Calhoun's Tristan Fuller tries to tackle Washington-Wilkes' Jalen Turner (4) during the Class AA second-round playoff game, held in Phil Reeves Stadium at Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Ga., Friday night.
CALHOUN, Tenn. — Calhoun's defense allowed 275 passing yards and 16 first downs Friday night — and looked great doing it.
Washington-Wilkes quarterback Buck Robinson was 24-of-37 through the air, but the Yellow Jackets intercepted him four times and sacked him six times, and they'll be moving on in the GHSA Class AA football state playoffs after defeating the Tigers 34-7 in a second-round game.
Defending champion Calhoun (12-0) will play Brooks in the quarterfinal round. A coin flip today will determine where the game will be played.
The Jackets' defense also stuffed Washington-Wilkes' running game. The visitors' leading rusher was Jaquavious Blackburn with 28 yards on 12 rushes.
"I thought we had a tremendous performance defensively," Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said. "To hold that team to seven points is something. They were averaging about 45 points a game and scored 66 last weekend."
Lamb was less enamored with his offense's performance, although it churned out 17 first downs. Quarterback Taylor Lamb apparently had a tough outing by his standards yet was 15-of-24 passing for 200 yards, but he was intercepted twice.
Stepping in to spark the offense was running back Alex Urbano, who totaled 141 yards on 22 carries.
"They were putting five in the box, so we were just going to gash them," Urbano said. "The offensive line was opening some good holes. I just hit them."
The Yellow Jackets' first touchdown came late in the first quarter when quarterback Lamb rolled right on third-and-goal at the 9 and hit Carter Edwards in the right corner of the end zone. The first of Jonah Gallman's four extra-point kicks made it 7-0.
Calhoun's next two touchdowns came within a 26-second span, starting with Urbano powering in from the 2 with 8:36 to go until halftime. That ended a 92-yard march in which the first of the Jackets' 10 plays was a 52-yard bomb down the middle to Tydus Curtis, who led nine Calhoun receivers with 119 yards on four catches.
After Urbano's TD, Donnell Anthony made the first of his two interceptions off Robinson. It came on the first play after the kickoff.
On the next play, Taylor Lamb hit Curtis with a long pass along the Tigers' sideline. Curtis sidestepped a would-be tackler around the 15 and took it in for a 61-yard touchdown.
Washington-Wilkes (10-2) finally strung together some offense on its last possession of the half. Robinson hit Jalen Turner for a 22-yard gain after he had just connected with Mark White for 30 yards, the Tigers had first-and-goal at the 1.
After Robinson was denied on a sneak, Washington-Wilkes called its last timeout of the half with 13.6 seconds remaining. Then in a risky move, the Tigers tried sneaking with Robinson again, but he was stopped again and time ran out.
"They came down and had a chance to score and we stopped them," Coach Lamb said. "That probably did take a little air out of them. They could've had some momentum going into halftime."
Urbano added a 4-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Robinson threw 16 yards to White for the Tigers' TD with 7:44 to play.
Calhoun put the game away with 3:01 left. With fourth-and-2 at the 4, it looked as though the Jackets were going to run the same play on which Urbano scored in the second quarter, but Taylor Lamb faked to him and connected with Sebastian Willer in the back of the end zone.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.