The Calhoun Middle School football team made sure to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers and utilized its dynamic and agile offense in a 42-12 victory over crosstown and region rival Red Bud last Thursday.
The game started off with a bang when Calhoun’s Cole Speer received the opening kickoff and juked and cut through the Phoenix special teams unit for an 80-yard score.
Speer cemented himself as the Yellow Jackets’ biggest threat as the game wore on, hauling in a 48-yard touchdown later in the first quarter from starting quarterback Dylan Faulkner. Calhoun running back Robert Warner also helped the team get on the board by punching in a one-yard rush over the goal line for six.
“I thought our offense played really well, especially considering Red Bud was really successful at stopping our running game,” Calhoun head coach Eric Rigney said. “They forced us to throw more than we anticipated, but Dylan and our receivers made some great plays.”
Speer capped off his spectacular half by jumping over a cornerback and snagging a 34-yard receiving touchdown as the time expired in the second quarter to push the score to 27-0 heading into the break.
“Cole is just an unbelievable athlete,” Rigney said. “He can run, block, catch and play great defense. At times he looks unstoppable out there, and he’s just an excellent player all-around.”
After a quiet, scoreless third quarter for both teams, Red Bud started to make some noise in the final quarter when running back Zach Lyles powered in a 24-yard rushing touchdown. The Phoenix also took advantage of good field position after Trevor Childers intercepted a pass. There was a fumble near the end zone, but fortunately for Red Bud Nick Beddington was there to scoop up the recovery.
Calhoun was able to halt the rally with a 75-yard kickoff return touchdown on the next possession by Christopher Lewis. Kaleb Ray also added a score to help the Jackets reach its final 42-point total and crucial region win.
“This is the type of win that brings your team together,” Rigney said.
“Everyone contributed to making some huge plays on offense and special teams, and our defense battled to make some key stops throughout the game.”
In other recent middle school action:
-The Ashworth Lady Warriors claimed another victory at Fields Ferry on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The team posted a score of 103, which bested the 112 put up by Cass and the 126 for Adairsville. Top contributors were Brooke Wilson with a 49 and Caitlyn Chilito with a 54.
The Warriors fell just short, losing narrowly to Cass 219-220. The boys did beat Adairsville’s 234. Chandler Huffman led the charge with a 52. Matthew Spence and Brian Revels both posted a 55 and Caleb Freeman finished with a 58.
-The Calhoun Middle golfers competed at Stonebridge Golf Club in Rome in a three-way golf match against Ashworth and Rome this past week.
The boys team won by topping Ashworth by 51 strokes and Rome by 28 strokes. Beau Black lead the Jackets with a spectacular round of 43, Ethan Lunsford pitched in a 44, Connor Miles contributed a 45, and Hayden Jackson finished with a 47.
In the girls match, the Lady Jackets also picked up a win. Ella Manley led the way with a low score of 46. Raigh Langston chipped in a score of 50. Alyza Parrott and Lissa Lain Coffman both added 54’s.
-What turned out to be a very successful season for the Red Bud softball team drew to a close on Monday, Sept. 25 when Cartersville edged the Lady Phoenix 6-5 in the first round of the BGMSAA region tournament.
-The Ashworth Lady Warriors picked up a crucial win over Rome on Monday. The team kicked off region tournament play this week with hopes of making a deep postseason run.