CALHOUN, Ga. - In a game that featured 81 points and 1,057 yards of total offense, it was the Calhoun special teams that made the difference.
The Class AA top-ranked Yellow Jackets recovered two onside kicks and forced a late fumble on another kickoff in a wild 46-35 win over AAAA's third-ranked Carrollton. Calhoun, which trailed by nine points early in the fourth quarter, scored 27 points in the final 12 minutes.
Senior quarterback Taylor Lamb overcame a persistent Carrollton rush for his most prolific game with 462 passing yards and four touchdowns and also ran for two scores.
Josh Barnes caught 18 of Lamb's passes for 200 yards, with Tydus Curtis catching five for 93 yards and two scores and Brett Moss adding touchdown catches of 22 and 19 yards.
"That was one of the best games I've been a part of," a winded Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said afterward. "I was proud of the defense for hanging in there, even though we gave up 35 points, and our offense really took over in the fourth quarter. We were clicking in the fourth quarter and made the big plays when we had to.
"Taylor played really well in the second half. We're getting better, and I never dreamed of being 3-0 with the three teams we played. This one will be remembered around here for a long time."
Calhoun won despite the efforts of Carrollton junior running back Trey Chivers, who ran for 277 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 96 yards and another score. It was mainly due to Chivers' unstoppable combination of speed and balance that Coach Lamb decided to gamble while trailing by two points with 7:08 to play.
The Yellow Jackets, who began the game with a successful onside kick, had just narrowed their deficit on a Taylor Lamb 1-yard sneak when kicker Jonah Gallman executed another one, with Calhoun recovering on its own 46. Taylor Lamb went right to work, completing five consecutive passes, the last one 19 yards to Brett Moss and the go-ahead score with 5:51 to play.
The lead was short-lived when, on third-and-3, Chivers took a direct snap and broke off left guard for a 64-yard touchdown and a 35-32 Carrollton lead with still 4:50 to play.
Lamb drove the Jackets right back down the field, hitting Barnes for 25 yards to the 2 and sneaking from a yard out two plays later for a 39-35 lead. Coach Lamb elected for a sky kickoff and, with defenders bearing down, Chivers muffed the kick, with Calhoun recovering at the 16. Five plays later Alex Urbano scored from 5 yards out to ice the game with just over a minute left.
Carrollton's Chivers added scoring runs of 28 and 16 yards and ended the first-half scoring with an 80-yard touchdown pass on a screen play.