McCallie Blanks Cleveland 44-0 In Season Opener

Trotter, Craig Spark Blue Tornado On The Ground

Friday, August 22, 2014 - by John Hunt
- photo by Greg Davick

Ralph Potter has probably never been happier to get an ice-water bath following a football win than he was Thursday night at Finley Stadium.

With McCallie hosting Cleveland in the season-opener for both teams, what had been billed as a close game between two pretty good teams turned into a romp as the Blue Tornado put 22 points on the board in both halves en route to a 44-0 victory.

The Blue Tornado took advantage of speed in their running game and the fact that Cleveland's defense is riddled with injuries already, but McCallie appeared to be clicking on all cylinders as they finished with 472 total yards on offense, including 360 on the ground.

And the Blue Tornado defense even got into the act as one interception led to a touchdown early in the third quarter while another pick was returned 24 yards by sophomore Kendall Watson for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.

But this game never was close as McCallie took the opening kickoff and marched 61 yards in four plays, getting first downs on all four including a 24-yard pass from junior quarterback JaVaughn Craig to senior Tyler Payne with just 70 seconds elapsed off the first-quarter clock.

Craig scored on a nifty 85-yard sprint on an option play with 4:40 showing in the first while a tackle by Giovanni Hightower on T.J. Parker for a four-yard loss resulted in a safety and it was 15-0 before the first quarter ended.

Alex Trotter, surely one of the fastest high school football players around, raced 65 yards with 4:19 left in the second as McCallie carried a 22-0 lead into the dressing room at the half.

Cleveland received the second-half kickoff, but an interception by McCallie's Shawn McColley was returned 39 yards to the Cleveland 14 and it was quickly 30-0 after Trotter scored from the 1.

Backup quarterback Robert Riddle scored on a keeper from the 12 with 3:24 left in the third while that interception return by Watson concluded the scoring as the clock ran non-stop in the fourth quarter.

"I didn't flinch a bit," Potter said when asked how that ice water bath felt on a hot and muggy summer evening.

"It's hard not to be pleased, but it's still so early, we'll just take this with a grain of salt.  We made a couple of athletic plays in the first half and we played good defense, but I'm sure there are things we can improve on.

"I'm much more happy than I was here last week, but we got off to a really good start and we felt like that set the tone for the entire game.  Alex had fresh legs, but our offensive line did a nice job up front.  It's a long season, but this is a nice way to get started," he added.

Cleveland coach Ron Crawford certainly didn't like the outcome, but he knows that his team is better than what they showed if they can somehow get past this rash of early-season injuries.

"Success is never final and failure is never fatal," he told his kids following the game.

"We knew our opponent would make life tough, but we wilted in the heat, especially in the second half.  They just wore us down as the game progressed, but we'll go back to the drawing board and we'll learn from this.

"The heat affected us tremendously, but we can't afford to turn the ball over and expect to win.  I thought we battled defensively in the first half, but we were really thin on defenders in the second half and it took a toll," he stated.

Trotter, a member of McCallie's state champion 400-meter relay team, had been hampered by injuries in the pre-season, but he appeared to be feeling good as he finished with 157 yards on 16 carries.  He had touchdown runs of 65 and 1 yard.

Craig only carried the ball twice, but he finished with 93 yards rushing as McCallie piled up 360 yards on the ground.

Payne led the McCallie receivers with 36 yards on three grabs while Myles Patton and Romeo Gibbs both had two for 30 and 13 yards,  respectively.

Parker was the leading rusher for Cleveland as he finished with 16 yards on 11 carries.  McCallie was well prepared for him as he never had a chance to get in the open field.

Jacob Gibson had two receptions for 35 yards while Raekwon Bunion had one for 27.  Romeo Wykle and Jay McIntyre both had one catch each for 13 yards.

Cleveland had its best drive midway through the third quarter when they marched from their own 19 down to the McCallie 3, only to be stopped on fourth-and-goal when Austin Massey's pass was incomplete.

While McCallie finished with 472 total yards, Cleveland finished with 126, including 22 on the ground and 104 through the air.

McCallie will head to Athens next Friday for a game with McMinn County while Cleveland will be at home to host Cookeville.

CLEVELAND   0  0  0  0  --  0

McCALLIE     15  7  22  0  --  44

M -- Tyler Payne 24 pass from JaVaughn Craig (Drew Viscomi kick), 10:50 left in first;

M -- Craig 85 run (kick failed), 4:40 left in first;

M -- Safety when Giovanni Hightower tackled T.J. Parker in end zone, 1:18 left in first;

M -- Alex Trotter 65 run (Viscomi kick), 4:19 left in second;

M -- Trotter 1 run (Payne run), 9:45 left in third;

M -- Robert Riddle 12 run (Viscomi kick), 3:24 left in third;

M -- Kendall Watson 24 interception return (Viscomi kick), 0:00 left in third.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



Chattanooga Rally Falls Short As Mississippi Braves Topple Lookouts Tuesday, 6-5

The Chattanooga Lookouts were defeated by the Mississippi Braves by a score of 6-5 on Tuesday night. For Chattanooga, it was their first loss to the M-Braves this season after sweeping the six game road series in Mississippi(June 28-July 3) and winning the first game of the home series on Monday night.  Atlanta Braves #5 overall prospect,Mike Soraka (11-8, ... (click for more)

John Curtiss, Ex-2017-Lookouts Pitcher, Called Up To Major League Twins

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN  – The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have selected the contract of right-handed pitcher John Curtiss from Triple-A Rochester.  Curtiss, 24, has split the season between the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and Triple-A Rochester Red Wings combining to go 2-0 with 19 saves, a 1.28 ERA (49.1 IP, 7 ER), 22 walks and 68 strikeouts. ... (click for more)

Witnesses Say 69-Year-Old Jogger And Alleged Rapist Were Both Bruised Up After 2014 Encounter

Witnesses said a 69-year-old jogger and his alleged teen attacker were both bruised up during their 2014 encounter in North Chattanooga. Diontae Smartt, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, is standing trial for aggravated rape in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole. He is free on bond. The male jogger took the witness stand at the start of the trial, saying he was attacked ... (click for more)

Mae Beavers Resigns From State Senate To Focus On Governor Race

Tennessee State Senator and conservative Republican candidate for Governor Mae Beavers has announced that she will resign her seat in the legislature effective Friday , Sept. 1,  at noon to focus on her race for governor .   She also disclosed key additions to her gubernatorial campaign team. “It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing that ... (click for more)

Is This Really About Slavery?

The greatest thing that came out of the American Civil War came after the cessation of hostilities. After four years of deadly, devastating, agonizing war and over 600,000 Americans had died, the armies came to a halt. The killing ended, but the suffering continued for many of the wounded and those whose homes and fortunes had gone up in smoke and been left as rubble. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ordinary To Extraordinary

A handsome black guy, from the looks of it still in high school, appeared in a video during the A Celebration of Valor luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center Tuesday afternoon and described a Medal of Honor winner. Easily over 500 were there, including our famed Charles Coolidge, and all heard this young achiever say, “A Medal recipient is an ordinary person who performs ... (click for more)