Blaylock's clutch kick lifts Calhoun past GAC

Blaylock's clutch kick lifts Calhoun past GAC

November 23rd, 2013 By Greg Thompson in Sports - Preps

The star: Tydus Curtis had three long touchdowns for Calhoun.

Up next: Calhoun faces Benedictine in the GHSA Class AA quarterfinals.

CALHOUN, Ga. - Brandon Blaylock used his senior poise and his accurate right leg to make sure the Calhoun football team's incredible six-year home winning streak remained alive.

Blaylock hit a 33-yard field goal with 1:37 left in the Yellow Jackets' second-round GHSA Class AA playoff game to lift Calhoun to a 31-30 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian.

Calhoun (11-1) had to withstand one last furious drive by the Spartans, whose season ended on a 26-yard missed field-attempt with eight seconds left in the game.

GAC (10-2) was the last visiting team to register a victory over the Jackets in Phil Reeve Stadium.

Since that playoff matchup in 2007, Calhoun not only has been unbeaten at home in the regular season and playoffs, but the Jackets have been to five straight Class AA title games, with two state championships to their credit.

Friday's game was the first time Calhoun has beaten GAC. And after a classic playoff contest of big plays and huge momentum swings, it came down to a battle of kickers.

"That was the biggest kick that I have ever made in my life," Blaylock said. "I really didn't think about the pressure. We run these [last-second] drills in practice every Thursday. I just went out there and concentrated on what I needed to do. It was a great feeling to come through for the team."

"This is one of the better games we have ever had at Phil Reeve Stadium," said Calhoun coach Hal Lamb. "We could have laid down after it was 24-7 [in the second quarter], but we kept fighting and fighting, and we found a way to win the football game."

GAC raced out to a 17-0 lead with seconds remaining in the first quarter. Calhoun got on the board with the first of its big plays when Fields Chapman hit Tydus Curtis with 74-yard TD pass that ended the quarter.

Following Micah Abernathy's 66-yard run to put GAC up 24-7, Chapman hit Chandler Curtis with a 30-yard TD pass. Tydus Curtis then added to his highlight reel with a 97-yard interception return with 33 seconds left in the first half, cutting the Spartans' lead to 24-21.

Aside from Blaylock's kick, Tydus Curtis scored one of the night's biggest plays when he took a kickoff back 90 yards for a Calhoun touchdown that gave the Jackets their first lead of the night (28-27) with 2:41 left in the third quarter.

Brandon Holzgrefe gave GAC its final lead on a 26-yard field, his third of the game. But Calhoun, which was outgained by 375 total yards on the night, mounted the game-winning drive after a strong return to the GAC 32.

"To me, the key to the game was that we were able to hold them to field goals instead of touchdowns. Our defense was strong and we were able to make the plays when we needed them," said Coach Lamb, whose team will now face Benedictine in the quarterfinals. "Brandon's been making them all year, and there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to make it. We've got a great holder and great snapper, and Brandon was able to nail it."

Contact Greg Thompson at sports@timesfreepress.com