Coming into Friday’s game, Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb said he was unsure of how his team was going to come out against the upset-minded Warriors.
“I didn’t know if we were mentally ready or not,” he said, especially after facing one of the best running backs in the state the week before in Haralson County’s Treylon Sheppard. “But we were and we came out and took care of business and executed on both sides of the ball.”
The Yellow Jackets scored on each of their first four offensive possessions.
After the Calhoun defense forced LFO to punt, Zack Fuller ran it in from 15 yards out to open the scoring just under three minutes into the game.
The Warriors (7-3) were forced to punt on each of their next two possessions after drives stalled and Calhoun (10-0) jumped on each opportunity with a score. Fuller scored again on a 15- yard run with 4: 24 left in the first quarter, followed by David Braden snagging a Gavin Gray ball in the endzone to make the score 21- 0 just over two minutes into the second quarter.
On the next series for LFO, Collin Baggett chased down LFO quarterback Malachi Powell off the end and forced a fumble, which the Jackets recovered. On the third drive of the
ensuing possession, Jonkell Tolbert ran it in from four yards out, giving his team the 28-0 lead.
The fumble troubles continued for LFO on its next drive as pressure on the quarterback put the ball on the turf. The ball was sent rolling backward when an LFO player tried to dive on the ball but missed. Calhoun players scrambled for the ball, with one briefly picking it up before fumbling himself. Finally, Carson Griffin was able to grab it and run it in for the score with 6:41 left in the first half.
The Jackets would go on to score once more before halftime, when Gray hit Brannon Spector on a 25- yard touchdown pass with 15.5 seconds remaining.
The second half saw substitutes get some playing time. Early in the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Jake Morrow threw a 10-yard score to Grant Gilmer to account for the final points of the night.
The Warriors only made it into Calhoun territory a handful of times and were never able to sustain any drives due to costly penalties and a stifling Jacket defensive front.
As a team, LFO was held to just 33 yards rushing and 15 yards through the air. Individual statistics were unavailable as of press time.
Calhoun will host Fannin County ( 4- 6) in the first round of the playoffs, while LFO will entertain North Hall (8-2) in the Warriors’ first home playoff appearance since 2004. Spencer Lahr of the Calhoun Times
contributed to this story.