The Calhoun Yellow Jackets got their pursuit of a state-record 18th straight region title off to a flying start last Friday, but they will face a different kind of challenge this week as they head on the road into another team’s house that would like nothing more than to play spoiler.
The Jackets take their show on the road to Chatsworth to square off with North Murray at 7:30 p.m. as both teams are looking to improve to 2-0 in 6-AAA.
Calhoun (3-0, 1-0 in 6-AAA) opened region play last Friday with a dominant 38-0 victory over rival Sonoraville in a game which they controlled from start to finish. They got interceptions on Sonoraville’s first two drives both from Aaron Hayes, an all-around dominant defensive performance as they held the Phoenix to just 53 total yards, a 100-yard, three-touchdown game from running back Zack Fuller and an efficient 200-yard, two-TD performance from quarterback Gavin Gray. Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said it was good night for his team to start the region schedule.
“I thought we came out and played solid in the beginning of the game and got off to a fast start,” said Lamb. “We really took control in the first quarter and took Sonoraville out of the game. When your defense gives up negative rushing yards total in the first half, you feel pretty good about your chances. I was really pleased with our defense. I thought our offense could’ve been a little more crisp and played better, but overall, it was a great team win.”
The Mountaineers (2-1, 1-0 in 6-AAA) are also coming off a region-opening win as they took down Ringgold on the road last Friday, 14-7. They are led by senior quarterback Preston Poag, Jr., lineman Luke Griffin who is being recruited by several big-time college programs and a strong defense that has given up seven points apiece in their last two games against Ringgold and Model. Lamb said he expects a confident and motivated team across the field on Friday.
“They got a big win last week against Ringgold so they are going to come into this game on cloud nine,” said Lamb. “They are a really good team with a really good quarterback that can hurt you throwing and running. They also have a big offensive lineman that has gotten a lot of attention.
“They are a really solid team. Going up there, it’s going to be a great atmosphere in a great stadium. Our kids know what to expect on the road so we just have to do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance to have success.”
Calhoun played without starting safety and receiver Brannon Spector last Friday who missed the win over Sonoraville with a minor injury. Lamb said he expected the Clemson commit to be back in the lineup this week.
The Jackets have owned the short all-time series against North Murray, winning all six meetings, including a 40-13 home win last year at The Reeve.
Lamb said there are a few keys his team needs to focus on to get another win against the Mountaineers and continue their pursuit of another region title.
“We’ve got to play better offensively and have more rhythm on that side of the ball,” said Lamb. “We also need to win the turnover battle and contain their quarterback. We know he’s going to be able to make some plays, but we’ve got to find a way to contain him somewhat and not dictate the game.”