Maybe the Yellow Jackets should play a few more times on Thursday night, because that was most impressive.
With their best defensive effort yet and a touchdown in every quarter, Calhoun closed out non-region action Thursday night at Phil Reeve Stadium with a solid 31-7 beating of previously-undefeated Cedartown before a packed house.
Their third straight win gives them momentum going into their 5-A Region 7 opener against Hiram back at the Hive next Friday.
Calhoun set the tone for the take with its first drive, going 69 yards on eight plays. A 27-yard pass to Speer was the highlight and on a fourth-and-six at the Cedartown 16, Lewis threw a touchdown pass to Dustin Kerns giving the host a 7-0 lead with 8:45 left in the first.
But Cedartown answered with a 13-play, 52-yard scoring drive of its own, converting a fourth-and-one at the Calhoun 16 to keep it going. On a first-and-goal at the one, junior quarterback Reese Tanner bulled his way in for the score and the game was tied with just over two minutes left in the first period.
It was a 7-7 game late in the first quarter after teams scored on their opening drives, but a scrappy Jackets defense kept the speedy Bulldogs out of the end zone while the offense went on a 24-0 run over the duration of the game.
The home team took the lead for good on their second possession with a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a Sergio Sanchez 37-yard field goal when things stalled at the Cedartown 20.
A 32-yard catch by Cole Speer in double coverage was the big play in the drive. A Caden Williams 19-yard run took them inside the Cedartown 10, but a personal foul penalty moved them back and they had to settle for the 10-7 advantage with 10:29 to go until halftime.
The Jackets would add a final touchdown just before the break when the teams traded fumbles and Calhoun took over near midfield.
On the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Christian Lewis threw a direct pass to Quin Smith, who then threw the ball down the field to a wide-open Cole Speer, for a 52-yard touchdown. The extra point gave the Jackets an eventual 17-7 halftime lead.
Calhoun gave itself some breathing room early in the third quarter, as a swarming defense got Cedartown off the field to start the second half, but a rolling punt pushed them back to their own 3.
Williams ran the ball two times for 3 yards, but on third-and-long just past their 5, Lewis found Smith a couple of steps behind the Cedartown defense for a 95-yard touchdown that made it 24-7 with 8:18 to play in the third period.
Then, Cedartown put together its second-best drive of the game. Relying on the running of senior C.J. Washington, the Bulldogs kept it on the ground for 11 straight plays and traveled from their own 35 to inside the Calhoun 20 before an incomplete pass on fourth down forced a punt.
Calhoun’s last touchdown came after another fourth down incompletion ended a Cedartown drive at the Jackets’ 37. After a 6-yard run on first down, Williams went 57 yards for a touchdown that made it 31-7 with 7:18 left in the game.
It started like it was going to be an offensive shootout with both teams posting touchdowns right away.
Calhoun improved to 4-1 on the year and will be home to play Hiram Friday night, while Cedartown fell to 3-1 overall and begins its 4-A Region 7 schedule Friday night at Pickens County.