Callaway books spot in the state quarterfinals for eighth straight season with blowout of Model

Published 11:02 pm Friday, November 17, 2023

Callaway meant business. The AA powerhouse took it to Model 42-19 on Friday to book a spot in the state quarterfinals for the eighth straight season.

“It takes a lot of dedicated people to get here,” Callaway coach Pete Wiggins said. “You have to have guys that are willing to work hard for a long period of time. We believe in what we do from the coaching staff down to the players.”

The Cavaliers were led by their senior duo of quarterback DeShun Coleman and wide receiver Treyonn Tucker. Three of Coleman’s five touchdowns in the game went to his favorite target this season.

“We worked at it at practice all week,” Tucker said. “We have been playing for so many years now that he knows where I am going to be.”

“Ever since middle school I knew where he was going to be, and he knows where I’m going to put it,” Coleman said as he put his arm around Tucker.

The two have been playing football together since they were young, and after sharing a hug postgame, they know how much these big games mean as they inch closer to competing for a state championship.

“Callaway Stadium is home for us, there is nothing like playing here in these games,” Coleman said. “We know that this crowd has our back.”

Surprisingly, the Coleman-Tucker connection was not what got the offense first kicked into gear. It was Tyren Buggs who found the end zone first, putting Callaway up 7-0 early in the first quarter.

The offensive line was an impressive unit for the Cavaliers on Friday as they kept their quarterback upright and helped open up some big running lanes for the backs.

“I think the offensive line was outstanding tonight opening up lanes and giving a ton of time to Coleman back there,” Wiggins said. 

Coleman put together what was quite possibly his best showing so far in red and black. 

“Really I was just reading what the defense was giving me and getting the ball to my receivers, and I know they are going to make plays,” Coleman said. 

Coleman got his first of five passing touchdowns when he threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Koryon Hoard that was beautifully placed over a defender’s outreached hands to double the Cavalier lead with just seconds to go in the first half.

“He gets better each game and really commands our offense,” Wiggins said. “His leadership on the field is really special for us.”

The senior quarterback completely took over the game in the second quarter, tossing two touchdowns to Tucker and one to D’Arcy Harris. They were not short dink and dunk passes as all three had 20+ yards in the air. 

Tucker’s first was an 85-yard touchdown that he caught over the middle and then took the house while his second was an over-the-shoulder grab in the back of the end zone, flashing all his skills out wide.

The Coleman-Tucker connection hit pay dirt once again on the opening drive of the second half on a 24-yard strike.

That was the final time the team would score on offense as mistakes plagued the reserves that entered the game.

“It frustrates me because I wanted to finish well,” Wiggins said. “I thought we played a really great ball game, so it is a little frustrating to get so many penalties and a turnover late in the game. You really want to see your team finish.”

Model thought it was back in the game when the team ran a few trick plays to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 21-7 in the second quarter, but two quick touchdown passes from Coleman quieted a large traveling contingent.

The Blue Devils found the end zone twice in the fourth quarter after a blocked punt and a deep touchdown pass against a backup Callaway secondary.

A running clock in the fourth quarter meant it was a relatively brisk affair for the Cavaliers.

It will only get tougher from here as AA is down to the final eight teams left. 

“We have worked hard all season for these moments,” Coleman said. “These are the type of games we want to play in.”

Callaway will host Fitzgerald next Friday in a rematch of the 2020 AA state championship game that saw the Cavaliers claim their first state championship in program history.

Wiggins is not concerned with the history and is looking forward to playing a tough, competitive football game in a week’s time.

“The talent level evens out from here on out,” Wiggins said. “There are going to be a lot of factors that go into winning and losing, so we have to make sure that we are paying attention to all the small details in our preparation.”