Another big challenge for Cavaliers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
This is familiar territory for the Callaway Cavaliers.
For the fifth consecutive season, and for the seventh time since 2009, Callaway has advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.
Callaway kept its playoff journey going with a hard-earned 16-9 victory over the Lovett Lions last week at Callaway Stadium.
Callaway (9-1) will host the Thomasville Bulldogs on Friday night, with the winner advancing to the Class AA semifinals to play Rabun County or Bleckley County.
On the other side of the bracket, the quarterfinal matchups feature Fannin County against Fitzgerald, and Jefferson County versus Bremen.
The final two teams standing will meet in the championship game at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 29 at noon.
“We can go a long way,” said senior running back Charlie Dixon, who had two touchdown runs against Lovett. “We can win as many ballgames as we want.”
The task likely won’t get any easier this week.
Thomasville (8-4), the number two seed from Region 1-AA, has beaten Westside and Dodge County to reach the quarterfinals.
After thumping Westside 42-13 in the first round, Thomasville overwhelmed Dodge County 44-7 last week.
Callaway and Thomasville are both accustomed to advancing deep in the playoffs, so this is nothing new for either ball club.
Callaway, in fact, is attempting to reach the semifinals of the state playoffs for the third consecutive season.
Thomasville, meanwhile, reached the semifinals last season, and the quarterfinals in 2017.
When the state bracket was finalized, a quarterfinal showdown between Callaway and Thomasville appeared to be likely, and that’s how it played out.
While Thomasville has won both of its playoff games by blowout, Callaway had its hands full with Lovett last week after winning by forfeit in the first round.
Callaway took the lead against Lovett with 1:48 to play on a touchdown run by Dixon, and it sealed the victory on an interception by Jalin Shephard.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, but we’re not done,” senior linebacker Osiris Rivas said after the game. “We’re going to keep going.”
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway Stadium
WHAT: Third round of Class AA state playoffs
RECORDS: Callaway (9-1); Thomasville (8-4)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Callaway finished first in Region 5-AA and beat Banks County (by forfeit) and Lovett (16-9) in the playoffs; Thomasville finished second in Region 1-AA and beat Westside (42-13) and Dodge County (44-7) in the state playoffs
UP NEXT: The winner will play Rabun County of Bleckley County in the semifinals
NOTEWORTHY: Callaway and Thomasville both lost in the semifinals of the state playoffs last season; This is the first-ever meeting between Callaway and Thomasville