Tank shines in playoffs
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was another five-star performance by Callaway’s Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby.
Bigsby, who this week became an official five-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite rankings, had the latest in a long line of memorable playoff performances in last week’s 41-20 second-round victory over Douglass-Atlanta
Callaway will host Brooks County on Friday in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
Last week’s game didn’t begin in ideal fashion for Bigsby, who lost fumbles on his first two carries, but he more than made up for those miscues.
Bigsby, who committed to Auburn earlier this year, ran for 171 yards on 20 carries with four touchdowns.
For Bigsby, coming up big this time of year is nothing new.
A year ago, Bigsby had nearly 800 yards in four playoff games while scoring eight touchdowns as Callaway advanced to the semifinals where it lost to Rockmart.
Bigsby had 314 yards and three touchdowns in the playoff opener against Elbert County, and he had a monster game against defending state-champion Hapeville-Charter with 238 yards and four touchdowns.
It’s been more of the same in the playoffs this year, with Bigsby overpowering opposing defenses.
Bigsby has close to 500 yards in his three playoff games, and he has nine touchdowns in those games combined.
For the season, Bigsby has 1,366 yards while averaging nearly 12 yards per carry, and he has scored 25 touchdowns.
Bigsby ran for more than 2,000 yards as a junior, and he had a 1,000-yard season as a sophomore.
In a question-and-answer session with Georgia Public Broadcasting this week, Bigsby was asked what he attributes his success to, and he said “I just like working hard.”
“There’s nothing like working hard to be successful,” Bigsby added. “I also feel like I can’t let my mom down. She’s the reason I work so hard. I always keep going for her.”
When Bigsby first put on a varsity uniform at Callaway, offensive coordinator Matt Napier said “we knew he was super-talented.”
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Bigsby has a work ethic to match.
“He’s a hard worker, and he’s really a leader of our football team,” Napier said. “He’s done a good job of keeping a level head and staying humble. He really means a lot to me and my family, but he also means a lot to our football program. He’s just a special kid, and he’s a joy to be around.”
Bigsby and his teammates on the offensive side of the football will be put to the test this week against an outstanding Brooks County defense.
In three playoff games, Brooks County County has given up 23 points, and it allowed a combined nine points in wins over Rockmart and Metter the past two weeks.
“I think (the Brooks County) defense is the best that we’ve seen this year,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “It’s really fast. They’ve got a lot of guys that run to the ball.”
FAMILIAR OPPONENT: For the third time in four years, Callaway and Brooks County will meet in the state playoffs, and both teams have won once.
In 2016, Callaway beat Brooks County 28-16 in a second-round game at Callaway Stadium, and that was part of a special season that ended with a loss to Benedictine in the state semifinals.
In 2017, Callaway traveled to Brooks County and lost 31-0 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
Brooks County lost the following week in the semifinals.
Round three will be this Friday night at Callaway Stadium, with the winner advancing to the state-championship game to play either Thomasville or Dublin.
While it’ll be a different Brooks County team than in past years, Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins knows what to expect.
“Coach (Maurice) Freeman will bring a great football team up here,” Wiggins said. “He’ll have his guys motivated. They’ll be ready to go. We’ve played them twice. We played them once at our place, and once at their place. I think it’s the same Brooks County team that we’ve seen before. They’re really fast, they run to the ball, they’re a really physical football team. They execute really well.”