During Calhoun’s dominant run over the past decade-plus, the Jackets have always been known first for their explosive offenses even when their defensive units were very talented.
That’s changed a little this season.
The Calhoun defense has taken the lead over the first seven games in 2013, pitching five shutouts to help the usually potent Jackets offense find its way.
Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said it’s tough comparing his team’s defensive units over the years, but he has been very pleased with what the 2013 version has had to offer.
“It’s hard to say,” said Lamb. “I know they are playing extremely well. The 2011 defense that won the state championship was very good, but this one is right there with them.
“We need to continue playing that way and continue to get better on offense.”
Calhoun (6-1, 4-0) will get another shot at a shutout as well as a chance to take another step toward their 13th straight region title on Friday when they host Armuchee for Homecoming. The Indians (1-6, 1-3) have had a tough season, and a trip to Phil Reeve Stadium isn’t a recipe for turning things around.
Lamb said even with Armuchee’s struggles, the Jackets need to be focused on the task at hand.
“They are very-well coached,” said Lamb. “Coach (Preston) Cash does a tremendous job. They’ve lost some close games, and they’ve struggled in several games, but one thing you see through all the games so far this year is they are playing extremely hard.
“This is one of those games where if you aren’t careful, a team like this can cause you problems.”
Lamb said one of the things he’s worried about this week is the distraction of Homecoming festivities. He said Homecoming can be a really good thing for the school and community, but he isn’t always the biggest fan of it as a coach.
“The thing we’ve got to do is stay with our normal routine,” said Lamb. “What we’ve got to do is give our full attention to practicing and getting ready, and let everyone else take care of all the other stuff.
“If you’re distracted, you aren’t going to play well.”
The Jackets are coming off a 61-0 win over Murray County last week and a 45-0 win at Pepperell the previous week. The Calhoun offense ran for 249 yards and threw for 341 yards to compliment another dominant defensive performance. The defense had an outstanding 12 tackles for loss. Tristan Fuller led the effort with nine total tackles, including one for loss, and Austin Byrd and Austin Bennett each had eight total tackles and a tackle-for-loss apiece.
Lamb said he was pleased with how his team came out and played another complete game after a very encouraging win over Pepperell coming off the bye week.
“(Last Friday) was one of those games that could’ve gone either way as far as the kids being prepared,” said Lamb. “But our kids handled it well, and they came out and took care of business.”
Lamb said the key to having continued success this Friday against the Indians was simple.
“The key this week is to be mentally prepared,” said Lamb. “I think we’ll be okay, but if the guys get caught up in the Homecoming stuff, we’re going to struggle.”
Another Region 7-AA team will take their shot at the top dog Calhoun, and another Region 7-AA team will come up short. The Jackets have too much talent and too much momentum to let the Indians have a chance in this game.
Don’t be surprised if the defense gets another shutout on Friday.
Score: Calhoun wins, 35-0.