Top-10 showdown: Callaway and Cedartown set to do battle on Friday
Published 8:30 am Friday, August 25, 2023
The no. 4 ranked 2A Callaway Cavaliers will have their hands full on Friday night at Callaway Stadium as they host no. 9 ranked 4A Cedartown.
“This is going to be a huge challenge,” Callaway coach Pete Wiggins said. “It is a program that has a lot of tradition and coach (Jamie) Abrams does a great job with them.
“They are the state runner-ups last year for a reason, and they are bringing a lot of players back.”
Cedartown is a powerhouse, finishing runner-ups in 4A a season ago by just one point. The Cavaliers did not have much success when they traveled up to Cedartown last year, losing 47-7.
“They bring a physicality and depth that you get with good 4A schools,” Wiggins said. “They are a bigger school than us, and we have to prepare for that and condition well.”
This year’s game will be at home with a big support from the Cavalier faithful, which could help swing momentum at any point in the game.
“We love playing at Callaway Stadium and having the home crowd in the stands,” Wiggins said. “I feel like we play well at home and hopefully that will give us an advantage.”
It is not as if Callaway has had no success against Cedartown. The Cavaliers have won two of the three meetings between the two teams, winning both the 2014 and 2015 contest by double digits.
The Bulldogs are coming into the game 1-0 having edged out no. 8 ranked 2A Rockmart 13-12 in their season opener last Friday.
Callaway has not played since they blew out Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 37-12 in a scrimmage on Aug. 4. While the Cavaliers have not played since then, they have been anything but idle.
“Anytime you get an extra week to prepare it is a positive,” Wiggins said, “Hopefully that will show on the field on Friday night.”
The Cavaliers offense will be relying heavily on senior quarterback DeShun Coleman, who threw for over 1,200 yards and ran for over 350 as well.
With offensive player of the year for region 5-AA Qua Whitfield graduated, senior Jordan King will have an even bigger role this season.
The bruising back had two touchdowns in the scrimmage earlier this month and will have to have a big game on Friday night for the Cavaliers to get the win.
This is just the start of a brutal opening non-region schedule that sees the Cavaliers have to play two top 10 teams in 4A in their first two games.
“We believe that scheduling tough opponents sets the tone for how to prepare for good football teams down the road,” Wiggins said. “It’s good for our players to see well coached teams and when you play teams like that I think it makes you better.
“Hopefully, our non-region schedule will prepare us for the region schedule and then eventually the playoffs.”
The Cavaliers never back down from a challenge and their quest for a second state championship in program history begins under the bright lights of Callaway Stadium once again.