defense has got to find five big stops and we found it. That’s a very talented team, and to put our defense in the position the way they did and us come up was huge. They always say defenses win state championships, and that’s what this is — championship defense.”
After the turnover, Rockmart looked to have the win sealed up, but when Callaway’s Jalin Shephard intercepted quarterback Dylan Bailey, it gave the Cavaliers (11-3) one last shot at the win. It also gave the Jackets’ defense another chance to shine.
After a 15-yard pass brought the Cavaliers to the Jackets’ 16-yard line, Rockmart senior defensive back Logan Burge saved the win for the Jackets with an interception, shutting down Callaway for good.
“This is a special bunch,” Parson said. “It’s not going to sink in until after the season. We’re going to enjoy this ride, and we’ve got to prepare to win a state championship.”
The Yellow Jackets took a 14-10 lead into halftime, with both touchdowns by Smith, who scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards. The senior running back finished with 91 yards on 16 carries. Zabrion Whatley finished with 67 yards on eight carries.
Bailey finished with 40 yards through the air, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to Reed Couch that put the Jackets up 21-17 in the third quarter.
Cartavious Bigsby led the ground game for the Cavaliers with 197 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Most of Bigsby’s yards came from a 64-yard touchdown run and a 69-yard run.
Top: Tyler Abrams got a big pick on defense that helped bring Callaway’s chances at coming back for a win to an end last week. Above: Rockmart’s Reed Couch (47) stretches into the end zone for a touchdown during Friday’s 28-22 win against Callaway in the Class AA state semifinals at Rockmart.