Dixon’s big day leads Cavaliers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
TEMPLE – When the Callaway Cavaliers needed him most, senior Charlie Dixon rose to the occasion.
In a critical region showdown with Temple on Saturday, Dixon had the most productive game of his stellar high-school career.
Dixon ran for 211 yards on 27 carries with four touchdowns as Callaway beat Temple 41-20 in a key Region 5 -AA game.
Callaway (6-1 overall) improved to 2-1 in Region 5-AA and secured one of the region’s four spots in the state playoffs.
If Callaway beats Heard County on Friday, it will finish first or second in the region and will host a state-playoff game.
Callaway was coming off a 36-29 road loss to Haralson County on Tuesday, so it had a short turn-around before playing a Temple team that had to have a win to stay in the playoff race.
It was a six-point game in the fourth quarter when Callaway’s Jarvis Parks returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown. Dixon added a 32-yard touchdown run with 2:32 remaining to put the finishing touches on the road win.
While the stats belonged to Dixon, it was a team effort getting him to 211 yards.
The offensive linemen including Lathan Patterson, Austin Thomas, Adarian Barnes, Jacob Miles and Nate Lee did an outstanding job, as did tight end Sam Williams and fullback Amarion Copeland.
Also, the wide receivers helped out as well with some effective downfield blocking.
“There’s a lot that goes into 27 carries and 211 yards,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said on his weekly radio show on Monday. “It’s the offensive line, it’s the tight ends, it’s the backs, and the wideouts do a great job (blocking). I know Charlie’s very appreciative of all that, and would give them credit as well.”
Dixon’s time on the field this season has been limited because of a turf-toe injury, and he also missed a game because of quarantine procedures.
“He was really eager and excited to get on the field Saturday night,” Wiggins said. “We went into the game and wanted to run the ball. I thought coach (Zach) Giddens called a great ballgame.”
While the Cavaliers did most of their damage on the ground, quarterback Demetrius Coleman did throw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Shephard.
It was a complete effort by the Cavaliers, who were just a few days removed from a difficult road loss.
“Bottom line, when the rubber hits the road, you’ve got to get out and play, and I felt like we did that Saturday night,” Wiggins said. “I was real proud of our players, our coaching staff. We beat a real good team in Temple.”
The Cavaliers struck first, with Dixon scoring on a 22-yard touchdown run, and Blake Eubanks made the extra point to make it a 7-0 game with 9:15 to play in the opening quarter.
After Temple tied it on a touchdown run by Phillip Johnson, Callaway answered with a 75-yard scoring run to give the visiting team a 14-7 lead with 7:01 left in the first half.
Later in the quarter the Cavaliers recovered a fumble, and Coleman hooked up with Shephard for an 11-yard touchdown, and the lead was 20-7 with 1:12 remaining in the first half.
Temple scored a late first-half touchdown to cut Callaway’s lead to 20-13 and take some momentum to the locker room.
Dixon struck again early in the third quarter with a 53-yard touchdown run, and the lead was 27-13.
Callaway’s lead was down to 27-20 in the fourth quarter when Temple recovered a fumble and was threatening to pull even with a touchdown and an extra point.
The Cavaliers were up to the challenge, though.
Parks intercepted a pass at the 10-yard line, and he raced 90 yards for the touchdown, and Callaway was ahead 34-20 with 6:29 left in the game.
After Callaway’s defense made a stop, Dixon put the game on ice with a 30-yard touchdown run with 2:32 to play, pushing the lead to 41-20.
“I’m really proud of our kids’ effort Saturday night on a short week,” Wiggins said.