By Gaylen Duskey|
In a game that lasted more than three hours and featured 24 penalties and 57 passing attempts, Calhoun rode the play of Logan Moore and Mason Sheldon to a 38-30 win over home-standing Gilmer County.
While Moore had three touchdowns and 483 yards total offense it was Sheldon's 64-yard touchdown reception with 8:44 to play that broke a 30-30 tie and carried the Red Devils to the season-opening win. A safety at the 5:20 mark set the final score.
Gilmer County, which has lost 13 straight to the Red Devils, was ahead early in the game and threatened throughout. The Titans played inspired ball under first-year head coach Jason Cunningham, a Calhoun High graduate.
Calhoun jumped out to a 6-0 lead when Sheldon caught a 34-yard pass from Moore midway through the first quarter. The Red Devils missed the extra point conversion, something that would plague them throughout the game as they missed all six extra point attempts.
Gilmer didn't wait long to show its improvement as Austin Ratliff scampered for a 51-yard score on the first offensive play after the kickoff.
Austin Cunningham then hit Nathan Allison with the two-point conversion giving the Titans an 8-6 lead.
Calhoun then showed its power on offense as it drove the field with Moore scoring on a three yard run.
Calhoun stretched the lead shortly after that when Kirkland Allen scooped up a Gilmer fumble and rambled 67 yards for the score making it 18-8.
But Gilmer cut that lead back to two as Allison and Cunningham combined for a six-yard touchdown with Ratliff adding the extra points going into halftime.
Two Moore touchdowns put Calhoun on top by 14, 30-16, in the third quarter only two have Gilmer respond with two Ratliff touchdowns and one two-point conversion to knot things up at 30-30 early in the final period.
But that's when Sheldon's touchdown put the Red Devils on top for good. On the play the 6-2, 246-pound junior tight end caught the ball over the middle and ran through, over and away from the Gilmer defense for the score.
In the win Calhoun made a boat load of miscues including 16 penalties 151 yards including one that erased a 32-yard Moore touchdown run and a series that gave Gilmer County a touchdown that tied the game.
The Red Devils were also plagued by snaps that bounced back to Moore in the run-and-shoot style offense. Fortunately Moore was able to grab most of the errant snaps before the Titans on-rushing defense get to him.
Despite playing matador (dodging the defensive rush) and shortstop (field the bouncing ball) Moore put up some big numbers. He carried the ball 33 times for 223 yards while going 13 of 22 passing for 260 more yards.
His favorite target was Sheldon who had four receptions for 124 yards and touchdowns. Shay Parrish chipped in with 82 yards on two receptions as Allen added 37 on two and Trent Phiilips 24 on three.
Ratliff was the only Gilmer back to finish with positive rushing yardage as he had 72 yards on 10 carries. Allison was the Titans leading receiver with 132 yards on five receptions as Cunningham passed for 204 yards while going 13 for 35.
Calhoun, 1-0, returns to action Friday night at home against Sherman, 0-1, while Gilmer County, 0-1, travels to South Harrison, 0-1.