In the case of the Calhoun Yellow Jackets, who fell 31-14 to Jefferson Saturday in the Class AA state title game Saturday, the answer is most certainly no.
“Obviously, it was a great season that didn’t end like we wanted it to,” said Calhoun coach Hal Lamb. “To make take it to the state title game with 17 new starters is a remarkable season.”
It’s extremely rare for a team to play in five consecutive state title games as the Yellow Jackets have done.
Though Calhoun has won just one of those games, Lamb is proud of what has been accomplished by all the players and coaches during that period.
“To go five years in a row — you’d like to win a couple more of those, but it’s not always going to happen — but to get there and play on the turf five years in a row is pretty special,” he said.
It’s special for the community as well, according to Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michele Taylor.
“We are extremely proud of the players, coaches, cheerleaders, band and the entire Jacket family who have supported the program,” she said. “Another trip to the dome to play in a state championship game was a great way to end our 110th anniversary year.”
The Yellow Jackets finished spotless in the regular season, despite a few close calls to start the year.
Calhoun opened the season with a 42-35 win over eventual Class AAA runner-up Ridgeland.
In the second week they won a shootout in Dalton 56-41 followed by a 46-35 win over Carrollton.
From there, the Yellow Jackets marched through Region 7-AA, easily winning their 12th straight region title.
In the playoffs, the Yellow Jackets walked over their first four opponents before surviving a tough one against Brooks County 21-14 in the semis.
In the finals, Jefferson’s strong offense was too much to handle and the Yellow Jacket offense never got rolling in the loss.
In the end, the Yellow Jackets outscored opponents 674-235 on the season.
Quarterback Taylor Lamb had a phenomenal season, completing 69 percent of his passes. The University of South Alabama commit was 284-412 for 3,499 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also rushed for 417 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Josh Barnes was the leading receiver, catching 94 passes for 1,050 yards and five touchdowns. Tydus Curtis was the second leading receiver with 64 catches for 1,030 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Alex Urbano carried the load on the ground for Calhoun, rushing for 1,305 yards and 23 touchdowns. Urbano averaged seven yards per carry.
Now that the season has come to an end, Lamb and his staff are already gearing up for another run next season.
“I told them we’re going to work harder in the off-season and turn it up a notch,” Lamb said. “I talked to our seniors about making themselves into good fathers and husbands. If they have a chance to go to college, I told them I would do anything I can to help them. (Most important) is being a good human being.”
If the past is any indicator of future success, the Yellow Jackets will be preparing to reload rather than rebuild.
“They learn form each class,” Lamb said. “Each freshman class sees how the older guys do it. It starts with senior leadership and we’re going to work hard and the kids expect to win every time they walk out on the field.”