Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb emphasizes week-in and week-out the importance of winning the turnover battle to his team, and the Jackets responded in a big way on Friday, securing six turnovers in what quickly escalated into a dominant 61-0 win over the Adairsville Tigers.
The Jackets (6-0, 3-0 in Region 6-AAA) set an aggressive tone early on special teams, by forcing and pouncing on a fumble on the opening kickoff, the first of two loose balls the unit would snatch up in the first half. The Calhoun secondary was also swarming and unforgiving, with Eric McKnight, Davis Allen, Bralin Barton and Brannon Spector snagging interceptions from Adairsville (3-4, 0-3 in Region 6-AAA) signal-caller Mason Boswell, one of the most talented players in the region.
“Any time you create that many turnovers, you put yourself in a good position to win,” Lamb said. “I think the off-week helped us rest up, and I think we came out ready to play tonight, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
However, what proved more decisive than the turnovers was the ability of the opportunistic Calhoun offense’s ability to turn them into point. The Jackets swiftly converted each turnover into touchdowns at a rapid pace.
Running back Zack Fuller opened the scoring by punching in a three-yard rushing score and muscling in a 10-yard rushing score in the first quarter. Fuller completed the hat trick by knifing though the defense for a 33-yard score in the second quarter. He finished with 90 yards on nine carries.
“Zack is as tough as they come,” Lamb said. “He’s a winner, and we know he’s someone we can count on to get the job done in any situation.”
Jonkell Tolbert also got in on the rushing action, powering in one of his two carries for a three-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Calhoun’s explosive aerial attack was also on display, with Gavin Gray passing for 91 yards and two scores.
Gray’s first passing touchdown occurred on a cleverly-designed screen pass to Brannon Spector, who weaved his way through traffic for a 20-yard score.
Gray picked up his other touchdown pass on what has become a signature of Luke Moselely, leaping for a fade pass and hauling it in for a 26-yard touchdown.
“Anytime you get a turnover, you have to capitalize on it, and I think our offense did a solid job of that tonight,” Lamb said. “It is always a plus when your defense leads to offense, so I was proud that we were able to turn all of those turnovers into points.”
Due to the lead, Lamb gave some of the second and third-stringer an opportunity under the lights and they didn’t disappoint, with Julian Ipac rumbling in a 1-yard rushing touchdown, Cedric Lacy sprinting for a 46-yard touchdown from Jake Morrow and Jerrian Hames running in a 17-yard touchdown in the game’s final minutes.
Calhoun will host Murray County in another Region 6-AAA showdown next Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.