All week long Ralph Potter talked to his McCallie football team about process rather than outcome.
Friday night, however, the outcome was pretty impressive. McCallie shrugged off an 0-2 season start and put a 43-14 whipping on visiting Tyner, at least temporarily ending any negative vibes the Blue Tornado had been hearing.
"People start to talk when you're 0-2, but we wanted to focus about the things we could control. We can't control who we play," Potter admitted. "We needed to avoid 0-3, and I was very proud of the way the kids performed."
There wasn't a facet of the game McCallie did not control in seeing to it that the Tyner revenge tour was stopped in its tracks. The Rams opened last year with three losses, and after avenging the first two in a 2-0 start this season, they had only the Tornado in the way of completely flipping the table.
Chad Toliver's four TDs and McCallie's suffocating defense proved entirely too much. In fact, the Tornado started the second half with the mercy rule in effect after racing to a 36-0 halftime lead.
"We wanted to get off to a good start and we had a great tempo in practice all week," said Toliver, who scored on runs of 8, 4, 42 and 1 yard. "We were really good on the line of scrimmage, and those guys should get all the credit. We had a great week of practice and it carried over."
Toliver wound up with his third straight 100-yard rushing performance (16-134) and had 195 all-purpose yards.
McCallie was extremely efficient in the first half, scoring touchdowns on its first five possessions and three of those in three plays or less. And as competent as the offense was, the defense might have been even better.
The usually high-powered Rams offense was completely stymied. Tyner was held to 72 rushing yards and was outgained 340-146 in total yards. When McCallie scored on its opening drive of the second half for a 43-0 lead, Potter turned it over to reserves for the rest of the game.
Tyner scored a couple of late TDs in showing some fight, but a key dropped pass just before halftime for a sure score on fourth down was immediately followed by a 55-yard TD pass from McCallie's Nelson Johnston to Eric Wolf, and any hopes of a miracle comeback were dashed. McCallie had allowed over 400 yards of offense per game in the two opening losses, but with linebacker Andrew Busby leading the way, the Rams never found a crease.
"We were pretty good on defense tonight," Potter said. "We focused on trying to get a little bit better, and for the most part I felt like we did that."
McCallie will travel to Father Ryan next week, while Tyner hosts East Ridge.
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