After suffering a tough season so far, the winless Murray County Indians travelled to Phil Reeve Stadium in Calhoun, to take on the daunting task of facing an undefeated Calhoun team, fresh off a dominate win over rival Adairsville. As expected, Calhoun dominated this game in all phases and soundly defeated the Indians 56-0.
Calhoun (7-0, 5-0 in Region 6-AAA) came out of the gates looking very crisp and clicking on all cylinders. Calhoun received the kick to start the game and methodically moved the ball down the field. Yellow Jackets’ running back Zack Fuller capped off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. Then, the stingy Calhoun defense forced a three-and-out on the first drive for Murray County.
On their second drive of the game, the Calhoun offense scored in only two plays, as Fuller ran it into the end zone from nine yards out. The Indians made a critical mistake on their next possession when they coughed up the football, and the fumble was promptly recovered by Collin Baggett of the home side deep in Murray territory. However, the Jackets gave it back on the very next play as Murray County (0-8, 0-5 in Region 6-AAA) intercepted a Gavin Gray pass in the end zone.
However, the Indians were not able to do anything on offense and were forced to another three-and-out by the Calhoun defense. The unit’s stellar performance was the story of the night. The Calhoun defense was spectacular all game, and the first half definitely showcased their dominance as Murray County did not have a single first down in the first half.
Gray and the Calhoun offense quickly put another score on the board, as Gray handed off to Fuller, and Fuller sprinted untouched for eight yards to the house to notch his third rushing touchdown of the game. The Calhoun defense came up with another big play on the following drive, as Brannon Spector picked off a pass from Murray County quarterback Kaleb Jones and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown to make the score 28-0 near the end of the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets scored twice more. First, Jonkell Tolbert took the handoff and dove into the end zone from a couple inches outside the goal line. On the second score, Gray kept it himself on the read option and ran it in untouched from the five.
Calhoun almost scored again to end the half, but the Jackets fumbled the ball on the Murray County goal line as the halftime buzzer sounded. Calhoun took a 42-0 lead going into the locker room.
The third quarter saw Calhoun empty the bench and give valuable experience to its underclassmen. The Jackets added another touchdown when backup quarterback Jake Morrow threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Crump. The second and third-string Calhoun defense made a big play as Nicholas Prater blocked a Murray County punt on their subsequent offensive possession and gave the Jackets great field position in Indian territory.
Jerrien Hames gave the Jackets another touchdown late in the third quarter as he rushed for seven yards for the score. That made the score 56-0 at that point, and that was indeed the score going into the final period. The fourth quarter featured a running clock and was largely uneventful, fortunately for Murray County. The final buzzer sounded, and Calhoun was victorious 56-0.
Even though it would have been easy to overlook a woeful Murray County team, Calhoun played absolutely outstanding in all phases of the game for the most part.
Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb was happy with how his team performed.
“I challenged them to be a mature football team tonight,” Lamb said. “Mature football teams handle every game the same, and I thought our kids did that. Even though Murray County has struggled, I thought we came out and did what we needed to do. We looked crisp. We didn’t look sloppy. I wasn’t happy with our backups and after that, but I thought are ones were pretty crisp.”
One of those ones is the aforementioned Fuller, and he was virtually unstoppable in the game. Fuller rushed for nearly a hundred yards on only nine carries and scored three touchdowns. Gray had another solid night at quarterback in the few times he threw the ball, as he went 6-for-8 passing for 101 yards and a lone interception.
Next Friday, Oct. 19, the Yellow Jackets will travel to Dalton to take on Coahulla Creek at 7:30 p.m.