Calhoun tired of losing in finals

Sonny Kennedy

Calhoun High School will have a different look this fall, literally.

In August, the student body will be reporting to class in a brand new school facility that began construction in 2011. The goals of head coach Hal Lamb’s top-ranked football program, however, will look largely the same.

The Yellow Jackets made their fifth straight Class AA title game last season. But an upset loss to Jefferson, 31-14, left them with just one state championship in those five tries, a 2011 win over Buford.

“We’re a little tired of losing in the championship game,” Lamb said. “I know there are a lot of schools that would love to get to the state championship game, but believe me, it’s not fun getting there and losing.

“In the past we’ve talked about getting to the championship game. But now we’re talking about winning it.”

Calhoun rode the arm of quarterback Taylor Lamb, the coach’s nephew, to a perfect record before the title-game loss. Lamb, a prolific passer, has graduated and is moving on to

Appalachian State, so it will be up to Fields Chapman to keep the potent spread offense rolling.

Chapman, (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) had some snaps in spot duty last season, mostly in blowout wins, and was a full-time starter in the defensive secondary.

“He knows what to do with the ball and he’s a good athlete,” Lamb said.

“We feel like it’s just a matter of him getting some experience.”

Overall, the Yellow Jackets return eight starters on offense. Returning at running back is Alex Urbano, who rushed for over 1,300 yards last season and more than 500 in the playoffs. Tydus Curtis is an experienced receiver who will also get some snaps at running back. Calhoun returns an experienced offensive line anchored by center Katrova Dew. However, the Yellow Jackets lose wide receiver Josh Barnes, who caught 94 passes for 1,056 yards and is bound for Air Force.

Both sides of the ball will get a boost with the return of CB/WR Andrew Haynes, a two-way starter before he broke his leg early last season. The defense returns five or six starters including NG Dustyn Harris, with graduation losses of DE Sebastian Willer (Georgia State), CB Donnell Anthony (Shorter) and FS Carter Edwards (Berry). Brandon Blaylock, the team’s place kicker last season, may handle all three kicking duties this fall. According to Lamb, there is a strong 10th-grade class that may help provide depth across the board.

There will be a familiar face at defensive coordinator as George Hoblitzell, previously a defensive assistant at Calhoun and a successful head coach in Alabama and Georgia, comes over from the staff at Rome. Terry Morrow from Cedartown was also added as a defensive assistant.

Lamb isn’t a big believer in offseason traveling or multiple 7-on-7 tournaments, preferring instead to let his many multi-sport athletes focus on their other endeavors, but the team will make a trip to the University of West Georgia for a mid-July camp. The players will also benefit from the new construction with a 5,000 square foot weight room.

Heading into the summer, Lamb likes his team’s focus and experience and says he doesn’t have to drum up any extra motivation for his players to reach that elusive goal of hoisting the state trophy.

“We have a really good senior class, kind of comparable to the class we had the year we won it. We have some great leaders in this class and they’ve done a tremendous job leading. I really don’t have to say a whole lot to them.”

As a program that is undefeated in region play since 2001, Calhoun gets some of its biggest challenges from Lamb’s non-region scheduling. Just like last year, Calhoun opens up this fall with Class AAAA powers Ridgeland, Dalton and Carrollton. All three were playoff teams in 2012 as well as Yellow Jacket victims; Ridgeland didn’t lose again until the state title game. Lamb cites the away game against a “loaded” Carrollton as perhaps the toughest test of the three.


Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply