Calhoun senior Cole Speer heads to the end zone Friday night against Cass.

Anyone can have an off-night.

Fortunately for the Calhoun High School football team, an off-night means they still win, just not by their usual 50-point margin.

The Yellow Jackets remained perfect in 5A Region 7 play Friday evening on Senior Night at Phil Reeve Stadium, taking an important 35-14 hard-fought victory over spunky Cass before another large gathering.

The win makes them 4-0 in the league and sets up Friday night’s clash at Cartersville for the Region 7 crown and the top seed heading into the 5A playoffs in just a little under three weeks.

The Purple Hurricanes easily defeated outmanned Woodland, 49-7, Friday evening to also win their fourth consecutive Region encounter and make this week’s season finale in Bartow County the main game to see in North Georgia.

The win over Cass also means that Calhoun will begin the playoffs at home as the victory ensured the locals a first-round playoff game on Hal Lamb Field at the Reeve.

This game began like so many others this year for Calhoun with the Yellow Jackets scoring on just the second play of the game — a Christian Lewis touchdown pass to Quin Smith only 61 seconds in to make it 7-0 early after Carlos Orozco’s extra-point kick.

They would add to that first quarter advantage after a Cole Speer interception put them at their own 21. The Men in Black traveled 79 yards on 11 plays with a Lewis 5-yard touchdown pass to senior Brendan Gray completing it for a 14-0 lead and just less than three minutes remaining.

But then things got a little tense as Cass refused to go quietly into the cold night.

The Colonels responded with a roll-everyone-to-the-right-and-then-throw-it-left deception play that went for 60 yards and just a minute later, they scored their first touchdown to close the gap to 14-7.

And the Colonels would be in the game the rest of the way.

Calhoun came back with a long touchdown drive that pushed the margin back to two scores after Ben Nation recovered a fumble inside the Cass 10. The hosts went 93 yards in 11 plays with a Caden Williams’ 29-yard run completing it. Orozco’s third PAT night of the half made it 21-7 with 8:10 to go until halftime.

Cass responded with its own time-consuming scoring drive, taking seven minutes off to clock and traveling 80 yards on 15 plays to cut the margin back to one score with a 2-yard touchdown pass and just 1:26 left on the second quarter clock.

The visitors had a chance to get even closer on the first drive of the second half, moving inside the Calhoun 15 before they had to settle for a 32-yard field goal attempt. But junior Dustin Kerns blocked the kick and after taking over at their own 17, the Yellow Jackets needed just 3 plays to go 83 yards with a Lewis 34-yard pass to Smith setting up a Speer 47-yard touchdown pass from Lewis.

Cass then put together another long ownership and looked to be going for another score but they fumbled in the end zone and Calhoun recovered for the touchback.

The Colonels moved it to the Calhoun one again midway through the fourth before a Smith pick-off in the end zone halted another threat.

At that point, Williams got the bulk of the carries as the Jackets looked to expire the clock and he would end the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run that gave the Jackets a three-touchdown lead with just under a minute left in the game.

With the loss, Cass fell to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in the Region and will take on Blessed Trinity in a big game next week for playoff seeding.

Calhoun is now 8-1 on the season and has won seven straight heading into Cartersville on Friday.


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