Unbeaten Baylor Snaps Streak Against McCallie

Red Raiders Take Advantage Of Blue Tornado Turnovers To Post 31-27 Comeback

  • Saturday, October 1, 2022
  • John Hunt

Members of the Baylor football team are surely walking around today with a huge load lifted off their shoulders after the Red Raiders came from behind to beat the McCallie Blue Tornado in a 31-27 high-school football thriller, snapping McCallie’s six-game winning streak in this storied rivalry.

What an amazing game it turned out to be in front of a standing-room only capacity crowd at Baylor’s Heywood Stadium and E.B. “Red” Etter Field. Without a doubt, every person in attendance got their money’s worth as players from both teams completely laid it on the line with their best effort.

McCallie posted the better numbers as they had 447 total yards to only 320 for the Red Raiders, but turnovers were huge as McCallie lost a pair of fumbles in the second half that led directly to Baylor’s final two touchdowns as they overcame a 20-10 halftime deficit with some key defensive plays in the final 24 minutes.

Erik Kimrey has no doubt won some big games in his high-school coaching career, but this was his first experience with a Baylor-McCallie game and he was all smiles once the final horn sounded with his team ahead on the scoreboard.

“Today has been a great day for folks at the Baylor School and this was a great win for this football team,” he said amid hugs and handshakes from Baylor boosters of all ages.

“It was ugly at times, but we found a way to win.  Neither team played a clean game with all the penalties and those fumbles they lost in the second were just a tough break for them and great plays for us.

“The good news is that we never panicked when we got behind in the first quarter.  We made some key defensive adjustments and got the big stops when we had to have them.  But we’re just getting started as we want to make our run in November with the playoffs.  This game is just the beginning,” he added.

McCallie coach Ralph Potter didn’t have a whole lot to say when the game ended, but he was direct and to the point in his post-game comments.

“We just made too many mistakes tonight and it cost us a win.  I thought we played our guts out and were right there the whole time.  Baylor never really stopped us, but we did a great job of stopping ourselves.  But we’ll go back to work on Monday to correct the mistakes we made tonight,” he added.

With the stirring comeback, Baylor remains unbeaten after six games and is now 3-0 in D-II-AAA East-Middle region standings.  McCallie is now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in region play.

Senior Tario Price, who led the McCallie running backs with 162 yards on 18 carries, scored two of his three touchdowns on his team’s first two drives of the game as McCallie marched 80 yards in 12 plays for the first score on a four-yard run with 6:12.

The second came on a three-yard run with 2:34 left in the first quarter as Baylor appeared to be a little shocked at what was happening on both sides of the ball as that was the first time all season they had been behind.

But there was a lot of football left and the Red Raiders went to work.

A 34-yard field goal by Cooper Keown put Baylor on the board with 8:49 left in the second stanza before a one-yard run by Caleb Hampton got the Red Raiders within 14-10 with a one-yard plunge at the 2:15 mark of the first half.

McCallie answered in a hurry by driving 83 yards in just five plays with Price scoring his third TD of the game on an 18-yard run.  He had a run of 52 yards on the second play of the drive and would have scored had he not gotten caught from behind by Evan Haynie.

McCallie’s third extra point was blocked, so the difference was 20-10 at the break.

Baylor’s offense was a bit more productive in the second half than the first as quarterback Whit Muschamp completed eight of 14 passes for 146 yards and touchdowns of three yards to Jack Shutters and another covering 65 yards to Amari Jefferson that provided the winning margin with 6:18 left in the game.

But it was the defense that stood the tallest in the second half when they made the two key plays that were ultimately the difference in the game.

The first came on a 35-yard fumble return by Marceo Collins with 11:33 to play that cut McCallie’s lead to 27-24. 

McCallie had a tough time with center snaps and quarterback Jay St. Hilaire played chase and was able to cover most of the bad snaps, but just as he dove on the ground to cover this last one, the ball bounced the other way into Collins hands and he raced untouched into the end zone for the TD as the Baylor students simply went crazy.

