BRAXTON ONCE AGAIN THE OBSTACLE - Calhoun Closes Home Schedule Friday

By Gaylen Duskey

Two years ago all a good Calhoun football team had to do to earn a spot in the Class AA playoffs was to beat Braxton County in the last game of the season.

It didn't happen. Instead Braxton played a solid game and Calhoun played like zombies and it was the Eagles, not the Red Devils going on to the playoffs.

Friday night the Red Devils face something of the same situation - beat Braxton and go to the playoffs. The only difference is the Red Devils also have a game remaining at St. Marys, but a loss to Braxton pretty well ends Calhoun's playoff hopes no matter what happens at St. Marys.

Since the Red Devils dropped to Class A this year the conventional wisdom was that all Calhoun had to do was win the games it should - and it has thus far done that - and pull off an upset somewhere along the way. Braxton is the last chance at that upset.

It will not be easy since Braxton is 7-1 (losing only to Clay County) and ranked 49th by Calhoun is 75th. Braxton is a 6.5-point favorite according to However, Calhoun does have some weapons, or make that one big weapon. That weapon? Justin Price.

Price is third in the state in scoring with 156 points and is coming off a five-touchdown, 250-yard rushing effort in the Red Devils' 48-13 thrashing of Wirt County.

But against Wirt something happened that needed to happen - other offensive players rose to the challenge too, which kept the Tigers from keying on Price. For instance Mike Batten teamed up with Jake Perkins for a 68-yard touchdown pass and Batten rushed for a 35-yard touchdown on his own.

When other components of the offense work - the line also blocked well against Wirt and Paul Goodrich supplied tough inside rushing yards - the Red Devils can be explosive.

Defensively the Red Devils can play like a stonewall against the run, which is good. Unfortunately there are times the Red Devils play like a stonewall against the pass, which is not good. The Red Devils need learn when to play the "stonewall" defense and when not to.

To beat Braxton Calhoun needs to do three things - play good offense, play good defense and eliminate mistakes. But that should be the SOP (standard operating procedure) for all games.

Following Friday's game the Red Devils travel to St. Marys to end the season.