CALHOUN, Ga. — Taylor Lamb had been in tougher situations, so when handed the ball with 58 seconds left in regulation in a tied game Friday night against Ridgeland, the Calhoun senior quarterback never flinched.
Lamb led a 68-yard drive that ate up 54 of those seconds, completing all six of his passes, the final one landing in the waiting hands of "secret weapon" Sebastian Willer for the game-winning score in a wild 42-35 shootout at Phil Reeve Stadium.
The University of South Alabama-bound quarterback was 27-for-42 passing for 280 yards and two scores.
"We knew we could move the ball on them," a relaxed Lamb said after the game. "They were playing a base 4-3 [defense], and we had guys open all night. It's a great win and Ridgeland is a great team."
The Panthers, down eight with 4:57 remaining, drove 75 yards in four minutes, with star Vonn Bell scoring on a 24-yard run around left end. Darrell Bridges tied the game on a two-point conversion run in which he was hit in the backfield but drove three defenders into the end zone.
"You guys could have laid down after they tied the game, but you didn't," Calhoun coach Hal Lamb praised his team afterward. "You grew up tonight! This game will help us tremendously when the playoffs get here."
The game was back and forth from the opening series when Ridgeland took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in seven plays, with Bell accounting for 58 of the yards, including the final 24 for the score. Calhoun answered quickly, with Lamb completing five of six passes and junior running back Alex Urbano getting the first of his three touchdown runs, this one from a yard out.
The Yellow Jackets took advantage of a short field to take the lead later in the first quarter, with Lamb hitting Brett Moss for a 21-yard score. The teams traded touchdowns, with Ridgeland getting a 73-yard touchdown run from Shaqualm McCoy late in the third quarter, but the PAT was wide left and the Jackets held a 28-27 lead.
The Calhoun ground game then took over, with Urbano and fellow junior Tydus Curtis gashing the Panthers, with Curtis turning in a 21-yard touchdown run in which he broke three tackles for an eight-point lead the Panthers would soon erase to set up the winning Jackets drive.
Bell had 90 yards on eight carries, with Bridges doing most of the damage for Ridgeland with 123 yards. Taylor Lamb connected with eight receivers, with Josh Barnes leading the way with eight catches for 94 yards.
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 ...