Calhoun football Coach Clay Stephenson told his players after a 38-22 loss to the McCallie School that they had nothing to hang their heads about and that following a film session on Monday, they’ll move on to the next game.
“This is a huge learning experience,” Stephenson said. “It’s like I told you all week, win, lose or draw, we have to move onto the next week.”
The match-up against the Blue Tornadoes at Finely Stadium was booked just one week prior to kickoff, so the teams had little time to prep for an unfamiliar opponent. Stephenson said this early in the season the goal is to focus on your own team, and his team made too many mistakes on Friday.
Among those were four interceptions and two lost fumbles, while McCallie didn’t commit a single turnover. The Calhoun coach credited the other team, saying they executed their ball control style of play perfectly.
“Give the credit to them. We didn’t just hand it to them,” said Stephenson.
The game was a defensive battle most of the first half, save for a few big scoring plays sprinkled in, and Calhoun led 14-13 at the half. The first score of the night came about midway through the first quarter when Calhoun QB Christian Lewis, from his own end zone, dropped a long pass over the shoulder of WR Cole Speer, who outran defenders for a 99-yard touchdown.
Calhoun got the ball back after their defense forced a quick three-and-out, but then Lewis threw an interception that put McCallie on the Calhoun 19 yard line. The Blue Tornadoes scored three plays later and converted the extra point to knot the game at 7-7.
The Yellow Jackets answered back on their next possession though, with William Seamons taking a screen pass 51 yards for the score just two plays into the second quarter, giving Calhoun the 14-7 lead after the extra point.
A couple of possessions later another Lewis interception put McCallie on the Calhoun 39 yard line, and while the Jackets forced a fourth down, the Blue Tornadoes were able to convert it, with QB William Riddle tossing a 17-yard touchdown on a fourth and five. The extra point was no good, setting the 14-13 score that would hold until the third quarter.
The teams traded scores in the third, with Riddle throwing a touchdown pass to Eric Rivers on a fourth and four (two point try was no good) to give McCallie the lead before Calhoun responded with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Spear on the first play of their third possession in the second half. Calhoun converted their two-point try, making the score 22-19 in favor of the Jackets with two minutes left in the third.
McCallie, however, would go on to score three touchdowns on three consecutive offense plays after a pair of Calhoun turnovers set up the Blue Tornadoes in great field position.
McCallie’s Harris got the first score, with a three-yard touchdown run. Calhoun would then fumble on the first play of their next possession, giving McCallie the ball on the Calhoun 17 yard line. Harris then broke off a 17-yard TD run on their first play. Another Calhoun interception ended their next possession and put McCallie on the Calhoun 31 yard line. Riddle then tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Rivers on the first play of the possession.
The three scores, along with one extra point and two failed conversions, set the final score at 38-22 with about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game ended with McCallie taking a knee on Calhoun’s 4-yard line.
The Yellow Jackets travel to Cedartown next Friday to take on the Bulldogs.