The Calhoun Yellow Jackets (9-1, 7-1 region) kept their positive momentum going heading into the playoffs, cruising past Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (4-6, 4-4 region) 44-7 in Fort Oglethorpe.
With the win, first-year head coach Clay Stephenson and Calhoun finished the regular season with nine wins and the No. 2 playoff seed in Region 6-AAA. Stephenson shared his thoughts after his first season and the stellar record.
“It’s good, but like I told (the team), it doesn’t matter if we were 5-5 as long as we make the playoffs,” Stephenson said. “Everybody is 0-0 right now, and we’re looking to get back Monday and get ready for whoever we are playing in the first round.”
Although the Jackets started off slow as the first quarter ended tied 0-0, they settled down and scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. Jerrian Hames had another big night from his running back position (14 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns). He opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:08 left in the first half.
“LFO’s defense was playing tough,” Stephenson said. “They were taking away the runs for the most part… The second quarter and the second half we were able to open it up and get in space. He’s good when he gets that.”
LFO’s offense was unable to put points on the board before time expired, despite being in the red zone. That seemed to be the final straw for LFO, as the momentum swung even further in the Jackets’ direction, and it was basically over from there.
The Jackets built on their 21-0 halftime lead with 6:29 left in the third quarter, when Christopher Lewis took a handoff and plunged two yards for a score. LFO (4-6, 4-4 in region) finally got on the board with 1:17 remaining as James Beddington rushed for a 2-yard touchdown. Hames added two more touchdowns on the ground (36-yard run and 8-yard run), and backup kicker Carlos Orozco nailed a 23-yard field goal with 2:05 left in the game to make the final score 44-7.
With the victory, Calhoun will host the Morgan County Bulldogs next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hal Lamb Field at Phil Reeve Stadium in the first round of the GHSA AAA State Playoffs.