By Gaylen Duskey |
To quote '60s rock legends Chad and Jeremy: "They say that all good things must end someday ..."
Friday was the day and what ended was Calhoun's 13-year domination of Gilmer County in football.
The Titans, the Red Devils' pinata in the past, scored a 31-18 victory over homestanding Calhoun Friday night.
But the Red Devils helped mightily in their demise as they turned the ball over six times - four fumbles and two pass interceptions - and made costly penalties at the wrong time including one that took a four quarter touchdown off the board and three that kept Gilmer drives alive.
The game started out as many Calhoun-Gilmer games of the past had as the Red Devils took the ball and waltzed down the field with Logan Moore combining with Joseph Richards for a 36-yard touchdown and a 6-0 Red Devil lead.
But then things went awry for the Red Devils.
They stopped Gilmer and seemed ready to grind out a bunch of yards and add six more points. But a fumble at their own five-yard line put the Titans in business.
Granted it did take four plays but Gilmer made the Red Devils pay for that mistake when Austin Cunningham connected with Anthony Dean for a one-yard score.
When Nathan Allison kicked the extra point it put Gilmer in the rare position of leading the Red Devils, 7-6.
And, as it turned out the Titans never would relinquish that lead.
Next came another Calhoun turnover. The Red Devils never punted but with fumbles and interceptions they didn't have to for the Titans to stop them.
This time Gilmer scored quickly when Adam Beall caught a 41-yard pass from Cunningham to put Gilmer up 13-6.
That lead was REAL short lived however as Mason Sheldon took the ensuing kickoff and rambled 94 yards for the score. But a foiled extra point run attempt left the Titans on top at 13-12.
Gilmer moved back to a touchdown lead near the end of the half as Cunningham fired his third touchdown pass - a 36-yarder to Allison.
Calhoun continued to fight back early in the second half and Logan Moore found Ethyn Miller in the back of the end zone for a three-yard score. But once again Calhoun's run attempt failed and Gilmer held on to the slim 19-18 lead.
For a while the ball went back and forth with Calhoun fumbling it to Gilmer and Gilmer punting it right back.
But that folderol ended when a couple of costly penalties on the Red Devils kept a Titan drive alive and Cunningham made them pay again when he hit Allison for a 34-yard touchdown and a 25-18 lead.
Then Calhoun hammered the nails into its own coffin on the next drive.
The Red Devils put together a time-consuming pound-it-out up the middle game that the Titans seemed unable to stop. As a matter of fact the Red Devils punched the ball down the field and sophomore fullback Cole Ritchie ran over the defense for what appeared to be a five-yard touchdown.
Only it wasn't as a penalty against the Red Devils nullified it and killed Calhoun's last chance at pulling the game out.
With fourth-and-long facing Calhoun it went to the air only to have Austin Ratliff step in front of the pass for Gilmer and race 90 yards in the other direction and a 31-18 lead.
After that Calhoun tried again but was intercepted again and Gilmer ran out the clock for the victory.
Calhoun had 311 yards total offense and 19 first downs. But that was more than nullified by six fumbles (four lost), two interceptions and 12 penalties for 113 yards.
Individually for Calhoun Cole Ritchie led the way with 19 carries for 90 yards. Logan Moore added 64 more rushing yards and Kirkland Allen had 31. Mason had 35 receiving yards on three receptions as Logan Moore passed for 126 yards on eight completions in 17 attempts.
Richards caught two for 70 yards and Miller, Nathan Peck, Cole Ritchie and Logan Moore had one reception apiece, with Moore's coming on an option pass from Mason.
For Gilmer Cunningham led the way with a superb passing night hitting on 14 of his passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
Calhoun will try to get its first win next Friday at Seth Sherman while Gilmer will try to go 2-0 when it plays South Harrison.