back Markus Morman, wide receiver and defensive back Jymere Jones, defensive linemen Jabari Smith and Anthony Elliott, linebacker R.J. Williams, and offensive linemen Zach Neighbors, Jared Nation, Christian Moon and Tate Johnson.
All of the seniors either start, or see significant playing time.
“They come out each day to get better, and they’ve had big goals,” Wiggins said. “They’ve done the things that it takes from the weight room, from the camps, from the practices, and they’re always here. When the doors open, these guys are here.”
SUCCESSFUL COACHES: Friday’s playoff game features a pair of head coaches who have 347 career wins between them.
Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach since 2005, has a 138-46 career record, and he has guided four teams to the state semifinals.
Maurice Freeman has 209 career wins at three different schools, and he led Brooks County to a state title in 1994.
Freeman was the head coach at Brooks County from 1994 to 1997 before leading the Southwest Macon program from 1998 to 2001.
Freeman was the head coach at Brunswick High from 2001 to 2007, and he returned to Brooks County in 2008.
OTHER SIDE: While Callaway and Brooks County will meet in one semifinal game, the other semifinal showdown pits Dublin against Thomasville.
Dublin (12-1), which finished first in Region 3-AA, lost its regular-season finale to Washington County, but it has beaten Early County, Bremen and Hapeville-Charter in the playoffs.
Thomasville (9-4) began the season with three straight losses, but it has only lost once since then.
Thomasville, the champion of Region 1-AA, has beaten Dodge County, Pepperell and Rabun County in the playoffs.
The winners of the semifinal games will meet at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 14 at 1 p.m.
CONSISTENT CAVS: The Cavaliers have been one of the most consistently successful Class AA teams in the state for more than a decade.
Since 2008 when they won the first state-playoff game in the history of the program, the Cavaliers have won at least one playoff game in 12 of 13 years.
The Cavaliers have taken things to a new level over the past seven years.
Since 2013 the Cavaliers have reached the state semifinals three times and they made it to the quarterfinals once, and they’re 16-6 in the playoffs during that seven-year run.