Calhoun graduated nine defensive starters from its 2011 state championship team and a half-dozen of those are now playing college football.
"We have to get better over there, but the offense is going to have to carry them through the growing pains," Yellow Jackets coach Hal Lamb said.
It's hard to imagine a better year for that to happen for Calhoun, which won Georgia's Class 2A state title last year because Lamb knew he could rely on quarterback Taylor Lamb.
It was he for the second consecutive week that carried Calhoun. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another as the Yellow Jackets outscored rival Dalton 56-41 to earn Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.
"We don't run him a whole lot. We don't want to take a chance on getting him hurt but he makes a lot of plays with his feet," Coach Lamb said. "He has great pocket presence. He knows when to pull it down, when to stick it in there and when to throw it away."
Lamb had five carries for 42 yards but scored on two of the rushing attempts. He also completed 23 of 37 passes for 241 yards and a TD countering an interception.
"Sometimes that's the bad thing about being a quarterback," the coach said of the interception that actually bounced off the intended receiver's helmet and into the arms of a waiting Dalton defender. "Taylor would tell you this was not one of his better games. He executed when he needed to. This was an OK game for him, but it was still better than an average high school quarterback performance."
Lamb, who came up with one big play after another in Calhoun's Aug. 31 win over Ridgeland, has committed to South Alabama. He also had offers from Liberty, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Memphis and Indiana.
"South Alabama is a good five hours away but he loved their facilities, the fact that they're a Division I school and that they're close to the beach [Mobile]," the coach said. "South Alabama is a team that's probably going to throw more than run but they will run some with the quarterback."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...