Jackets welcome Therrell to The Reeve
Calhoun looks to keep early momentum rolling at home
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.
Calhoun wins, 34-17.
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.