CALHOUN, Ga. -- Sometime today in the big conference room in the Calhoun High School football fieldhouse, coaches will sit down and watch video they're all too familiar with.
Consider it Calhoun's version of "Groundhog Day." Friday night's overwhelming state-semifinal win over Appling County had been over barely five minutes when coaches, players and fans had one thing on their minds: Buford High.
More specifically, how to end a three-year run of losing to the powerful Wolves in the Class AA championship game.
The Yellow Jackets (14-0) get another -- and possibly final -- shot at their nemeses Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the Georgia Dome. Buford, also 14-0 and ranked in several national prep polls, is headed for Class AAA next season and wants to leave in style with what many longtime fans say is the program's best team.
Among Buford's impressive wins are a 41-0 defeat of Class AAA semifinalist Gainesville, a 49-7 rout of Florida power Yulee and two victories over Columbus Carver, including Friday's 28-13 semifinal win.
Calhoun coach Hal Lamb knows only that his team won't back down after losing by three points against the Wolves two years ago and in overtime last season.
"We're going to hit the practice field hard this week and try and win a state championship," Lamb said following the 51-14 win Friday. "Hopefully this will be the year, and it kind of feels right that it's against Buford. They're a great team and a great program, but so are we."
If three consecutive title-game losses to the same team have set up a mental block among Calhoun's seniors, it wasn't evident Friday night. A group that has won an incredible 55 games in four seasons relishes one final chance at redemption.
"I really feel we've got them this time," senior linebacker Gabe Freeman said. "This team right here plays so well together, and we have a brotherhood. I know we're going to give them one heck of a game, and I just feel this is our year."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...