McCallie junior linebacker John David Tessman said Blue Tornado coach Ralph Potter had a simple message for his team heading into Friday night's game against California-based Stellar Prep.
"The whole message was staying focused," Tessman said. "Don't let last week's win (over TSSAA Division II-AAA rival Brentwood Academy) affect this week. We needed to show maturity after that win."
Given that McCallie won 57-0 over the Thunder, Potter's message obviously got through, certainly to Tessman, who recorded a safety and recovered a fumble.
"It's a good bunch of boys," Potter said after watching the Blue Tornado improve to 4-0 for the season. "Good senior leadership. Just trying to get better every week."
They were almost perfect from start to finish against Stellar, a small all-boys school from Hayward, California.
McCallie's first score came less than two minutes into the opening period when B.J. Harris scored the first of his three first-half touchdowns from 6 yards out.
By the end of the opening half, Harris had tacked on a 54-yard reception for a touchdown from quarterback DeAngelo Hardy and an 87-yard scoring run.
But he wasn't the only offense, thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hardy to Thompson Byrd, a 1-yard run from Gavin Cagle and a 1-yard run from backup quarterback Austin Breedlov.
Throw in Tessman's safety and five extra points from kicker Andrew Prescott and you had McCallie 43, Stellar Prep 0 at intermission.
Then, with the clock allowed to run throughout the second half due to the mercy rule (35-point lead), the Tornado tacked on two more scores despite a driving rainstorm soaking Pete Potter Field throughout the final half.
Daniel Alcala returned a Stellar fumble for a 27-yard score late in the third period with Jack Conklin booting the extra point. Then Wallace Gibson found the end zone from a yard out three minutes into the final period.
"We gave them Monday off this past week," said Potter, knowing that McCallie hosts Knoxville Catholic next Friday, travels to West Forsyth on Sept. 27, then visits archrival Baylor on Oct. 4.
"We've got a really tough stretch of games coming up."