Calhoun High senior Porter Law’s name might not show up a lot of time in the stats, whether it’s on the basketball court or the football field, but despite that, you can be assured he’s doing something or most of the time several things to help his team win.
Ask any of his coaches or teammates, and they will tell you that Law is one of those athletes that cares more about the team winning than any individual stats, recognition or accolades, and his actions prove it. Just look at what he’s best at for Vince Layson’s Jackets’ basketball team. Law set the single-season assists record for the program last year, and he has a chance to pass the program’s all-time mark this year. He also takes pride in the way he plays on the defensive end of the court, another area that requires selfless, team-first thinking.
Law has been a crucial part of Calhoun’s impressive late-season run, which has included going 12-4 down the stretch after a 1-9 start and earning the program’s sixth straight region title with a victory over Bremen in the Region 6-AAA Championship Game last Saturday. The senior point guard and his teammates are now getting ready to try to carry that momentum over into the Class AAA State Tournament, which begins on Saturday with a first-round matchup at home against Redan.
Law showed his dedication to the team this past football season as well when he missed the first half of the regular season due to a foot injury but was always there to help his teammates and coaches any way he could until he was healthy enough to get back on the field. He helped make an impact on both sides of the ball once he returned, playing receiver and defensive back, during Calhoun’s run to the Class AAA state championship.
Recently, the Calhoun Times caught up with Law to discuss several different things, including the basketball team’s recent run to another region title, what went into the turnaround after a rough start to the season, his thoughts on his final high school football season and ending it with a state title, the influence his coaches have had on him, his best memories as an athlete at Calhoun and other subjects.
Here’s what he had to say:
CT: How excited are you for the state tournament starting this weekend and how confident are you that this team can make another deep run like the Final Four run last season?
LAW: Playing a lot of games in the region tournament built up a lot of confidence so we’re hoping to continue that confidence throughout this week and preparing for the first round. I feel like we play as hard on defense as we did last year, and defense wins games. I think our depth is also slightly better this year. We’ve just got to play well on defense. We’re probably not as good offensively as we were last year, but we just have to make that up defensively.
CT: What changed from the start of the season to a few weeks ago when the team started playing better basketball and went on a run to win the program’s sixth straight region title?
LAW: I feel like it’s been a constant improvement. Even the games we lost at the beginning of the year were good experience for the younger guys on the team. They know that we’re not going to be blowing out every team that we play. Getting those losses at the beginning helped the young guys and even helped the seniors as well as the coaches, knowing that we’re going to have to bring our best every night to come out with a win.
CT: How tough was it for you missing the first half of your last football season at Calhoun due to an injury?
LAW: It was a very tough pill to swallow in the summer because of how hard we had worked after we lost to Cedar Grove our junior year to knock us out of the playoffs. Us seniors worked our tail off to try to win a state championship our senior year. So getting hurt in the summer was a very hard pill to swallow, but the coaches had my back and my teammates had my back. They believed in me, and I believed in them. I helped them as much as I could in the film room, up in the press box and on the sideline. I tried to help them out as much as I could while I was injured. Whenever I came back, my teammates were behind me, and I’m just grateful the coaches allowed me to get another shot and played me.
CT: How great was it to go out on top in football with a state title especially after many people around the state doubted this team could get it done?
LAW: I’m blessed. God let it happen to this senior class. Ever since our freshman year, we weren’t the most athletic class or the most physically dominant class, but we were as close to a family as you can get. We stayed with each other all four years, and ending it with a state championship…you can’t get any better than that. Most kids are sad when their football season is over, but whenever you go out on top, everything’s great.
CT: What has been your best memory as an athlete at Calhoun High?
LAW: Two games I can say. On the football side, it was the Cedar Grove game this year in the Final Four. Going into an atmosphere like that, not being used to it, didn’t have our fans right behind us like we do at The Reeve. We were playing against five-star athletes. It was a movie-like scene. And we played our best game all season against them. For basketball, it was the Jenkins game last year in the Elite Eight. They beat us the year before kind of unexpectedly. We knew we were going to have to play them again with a bunch of their players back, and we had almost a whole new starting five. It was hailing that day, didn’t know if we were going to get the game in, had a two-hour delay, but whenever we came out on the court we had probably the biggest fan section we’ve ever had here at Calhoun despite the weather. That was one of the best games I’ve ever been in. Two great teams playing, and we came out on top.
CT: How cool is it to play in local rivalry games like the one last Friday at Sonoraville?
LAW: Everyone loves crosstown, high school rivalries. Those are the games that everyone circles on their schedule. Those are the ones your fans are saying you’ve got to win this one and we’re coming to it. In basketball this year, (Sonoraville) got us twice for the first time in my high school career, but then we came back and got them in the region tournament. Those games mean so much. It’s all about pride. You get to boast about that for the rest of the year until you play again the next season. But then again after the games, you are respectful to one another with as good a community as we have here in Gordon County with all the schools. We might go after it really hard on the court or the field, but you really want the best for everyone and we root for Sonoraville and Gordon Central when we aren’t playing them.
CT: Which one of your coaches has had the biggest influence on you and what have they instilled in you?
LAW: It’s Coach (Vince) Layson. He’s my biggest role model. This summer when I was hurt, but he stayed behind me the whole time. He was happy for all that I did on the football field and happy with everything. We’re really close as a player and coach to where I can call or text him at any time and he’ll answer. God blessed me for him to be my coach.
CT: Who is an athlete you admire or try to model yourself after?
LAW: Kobe Bryant. I look up to him. He loves the game more than any player I’ve seen. He wants to win more than anything, and that’s what you play for. You have to have that mamba mentality like he has.
CT: What are your plans for after high school?
LAW: I’m still undecided on a lot of things, but I feel like I do want to play college basketball. I think I would enjoy it a lot. And hopefully after that I’ll go into education and most likely be a teacher and coach in the future.
Fast Food: Cook Out
TV Show: Friends
Movie: The Dark Knight