Jack­ets wel­come Ther­rell to The Reeve

Cal­houn looks to keep early mo­men­tum rolling at home

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Tyler Ser­ritt

After storm­ing past Ridge­land 45-21 in the reg­u­lar sea­son opener, the Cal­houn Yel­low Jack­ets will strap on the gold domes and take to the Phil Reeve Sta­dium turf for the first time this sea­son for an­other non-re­gion test against the Ther­rell Pan­thers on Fri­day at 7:30 p.m.

The Jack­ets (1-0) will be look­ing to keep the mo­men­tum rolling after a com­mand­ing Corky Kell Clas­sic per­for­mance in which the team flexed pro­fi­ciency in all phases of the game against Ridge­land, par­tic­u­larly in a dom­i­nant third quar­ter in which Cal­houn out­paced the Pan­thers 31-0.

Even though there were a plethora of pos­i­tive take­aways stem­ming from the team’s first con­test, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back Gavin Gray pass­ing for 376 yards and two scores, run­ning back Zack Fuller rum­bling for 62 yards and a pair of touch­downs and the de­fen­sive per­son­nel gen­er­at­ing five turnovers, head coach Hal Lamb noted that there was still plenty of room for his team to grow head­ing into the re­main­ing reg­u­lar-sea­son slate.

“I re­ally liked the poise, char­ac­ter and con­fi­dence they showed after half­time to bounce back in that game,” Lamb said. “So I do think there was a lot that night that we can build off of go­ing for­ward.

“How­ever, there is still a lot for us to work on, and it’s ob­vi­ous that we aren’t where we need to be yet across the board. Of­fen­sively, we have to clean up a lot of men­tal er­rors and de­fen­sively we have to work on missed tack­les. But it was the first game of course, so we just have to stay pa­tient and keep im­prov­ing day-in and day-out.”

The Jack­ets had a cou­ple weeks off thanks to be­ing idle last Fri­day to pre­pare for Ther­rell, which is a tal­ented Re­gion 6-AA team that has had a bit of a mixed start to its sea­son. The Pan­thers lost its first game to Jack­son 31-0 be­fore turn­ing things around and pulling out a 38-34 win over Os­borne last Fri­day. Ac­cord­ing to Lamb, the ath­leti­cism and play­mak­ing prow­ess of Ther­rell will present a unique chal­lenge for his squad.

“They are very fast and ath­letic team,” Lamb said. “They have a re­ally tal­ented group of skill play­ers, es­pe­cially their top re­ceiver. They also have a re­ally solid quar­ter­back that is tough to bring down. They are a quick team on both sides of the ball, and we are go­ing to have to fin­ish tack­les to con­tain them and keep them off the score­board.”

In or­der to out­pace the Pan­thers, Cal­houn will need a sim­i­larly pro­lific of­fen­sive per­for­mance. Lamb also added that, in ad­di­tion to be­ing able to move the chains, the key to a Jack­ets vic­tory is to re­main fo­cused and dis­ci­plined to counter the agility and abil­ity of the Pan­thers.

“To de­feat a team like this, we are go­ing to have to be sound in ev­ery­thing that we do, that in­cludes not turn­ing the ball over on of­fense and not miss­ing tack­les on de­fense,” Lamb said. “They have a team with a lot of play­mak­ers, so it’ll be a good test for us.”

The speed and play­mak­ing abil­ity of Ther­rell should keep this one close early, but I ex­pect Cal­houn’s depth, speed and vet­eran lead­er­ship at cru­cial po­si­tions will al­low the Jack­ets to pull away in the sec­ond half and put on a show for a rau­cous crowd in the Jack­ets’ home opener at The Reeve.

Score: Pre­dic­tion:

Cal­houn wins, 34-17.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn TImes

Cal­houn’s Bralin Bar­ton (4) catches a pass be­hind Ridge­land de­fender Ryan Frost dur­ing his team’s open­ing win at the Corky Kell Clas­sic. The Jack­ets will play their first home game of the sea­son on Fri­day.

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