Jackets explode early, coast to victory
The Calhoun Yellow Jackets were relentless and opportunistic in all phases of game against Therrell on Friday, efficiently dispatching the Panthers 52-6 in front of a raucous homeopening crowd at The Reeve.
The contest started with a bang, with elusive wide-receiver Bralin Barton snagging the opening kickoff and slicing through defenders all the way to the opposing 24-yard line for a 61-yard return. The Jackets (2-0) wasted no time getting the ball in the hands of bruising running back Zack Fuller, who bounced it out to the perimeter and coasted in for a 23-yard rushing touchdown less than three minutes into the game.
The Panthers (1-2) placed Calhoun in pristine scoring position by botching a snap on a punt attempt that traveled 27 yards in the wrong direction and ended up being recovered by the punter on the two-yard line. Fuller once again had his number called in the red zone, muscling in the two-yard score for a swift 14-0 advantage.
Due to the starters being subbed out in the first half due to the gap in the score, Fuller only received six total carries. However, he made almost each one impactful, knifing through the right side of the secondary for a 27-yard touchdown before the first period concluded. He finished with 60 yards on the ground.
“Fuller is one of steadiest contributors for us, and he’s the type of guy that doesn’t have a lot of minuses in his game,” Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb said. “He’s a pleasure to coach, and tonight he showed that he’s always a threat to score.”
Also making a splash in the run game after Fuller’s departure was Jerrian Hames, who juked past a defender for an eight-yard score, and Julian Ipac who coasted in for a nine-yard touchdown in the second half.
Barton was far from finished making his presence felt. The agile and explosive senior made an exceptional read on an offering from Therrell quarterback Khamar Carlisle for an interception to flip the field for Calhoun midway through the first quarter, and then added an exclamation point to the period with a 55-yard punt return touchdown to cap off the 35-6 margin.
“Bralin has really come on over the past couple of years, and he’s one of our most electric players,” Lamb said. “He’s an exceptional kickoff and punt returner, and we always want the ball in his hands.”
Calhoun quarterback Gavin Gray was also impressive in limited action, accumulating 70 yards passing in the first quarter. Gray made perhaps his best throw of the night on the team’s third score with a perfectly-timed, 10-yard back- shoulder throw to wide receiver Luke Moseley, who skied for an impressive grab in the back of the end zone with a cornerback draped on him.
While the Jackets’ offense was firing on all cylinders from the first whistle, the defense also put forth a textbook effort, holding the Panthers to less than 100 yards of offense on the evening and generating pressure from all angles. Among other numerous defensive highlights, Aaron Hayes snatched an interception in the second quarter and Joshua Hales completely snuffed out an extra point.
Wide-receiver Jamontae Jean flashed as Therrell’s most dynamic player, breaking through for a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown after the ball deflected off of a fellow player.
The Jackets were also primarily clean in the special teams department, with Eduardo Fajardo converting all of his extra point attempts and easily nailing a 31-yard field goal right after the half.
Calhoun will look to remain undefeated when rival Sonoraville travels across town next Friday for the first Region 6-AAA contest of the season for both teams.
( ABOVE) Calhoun’s Zack Fuller (24) runs behind the block of Elijah Baldridge (65) in the first quarter on Friday. ( BOTTOM) Calhoun’s Bralin Barton (4) breaks away from the Therrell defense on a punt return for a touchdown in the first half.