McCallie Holds Off MBA, 33-15, As McMahan Runs For 180 Yards

Win Sets Up Rematch With Baylor In DII-AAA Title Game

  • Friday, November 17, 2023
  • Mark Wiedmer

Back on September 29, McCallie having just beaten archrival Baylor, the Blue Tornado’s Carson Gentle looked ahead to the TSSAA Division II Class AAA playoffs and said, “I think we’ll see them again.”

Thanks to McCallie defeating visiting MBA 33-15 on Friday night and Baylor topping visiting Knoxville Catholic across town by a 49-35 score, the two old and bitter rivals will meet at Finley Stadium in the Division II Class AAA state title game exactly one day and two months after that 34-31 McCallie win in September.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Blue Tornado coach Ralph Potter, who saw his team spot MBA a 9-7 lead at halftime but pull away late.

“There will certainly be a lot of attention on it. What an opportunity.”

Amazingly, for all their successes through the years, Baylor Red and McCallie Blue have never before played with a state championship on the line, though they’ve combined to take home the last four trophies, what with Baylor being the defending champ and McCallie winning three in a row between 2019 and 2021..

And McCallie might not have gotten to this year’s title game if not for senior running back Ja’Von McMahan, who scored on runs of 74, 47 and 1 yard, finishing the night with 180 rushing yards.

But the biggest of those was on the Blue Tornado’s first drive of the second half, when McMahan broke through the line on a 3rd-and-8 play, broke a couple of tackles and raced 74 yards to the end zone to put McCallie up 13-9 in a game they led from then on.

“Ja’Von breaking that run was awesome,” said Potter.

Added Gentle as he pointed at his classmate, “You’re a freakin’ dog.”

Said McMahan with a smile, “There’s a little joke on the team that after 20 yards I slow down. Not tonight.”

Not on that run, and not on the game-clincher, when McMahan broke toward the right sideline and went 47 yards to put the game out of reach at 26-15 with less than four minutes to play.

And for those who think McCallie might have been looking ahead to its possible rematch with Baylor given its 35-0 win over MBA earlier in the season on the same Pete Potter Field, Ralph Potter said, “Our team was not looking ahead. That’s football. MBA had won five of their last six games. Their quarterback played better. That was a gut check if ever there was a gut check.”

Now it’s the Scenic City’s ultimate dream matchup for all the Division II Class AAA marbles. It’s so big that Ethan Tolar, a 2022 McCallie grad going to school at Missouri, was already searching the web for flight from St. Louis to Chattanooga as the game ended.

“They’re $400 right now,” said Tolar. “I’m hoping to get one for about $250.”

Near Tolar stood two-time prep All-American lacrosse player Zach Chari. Earlier in the day, Chari signed with Georgetown University, the No. 5 lacrosse team in the country. But come Friday night, he caught a touchdown for McCallie’s final touchdown of the game after recording a huge sack on MBA quarterback Hugh Price in the third quarter.

“Zach Chari had a really good game,” said Potter, whose team now stands 11-1.

So someone asked Chari, which sport he liked more _ lacrosse or soccer?

With a big smile, he replied, “After today, I like football more.”







-- 15






-- 33

1st Quarter
MBA 2:54 1Q: Thomas Bauchiero 43 yd (FG) 3-0
2nd Quarter
McC 9:54 2Q: Ja’Von McMahan 1 yd Rush (TD); Elliott Arnold (PAT) 3-7
MBA 2:20 2Q: Liam Hackett 41 yd (FG) 6-7
MBA 0:00 2Q: Liam Hackett 26 yd (FG) 9-7
3rd Quarter
McC 10:08 3Q: Ja’Von McMahan 74 yd Rush (TD); two-point try fails 9-13
McC 4:41 3Q: Keeyshawn Tabuteau 54 yd Pass from Jay St. Hilaire (TD); Elliott Arnold (PAT) 9-20
4th Quarter

MBA 11:07 4Q: Hugh Price 15 pass to Brooklen Davis (TD), two-point try failed 15-20
McC 3:41 4Q: Ja’Von McMahan 47 yd Rush (TD); kick no good 9-26
McC 2:03 4Q: Zach Chari 21 yd Pass from Jay St. Hilaire (TD); Elliott Arnold (PAT) 9-33




First Downs






Passing Yards



Total yards



Passing (Comp-Att-Int)












Individual Leaders

Rushing: Brooklen Davis 20-97; Hugh Price 11-6 (MBA); Ja’Von McMahan 17-160; Jay St. Hilaire 6-12; Keylan Syam 3-16; Keeyshawn Tabuteau 1-8 (MCC).

Passing: Hugh Price 12-24-0 for 163 yards and 1 TD (MBA); Jay St. Hilaire 9-12-0 for 125 yards and 2 TDs (MCC).

Receiving: Oakley McFerrin 6-81; Hutton Durrett 3-38; Blake Ragsdale 1-22; Brooklen Davis 1-15 (MBA); Keyshawn Tabuteau 3-66; Enrique Jaimes Leclair 1-34; Zach Chari 1-21; Carson Gentle 1-7; Ja’Von McMahan 1-1; Ryan Larrabee 1-(-4) (MCC).

Records: MBA 6-7; McCallie 11-1

Next Up: McCallie advances to the BlueCross Bowl DII-AAA Championship against Baylor (10-2)

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