Jackets roll over LFO to secure 14th straight region title in 2014
FORT OGLETHORPE — In high school sports, sustained success is hard to come by. With players coming and going and the way talent runs in cycles, it’s hard to be consistently dominant.
But the Calhoun Yellow Jackets have figured out the formula. A streak that started in 2001 continued for another year on Friday night as the Jackets defeated LFO, 59-0, to clinch their 14th straight region title and claim the No. 1 seed out of 6-AAA for the Class AAA State Playoffs.
Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said it says a lot about the program to continue the run of region titles for another year.
“I told the kids after the game that they should never take this for granted because winning region titles is something special that should never be taken for granted,” said Lamb. “We’ve got such a great community, school system and administration along with some very special kids and a special coaching staff.”
On a cold, rainy, windy night on the road, the Jackets (9-0, 7-0) came out and took control early to take those factors out of the mix. Calhoun scored on every drive of the first half, rolling up 20 points in the first quarter and 20 in the second to take 40-0 halftime lead.
Scoring in the first quarter was Calhoun quarterback Kaelan Riley on a five-yard run and Baylon Spector on a 15-yard pass from Riley. Riley had a big night, running for 84 yards on six carries and throwing for 135 yards on 8-of-10 passing with three TDs in just one half of play. (The starters didn’t play after the half with a big lead and running clock.)
The other first-quarter touchdown came on a blocked punt that Landon Rice knocked down and Thomas Lester scooped it and scored from 12 yards away. Rice later partially blocked another punt.
The second quarter was much of the same with Riley throwing TD passes to Chazz Moss from 21 yards out and Spector from 19 yards out. Cole Jackson also had a twoyard touchdown run.
The Jackets defense held LFO (3-7, 3-5) to 57 yards in the first half and just 71 yards for the game. Calhoun also had two fumble recoveries in the contest.
LFO’s leading rusher was Shamar Catoe with 43 yards on nine carries.
Lamb said he thought his players stepped up and played well despite some tough weather conditions.
“We couldn’t really throw the ball the way we wanted to early on because of the wind and rain, but I think our kids handled the weather well,” said Lamb. “They took care of business, and you could tell even in these conditions that the kids were really fired up to play with a region championship on the line.”
The second half was much of the same as the Jackets got in their younger players for valuable experience. The three touchdowns in the half came on a four-yard TD run by Jordan Towe, a one-yard plunge by Jess Ralston and an eightyard scamper by Gauge Giddens. Towe finished with 57 yards on four carries as he was the third leading rusher behind Riley and Olico Dennis (61 yards on three carries). Giddens finished with 43 yards on the ground.
The Jackets wrap up the regular season next Friday on the road at Coahulla Creek; the loss wrapped up the season for LFO.
“We want to go up to Coahulla Creek, play well and end the season on a positive note going into the playoffs,” added Lamb.