Not many people saw Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby and the Callaway Cavaliers dominating the Hapeville Charter Hornets, who were number one in Class AA, Friday evening in their 31-13 win.
Both teams came into the second round as the number one and two teams in Class AA and the Hornets looked to defend their crown as the defending AA state champions . Meanwhile, the Cavaliers were seeking an upset victory to stay on track for a chance at their first state title.
Early on in this game, things went the Cavaliers way as they forced the Hornets to go three and out. Their offensive line was critical helping Bigsby and quarterback Demetrius Coleman move the ball on their first offensive possession of the game. This led to a three yard rushing touchdown by Bigsby to give the Cavaliers a seven point lead with less than eight minutes to go in the first quarter.
Frustration started to build early for the Hornets as their offense went three and out for their second straight offensive possession. A stop by the Hornets defense was needed as the Cavaliers looked to build off of their previous possession to extend their lead.
The Hornets defense rose up to the occasion forcing a three and out and giving their explosive punt returner, Malik Fleming a chance to set up the Hornets offense with great field position.
Instead of gaining great field position, Fleming took the punt 53 yards to tie the game at seven with less than three minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Hornets fans were loud and knew it was the Hornets time to breakaway in this game. Bigsby and the Cavaliers had something to say about that though.
As the first quarter ended, the Bigsby got loose for a long run into the Hornets 30 giving the Cavaliers great field position going into the second quarter.
Bigsby got stronger as the drive kept going capping off an 80 yard drive with a 16 yard rushing touchdown to lead by seven.
The Hornets offense seemed to have no answer for the Cavaliers defense as they went three and on their ensuing drive. Again, frustration was live and apparent on the Hornets sidelines as coaches were challenging players and players challenged their teammates.
Another stop was needed from the Hornets defense as the Cavaliers were in control of the game. The defense was held strong and gave the ball back to their offense for another chance to tie the game.
It seemed to not be the Hornets night as they were unable to move downfield and had to punt again.
This time the Cavaliers took advantage of their offensive possession moving downfield into scoring position before the end of the second quarter. This time, Hunter Williamson’s 33 yard field goal as time expired gave the Cavaliers a 10 point lead heading into halftime.
Hornets fans were shocked as they have not been down to a team this season since their 23-14 loss to the Allatoona Buccaneers in early October. Adjustments needed to be made if the Hornets wanted to get back in this game and it had to start on the defensive end.
It was up to the defense to get a crucial stop as the Hornets kicked off the start the second half.
All the Cavaliers needed was one play as Bigsby broke loose for a 80 yard rushing touchdown to increase their lead to 17.
Pressure and adversity was at its peak for the Hornets as the offense needed to answer on their ensuing drive to keep the game from getting out of control. Instead, the Cavaliers defense forced a fumble on the Hornets first offensive play to take over inside the Hornets 20.
All seemed to be lost for the Hornets but if the defense forced a three and out or a field goal, it could make the game manageable for the Hornets. Unfortunately, Bigsby was too much as he ran 24 yards up the middle to make the score 31-7.
The body language of the Hornets team was defeated and negative as it appeared their hopes of getting back into the game was far from possible.
Jeremy Stephens was not ready to quit though, as he lead the Hornets 80 yards finishing the drive with a two yard rushing touchdown to cut the Cavaliers lead to 18 with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers running game killed the clock before going three and out with less than ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Stephens was determined to lead the offense downfield again and put up some points for a chance at a late but almost impossible comeback. Stephens and the offense went to the Cavaliers seven before ultimately turning over on downs.
In the end, the Bigsby and the Cavaliers running game was too much for the Hornets as the Cavaliers completed their 31-13 dominance over the Hornets.
“I’ll say preparation. We worked hard and prepared for this game as any game I have been apart of,” said Coach Pete Wiggins when asked about his success to victory in the game.
“Tank [Bigsby] had a big night but he would be the first to give credit to the offensive line. I felt like our offensive line did a great job giving Tank [Bigsby] and Qua [Hines] running lanes all night,” when asked about Bigsby’s play.
Bigsby finished with more than 300 rushing yards and scored all of the Cavaliers touchdowns. The Cavaliers will face the Washington County Golden Hawks at home Friday November, 23, 2018.