But even he didn’t expect it to be like this.
The defending Class AA state champion Jackets (2-0) have had to win two offensive shootouts in the first two weeks of the season over Ridgeland (42-35) and Dalton (56-41), a far cry from the way they won games last season when they only allowed 30 points to an opponent in one game.
The task will get no easier this week as Calhoun welcomes Class AAAA traditional powerhouse Carrollton to Phil Reeve Stadium.
“They’re very good,” said Lamb when asked about this year’s Carrollton team. “They are well-coached, disciplined, fast and big. We are going to have our hands full. We’ll just have to go see what we can do on the field.
“Fortunately, we get them at our place so hopefully our crowd will make it a great atmosphere.”
Carrollton (1-1) have plenty of athletes that the Calhoun defense will have to account for which has been the same scenario as the first two weeks against Ridgeland and Dalton.
Lamb said he knew it would take a little while for this year’s defense to get their feet under them after the Jackets lost 10 of 11 starters from last year’s state title team, and even with the big numbers given up, he said he can see some signs of them coming around.
“I knew coming into the year that our offense was going to be ahead of our defense, but I didn’t know it was going to be quite like this,” said Lamb. “I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we’ve played two really good team. I think that will pay off in the long run this season, but right now it’s going to be tough.
“I was encouraged with how our defense played in the second half against Dalton so I hope we can carry that over to this week.”
The injury bug hasn’t helped matters on defense, either. Linebackers Chaz Horton and Justin Harrison, two of Calhoun’s top four linebackers according to Lamb, were both injured against Dalton. Lamb said the severity of the injuries is unknown at this time, but they will miss the game against Carrollton.
Besides the defense, Lamb said there was one other big area that his team needs focus on getting better in.
“Penalties have definitely hurt us,” said Lamb. “We’ve had 27 penalties in two games, and that is not good at all. We’re going to try our best to fix that.”
The game on Friday will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1985 when the Jackets won 21-0. Before that, Calhoun had lost all five of the previous meetings. Both programs have come a long way since then, as Calhoun has been a power for the last decade, and Carrollton started their consistent success in the late 1980s.
Lamb said his team has to make some plays on defense in order to win the game.
“We have got to force turnovers,” said Lamb. “Their offensive is explosive, and they don’t do a lot of different things, but they are extremely good at what they do so we’ve got to get the ball away from them.
“And on the other side, we can’t give the ball away.”
The Jackets have run the gauntlet in the first three weeks, and this game will be the toughest test so far. (No disrespect to Ridgeland or Dalton.)
Carrollton is simply a very good team that always has its share of playmakers on the field. Calhoun isn’t a slouch either, though.
This could be a game for the ages. The Reeve will be rocking. Don’t miss it.
Calhoun 38, Carrollton 35