Clay Stephenson is three games into his coaching career at Calhoun, and, well, so far, so good.
Calhoun is unbeaten. After opening region play last weekend with a 17-7 victory against Sonoraville, Stephenson and his wife welcomed a new baby into the world Sunday. The No. 3-ranked Jackets are the only team in top-3 to remain flawless after Peach County lost to Class AAAAAA Houston County on Friday. No. 2 Cedar Grove lost to McEachern last weekend and has two losses this season -- the first coming to Central-Phenix, Ala., 24-20, in Week 2.
The words "region" and "Calhoun" go together as well as "foot" and "ball." Under former coach Hal Lamb, Calhoun has won region titles every year since 2001. That's 18 in a row, if you're counting. So Calhoun still carries on, playing silently, flawlessly, with a new coach and the same system. Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
So what's the formula? Let's look at the stats behind the Yellow Jackets:
-- Calhoun hasn't necessarily blown away the competition, but it has defeated Ridgeland 38-8, Therrell 30-0 and Sonoraville. But the Yellow Jackets haven't struggled, either.
-- The offense has 383 total passing yards with an average of 127.67 per game. It has rushed for 705 yards, averaging 235. The Yellow Jackets have run the ball 109 times for an average of 6.47 yards per run. Calhoun has scored seven rushing touchdowns and four passing touchdowns.
-- Quarterback Jake Morrow, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, is 35-of-59 passing for 355 yards and three touchdowns with 24 carries for 115 yards and one rushing touchdown. Jake Prather, a 6-4, 190-pound senior quarterback, has passed once for a 28-yard touchdown.
-- Running back Jerrian Hames, a 5-10, 170-pound junior, leads the rushing attracl with 60 carries for 471 yards and five touchdowns. Christopher Lewis, a 5-9, 180-pound sophomore back, has five carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.
-- Receiver Clayton Long, a 6-1, 160-pound junior, leads the team with nine catches for 95 yards. Ethan Crump, a 5-11, 165-pound senior, has five catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Grant Gilmer, a 6-foot, 182-pound senior, has seven catches for 69 yards and one touchdown.
-- The adage that "defense wins games'" still holds true. Calhoun has allowed 15 points and given up 280 rushing yards on 76 attempts for an average of 3.7 yards per run. Opposing teams have passed against Calhoun 67 times, completed 32 for 321 yards (10.03 yards/catch). The Jackets have allowed 97 rushing and 84 passing yards per game. In three games, teams have gained 601 total yards. Calhoun has scored 24 points from defensive turnovers. The efficient defense has only been penalized five times for 51 yards.
-- Zeke Brown, a 5-11 senior middle linebacker, leads in tackles with 23 solo, 13 assisted, two tackles for a loss, one sack, one caused fumble and a fumble recovery in three games. Brett Garland, a junior middle linebacker, has eight tackles, one assisted, one tackle for a loss and one caused fumble. David Braden, a 6-2, 200-pound senior outside linebacker, has seven tackles, six assisted, one sack and one interception. Grant Gilmer, a 6-foot, 182-pound senior cornerback, has four tackles, seven assisted tackles and one interception. Safety Reece Poe, a 5-10, 165-pound senior, has nine tackles.
-- Eduardo Fajardo, the 5-9, 185-pound senior kicker, returns as a sure thing for Calhoun when it comes to field goals and extra points. He's 2-for-2 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points.