But Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said he knows his team has to approach this game the same as any other.
The Jackets (6-0, 3-0), fresh off a win over Pepperell, host Murray County for homecoming festivities at Phil Reeve Stadium on Friday. The Indians (0-6, 0-3) are having a very rough year as they’ve been blown out in every game with their closest loss being by a 34-point margin a few weeks ago against Chattooga.
“We all know the struggles of Murray County, but we’ve got to focus on ourselves,” said Lamb. “We need to come out and take control early against them. We need to play well no matter who the opponent is and not take a step backward because we are still not where we need to be as a team yet.
“Hopefully we can get up on them early and be able to play a lot of kids in the game.”
Last Friday, the Jackets faced probably their toughest test of the region schedule when they hosted Pepperell. Calhoun passed the test with ease, downing the Dragons 45-13, thanks to a solid defensive effort led by cornerback Donnell Anthony who had two interceptions, one of which was returned 65 yards for a touchdown for the opening score of the game. The offense also had their routine night with Taylor Lamb leading the way with two TDs through the air and one on the ground.
The win puts the Jackets in the drivers’ seat for their 12th straight region title.
“Obviously, it was a big win,” said Lamb. “I thought we played really well defensively. Offensively, we played well enough to win, but there are some things we need to improve on.”
Homecoming week is always an interesting time for football coaches as they try to balance letting their players enjoy the week while also trying to get them ready for a game.
“Homecoming is a lot of fun for the kids and the community, but not so much for coaches,” said Lamb. “Hopefully the kids won’t be too distracted by everything that’s going on this week. I want them to enjoy it because it’s a special week, but they need to still be ready to go when game time rolls around on Friday.”
The Jackets lead the all-time series against Murray County, 18-9-2, with the last time the two teams met being a 29-19 victory for Calhoun in 2003. The Indians have fallen on extremely tough times as a program since the 2006 season as they’ve only won seven games over that six year span.
Despite being undefeated at this point of the year, Lamb said his team needs to get back to playing like they were earlier in the year.
“We’ve got to go back to the little things,” said Lamb. “Defensively, we’ve gotten better each week, but our offense has to go back to the drawing board and correct some mistakes we’ve seen lately.”
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Calhoun is the better team coming into this game. But Murray County is still going to line up across from the Jackets on Friday night and do everything within their power to compete.
Will they do that? Probably not. But that’s why they play the games.
This should serve as a glorified practice for the Jackets as they look to sharpen their skills for the stretch run.
Calhoun will win. The only question is, by how many?
Calhoun 56, Murray County 7