The starters made some plays in the first quarter and a half, and the backups and underclassmen did their share of work and more on Thursday night. All in all it was a successful preseason warm-up for the Calhoun Yellow Jackets.
Calhoun hosted Northwest Whitfield for their lone preseason scrimmage at Phil Reeve Stadium and accomplished about all they wanted to en route to a 48-7 victory. The varsity starters and backups played the first half, and the rest of the roster got a lot of action in the second half with both groups making big plays to tune up for the regular season that starts next week. Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said he was pleased with the effort overall, especially on the defensive side.
“We were able to get everyone in, which is really good in the scrimmage,” said Lamb. “I really didn’t know if we were going to be able to, but we worked them all in for some reps. Defensively, I think we played really well. The first unit did a good job, and even the younger kids made plays on that side. You kind of expect that this time of the year for the defense to be a little bit ahead. On the other side of things, we’ve got to get better offensively. We need to go back and look at the film and try to figure out what we’re good at. We’ve got some work to do there, but we’ll get it going the right direction before next week.”
For photos from Thursday's scrimmage, see Saturday's Calhoun Times.
The Calhoun defense made the first big play of the game as linebacker Collin Baggett stepped in front of a Northwest Whitfield pass for an interception and then returned it 84 yards for a touchdown to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After struggling a bit in the first few series, the Calhoun starting offense got a needed score in the second quarter on their final series as they moved the ball down the field and punctuated the drive on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Gray to Luke Moseley to make it 14-0. Gray finished with 91 yards passing on 7-of-13 throws with a touchdown and an interception in a quarter and a half of work, and Moseley was the leading receiver with two catches for 42 yards and the score.
“We needed to get that touchdown with the first unit,” said Lamb. “Gavin made a good throw, and Luke brought it down. We needed that one.”
The Bruins answered on the next drive for their only score of the game as quarterback Ty Fisher connected with Mason Blanchard for a 28-yard touchdown pass to cut the Calhoun lead in half at 14-7, but the Jackets wouldn’t go to the half quietly as they scored on the final play of the second quarter thanks to an 88-yard bomb from backup QB Jake Morrow to Grant Gilmer.
The second half featured mostly underclassmen, and the Calhoun youngsters took advantage of their time in the fourth quarter. The group put four more touchdowns on the board in the final quarter, including a 57-yard touchdown run by Jerrian Hames, a one-yard TD run by Owen Goble, a 31-yard pass from Christian Lewis to Cole Speer and five-yard TD run by Lewis on the final play of the game.
“I was hoping to get all those kids in so we could see them on film,” said Lamb. “I’m really pleased with our 10th-graders and ninth-graders. I’m really excited about that group for the future.”
Along with Baggett’s early interception, Speer added the second interception of the night in the fourth quarter.
Calhoun will now have a quick turnaround as they get ready for their season opener next Thursday against Ridgeland in the Corky Kell Classic at Barron Stadium in Rome at 5:30 p.m. Lamb said his team is looking forward to playing on that big stage.
“We’re excited, but it’s going to be a short week for us,” said Lamb. “We’ll have to get a lot of work in before next Thursday and try to move the practice schedule up a day from normal. We’ve got to be ready to go because Ridgeland is a good team. We’re excited about the opportunity to play in that game though. It should be a good atmosphere.”