And then on McCallie’s next possession with the Blue Tornado still holding onto a three-point lead, junior Ja’Von McMahan took a handoff at the 34 and broke down the left sideline, looking for sure like he would score, but somehow, sophomore Cameron Sparks caught him from behind and punched the ball out of his grasp and through the end zone for another huge turnover.

“I saw how far ahead of me he was and I knew if he scored, we’d be further behind, so I just punched ball out and was lucky that it went out of the end zone.  We had worked on that play all week and I was just thankful I was in position to make the play,” the 16-year-old speedster explained.

Jefferson had two of his game-high five receptions on that drive, including the 65-yarder when he broke free down the left sideline and outraced everyone to the end zone.

There was still plenty of time for a McCallie comeback after Baylor’s last touchdown, but two incomplete passes following a seven-yard loss on another bad snap gave the ball back to Baylor at the Red Raider 49 with 2:57 to play.

Baylor wasn’t able to get a first down as McCallie used its final three timeouts before a Baylor punt was downed at the 11, giving the Blue Tornado one final opportunity with 2:29 to play.

St. Hilaire completed five straight passes as McCallie crossed midfield, but two incomplete throws was the end of the night for McCallie as Anthony Boggs batted down the last one.

All Baylor had to do was snap the ball one time before the post-game celebration began.

While Price was the leading rusher for McCallie, Carson Gentle was the leading receiver with three catches for 50 yards.  Enrique Jaimes LeClair had six for 46 yards while Mathieu Herbert had three catches for an additional 40 yards.

Hampton was Baylor’s leading rusher with 58 yards on 20 carries while Muschamp added 43 yards on seven attempts, many on key plays where was just looking for an opening when he couldn’t find an open receiver.

Jefferson was the leading receiver for Baylor with 136 yards on five grabs while Haynie had 21 yards on two.

McCallie also finished with a 23-16 edge in first downs.

McCALLIE  14  6  7  0  --  27

BAYLOR  0  10  7  14  --  31

McC – Tario Price 4 run (Elliott Arnold kick), 6:12 left in first;

McC – Price 3 run (Arnold kick), 2:34 left in first;

BAY – Cooper Keown 34 field goal, 8:49 left in second;

BAY – Caleb Hampton 1 run (Keown kick), 2:15 left in second;

McC – Price 18 run (kick blocked), 0:40 left in second;

BAY – Jack Shutters 3 pass from Whit Muschamp (Keown kick), 10:14 left in third;

McC – Jay St. Hilaire 2 run (Arnold kick), 3:15 left in third;

BAY – Marceo Collins 35 fumble return (Keown kick), 11:33 left in fourth;

BAY – Amari Jefferson 65 pass from Muschamp (Keown kick), 6:18 left in fourth.

McCALLIE                       TEAM STATS                       BAYLOR

23                                     FIRST DOWNS                        16

42-247                             RUSHES-YARDS                   29-113

200                                  PASSING YARDS                     207

447                                   TOTAL YARDS                        320

20-30-0                   PASSES (COMP-ATT-INT)            13-22-0

12-100                          PENALTIES-YARDS                   8-95

8-2                                  FUMBLES-LOST                       2-0

3-43.0                               PUNTS-AVG.                         5-26.0

INDIVIDUAL STATS:

RUSHING: Tario Price 18 for 162 yards and three TDs; Ja’Von McMahan 7-40 (McCallie); Caleb Hampton 20 for 58 yards and one TD; Whit Muschamp 7 for 43 (Baylor).

RECEIVING: Carson Gentle 3 for 50 yards; Enrique Jaimes LeClair 6-46; Mathieu Herbert 3-40 (McCallie); Amari Jefferson 5 for 136 yards and one TD; Evan Haynie 2-21 (Baylor).

PASSING: Jay St. Hilaire 20 of 30 for 200 yards and no interceptions (McCallie); Whit Muschamp 13 of 22 for 207 yards, two TDs and no interceptions (Baylor).

RECORDS: McCallie 4-2 overall, 1-2 in D-II-AAA Middle-East; Baylor 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Middle-East.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

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