PREP FOOTBALL: Jackets dominate Bremen to secure subregion top seed

Eric McKnight (15) chases down Bremen quarterback Wade Cartwright for a sack during Friday’s game. 

BREMEN -- In what was originally expected to be a tightly-contested battle between top teams for the Region 6-AAA South subregion title, Calhoun once again proved it was the dominant force out of the group by defeating Bremen by a commanding margin of 48-0.

The Yellow Jackets (8-1, 4-0 Region 6-AAA South) looked to make a statement right out of the gate as its offense took to the field for the first time. On the unit’s first snap, quarterback Gavin Gray dropped back and launched a deep fade to Brannon Spector, who hauled in the pass for a 43-yard touchdown.

Spector functioned as Gray’s favorite target on the night, snagging two passes for 97 yards.

The precision and potency of Calhoun’s aerial attack flashed again when Gray found tight end Zeke Nance in the end zone for a three-yard score off of play action later in the opening quarter.

On the next drive, the team’s big play prowess was on full display, as Gray connected with wide receiver Bralin Barton on a quick screen. Barton weaved through a couple Blue Devil (8-1, 3-1) defenders before easily coasting 80 yards for an additional six.

Gray punctuated his night by reversing field with a pass to tight end Davis Allen, who rumbled down the sideline and over the goal line for a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

It may not have been the most prolific night for Gray on the stat sheet, but he stepped up and completed numerous big plays for the Jackets. He completed 8-of-21 passes for 244 yards, the four scores and one inconsequential interception.

“I felt like our offense was really clicking tonight,” Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb said. “We knew that we had to rely on the deep ball, and if we hit a few we would have a successful night. I’m proud of Gavin and our group of receivers because they came out ready to play.”

Calhoun’s offense was bolstered by the punishing rushing style of workhorse running back Zack Fuller. Fuller helped the Jackets maintain its complete control of the game in the second half, slashing and cutting his way for a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He was called upon once again in the next quarter of play and responded, muscling in a 23-yard rushing score.

As the final whistle sounded, Fuller, who seemed to only get stronger as the game wore on, had accumulated 140 yards on 21 carries.

“Zack just keeps pounding and pounding away at a defense and that is a huge aspect of our offense,” Lamb said. “He is as tough as they come, and he will do anything the coaches ask of him.”

It was another relentless and pulverizing performance by the Calhoun defense, who completely blanked one of the subregion’s most consistent offenses. The unit seemingly controlled the line of scrimmage each possession, and came up with clutch sacks and tackles anytime that the Blue Devils got something going on offense.

Contributing on both sides of the ball, Barton got his hands on a toss from Bremen signal-caller Wade Cartwright for an interception before the half. In the fourth quarter, Logan Parker picked off Cartwright again, returning it 80-plus yards for a defensive touchdown. The defense was also backed by timely sacks from Bailey Lester and Eric McKnight.

“We were outstanding defensively,” Lamb said. “We have to give a lot of credit to our defensive coaching staff, and to the phenomenal group of athletes on that side of the ball that are coachable. They always show up and are ready to work their butts off, and that is what they did tonight.”

Calhoun will be back in action next Friday as they visit Murray County in the Region 6-AAA Play-in game. With a win, the Jackets would secure their 17th straight region title, which would tie the Georgia all-time mark set by Lincoln County from 1982-1998.