Calhoun overcame four turnovers and a safety to defeat Dalton last Friday.
However, Hal Lamb and the Jackets know that’s not the recipe that’s going to lead to a lot of wins against good teams. And that’s exactly what they’re going to face this week — a very, very good team.
Calhoun wraps up their non-region schedule on Friday with a trip to play Class AAAA powerhouse Carrollton, and Lamb said his team has to play more soundly than they did against the Catamounts.
“We’ve got to get better,” said Lamb. “You can’t turn the ball over and beat a lot of people. Our offense right now isn’t doing the little things right. We’ve got to go back and have better practices. We’re confident we can get there.
“We’re making strides, we just have some work to do on that side of the ball.”
The Jackets (2-0) lost two fumbles, three two interceptions and were tackled in the end zone for a safety this past Friday, but every time the momentum seemed to turn in Dalton’s favor the Calhoun defense came up with a big stop.
That unit has yet to allow any points to an opponent this season, shutting out the Ridgeland and Dalton offense.
“They’re playing extremely well right now,” said Lamb of his team’s defense. “We feed off our defense, and they are certainly the strength of our team right now. I’ve got to give credit to those kids and our defensive coaches.”
That defense will be tested in a big way on Friday against the Trojans as they’ve put up 98 points in their first two games, and they’re coming off a 63-0 blowout of Chapel Hill.
Carrollton boasts several big-time college prospects, including four-star UGA commit Dontavius Russell, a 300-pound defensive tackle. They also have three other Division-I commits currently, including tight end Cole Cook (N.C. State), offensive lineman Jake Sanders (Duke) and kicker Tyler Newsome (Notre Dame). Quarterback Wil Garrett and running back Trey Chivers are also receiving college interest.
“(Carrollton) is as good as advertised,” said Lamb. “They’ve got a tremendous amount of speed and size, and they’re very well-coached so we’ve definitely got our hands full going there.
“It’s going to be a great football game. I hope our kids can rise to the occasion and play up to their potential. If they do that, it will be a great game, but if we don’t play well, it’s not going to be a pretty game.”
Despite the turnovers last Friday, the Jackets offense did make some big plays, including 59 and 70-yard touchdown connections from quarterback Fields Chapman to receiver Tydus Curtis. Chandler Curtis also had over 100 yards receiving in the game.
Chapman, however, is iffy for Friday’s matchup with Carrollton after sustaining a shoulder injury late in the Dalton game. Lamb said Chapman would be listed as questionable if there was an injury report, and they would see toward the middle of the week how the quarterback looks at practice before making a decision.
In case Chapman misses the game, sophomore Kaelan Riley would see the majority of the snaps. Riley came in late in the Dalton game and threw for 65 yards.
Lamb said Carrollton is as good as the Jackets had played in a long time, and that’s saying a lot when you think about who his team has tangled with over the last few seasons in the non-region schedule and playoffs.
The Trojans are always explosive, and this year’s squad is as good as they’ve put on the field in several years. The Jackets must get off to a good start offensively to build some confidence and stay in the game.
Defensively, Calhoun must continue to be solid. They’re probably going to give up their first points this week and maybe a few more.
Score: Carrollton wins, 28-24.