But after hard-fought non-region wins over three really good teams in Ridgeland, Dalton and Carrollton, that’s exactly where Calhoun sits as they head into the next phase of their schedule.
The Jackets open up region play on Friday night at Dade County as they begin the quest for their 12th straight region title.
Calhoun coach Hal Lamb even said he’s a little surprised to be 3-0 headed to play the Wolverines after the gauntlet of the first three games.
“Those were tough games, and we knew that was going to be the case when we saw the schedule,” said Lamb. “To be honest, I really didn’t expect us to be 3-0, knowing how good those three teams are, but we’ve played pretty well in all three games. We’re getting better on defense, our special teams have been solid and our offense has been consistent.
“Those games will definitely help us down the road.”
In their most recent game, a 46-35 over Carrollton, the offense once again led the way with 40 points in the second half. Taylor Lamb had an amazing night, throwing for 465 yards on 38-of-55 passing and four TDs along with two rushing TDs. Josh Barnes added 18 receptions for 204 yards.
But as of now, the Jackets turn their attention to Dade County, who are 0-3 on the season with losses to North Sand Mountain (Ala.), North Murray and LFO.
Most on the outside, looking in, expect Calhoun to roll through the Wolverines with no problems, and even more so through the entire region schedule without a lot of opposition.
But Lamb and his team aren’t among those who believe they can just show up and win games, starting with Dade County.
“Dade County is a young team, and they haven’t had very much success this season so far, but I think the world of coach (Bradley) Warren and the job he does there,” said Lamb. “We’ve got to worry about ourselves and not get caught up in thinking it’s already a win.
“We haven’t always played well at Dade County so that’s what our goal is this time. It’s different, traveling that far, but we’ve done it before and we’re going to prepare for it like we always have.”
The Jackets are now into their second season as the region schedule starts. Lamb said he breaks the season up into non-region, region and playoffs, and the Jackets are now in that second phase.
“The rest of them count toward our goal of winning a region title and a state title,” said Lamb. “It feels good to get those wins early and be 3-0, but from now on, these games are the most important to our season.”
The Jackets are 14-0 all-time against the Wolverines, including winning the last three by a 34-point margin or larger. To keep that streak going, Lamb said his team has to avoid playing flat.
“Like I said, we want to go up there and play well, which is something we haven’t always done,” said Lamb. “As long as we execute in all three phases, we should be alright. But we can’t come out and be sloppy and let them hang around in the game.”
The Jackets showed in their first three games that they are just as good, if not better than last season, when they had the magical run to the state title.
They are clearly the team to beat in Region 7-AA, with a big divide between Calhoun and the rest of the competition.
Despite Dade County being a tricky road test for the region opener, the Jackets are simply better in all aspects of the game, especially with their dynamic offense.
Expect a big win to move to 1-0 in the region.
Calhoun 49, Dade Co. 13