CALHOUN, Ga. -- The film room was no place for the weary this week at Calhoun, where the footage on the screen resembled something better suited for Halloween.
The Yellow Jackets saw enough of Class AA playoff second-round opponent Brooks County to be more than a little uneasy. Thus spooked, the Jackets responded as they usually do. Calhoun used 220 yards and three touchdown passes from Taylor Lamb to build a 37-0 lead, then held on for a 44-30 win Friday at Phil Reeve Stadium.
Calhoun (12-0) will play Dublin in next week's quarterfinals, with the host team decided by a coin flip this morning.
"We were worried to death about this football team, because on film they look really, really good," Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said. "I hate it the score got the way it did, but my biggest fear was that we would get more people hurt, so we got our starters out, probably too early, but it's about advancing, not what the score is.
"Our kids amazed me because they were so ready to play. We hadn't seen a defense like that, but I thought our offense handled them pretty well."
Two first-half turnovers led to 10 Calhoun points, the first a 27-yard Adam Griffith field goal barely two minutes into the game. A three-and-out forced by a tenacious Jackets defense led to a seven-play. 69-yard drive late in the first period, capped by Tydus Curtis' 8-yard reverse for a 10-0 lead.
The game's early key play came on the next drive as elusive Brooks quarterback Malcolm Parrish, who ended the night with 437 yards passing and four touchdowns, hit a streaking Kenshawn Roberson down the left sideline, but just as he hit the 8-yard line, Calhoun's Clay Johnson stripped him, with Hunter Knight recovering and returning to the 29.
One possession later Donnell Anthony intercepted Parrish, one of his four picks, at the Brooks 37, and two plays later Lamb connected with Chase Rierson on a 39-yard scoring pass and a 17-0 lead that stood up at halftime.
With the Brooks defense stuffing Calhoun's run game, Lamb and crew went to the air in the second half. He connected on five consecutive passes in the team's hurry-up offense, accounting for 60 yards in an 80-yard drive that was capped by another Lamb-to-Rierson pass, this one from 17 yards out.
"I was told to just throw it up and let him catch it because he's so big," quarterback Lamb said of the 6-foot-3 Rierson. ""we were scared of their defense, no lie. Coach said all we had to win one-on-one battles and we did. They're pretty athletic up front and they put a lot of people in the box, so we had to pass it."
After another Johnson interception of Parrish led to a quick 8-yard Lamb to cousin Ben Lamb score and a 37-0 lead, Coach Lamb emptied his bench, leading to a barrage of points from Parrish and his bevy of fast receivers.
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 ...