The Wildcats rushed for 167 yards but passed for only 22. Trigg abandoned the passing game early in the contest and didn’t significantly return to it. Junior quarterback Andrew Stewart completed finished 2-for-15 for 22 yards, all of it received by junior Jaron Gilbert. Stewart was also intercepted three times, with two of them run back for Laker touchdowns.
Trigg had a fairly solid night on defense considering Calloway was riding high on the return of senior running back Tyrrell Willis, who saw his first action of the season after missing the first two games due to suspension. Willis ran 23 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns, but the Lakers had no running game outside of him.
“[Willis] is a senior, and with this being his first night out this season, he put his team in a better position,” Trigg head coach Shannon Burcham said. “He’s a tremendous athlete and he made plays, but I think our guys made plays at times on him. All in all, I think we played well against him, but there are other aspects of the game that broke it open for Calloway.”
Freshman quarterback Tyler Greer played well until a tackle by Trigg senior defensive lineman Tavaras Poindexter sent him to the hospital. Greer was taken by ambulance from the field to Trigg County Hospital, where he was treated for neck and back injuries.
Calloway took a 2-0 lead with 7:09 left in the first quarter when a Trigg snap went over the head of punter Ethan Sweno and out of the end zone. Ashley Heppe returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown on Trigg’s next possession, and Willis capped an eight-play 65-yard drive with a scoring run from four yards out to put the Lakers ahead 16-0 at the beginning of the second quarter.
The through-the-air highlight of the night for Trigg was the defensive play of Gilbert, who set a
one-game school record with four interceptions and tied the Wildcat mark for longest interception return when he scored a touchdown from 90 yards out in the final minute of the second quarter.
That touchdown came on the heels of Trigg’s best offensive drive of the night, a 10-play 68-yard march that, after Stewart’s two-point conversion run, cut Calloway’s lead to 16-8. Josh Adams, who led the Wildcats on the ground with 85 yards on 12 carries, capped that drive with a 1-yard score.
Gilbert’s interception return left Calloway with a 16-14 halftime lead but gave Trigg momentum. The ‘Cats appeared poised to take the lead quickly in the third quarter after they recovered Akeem Wilson’s onside kick to start the second half. However, the drive stalled when a 25-yard catch by Gilbert was waved off due to offensive pass interference.
Trigg forced Calloway into a three-and-out on the next possession, and the Wildcat offense responded with another solid drive. Trigg went 67 yards in nine plays but couldn’t enter the end zone after 1st-and-goal at the Laker 8-yard line. Sweno then connected on Trigg’s first field goal of the season from 22 yards, putting the ‘Cats ahead 17-16, their first lead of the year.
Calloway wasted little time regaining control. After the Lakers recovered a short kickoff, Greer hit Seay for a 37-yard pass, and Willis capped a four-play drive with a 26-yard touchdown run.
Greer and Stewart then traded interceptions, and the Lakers took over at midfleld at the start of the fourth quarter after a Trigg fumble. The Lakers then drove into the red zone but missed a 36-yare field goal, but the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on their last chance to retake the lead. On 3rd-and-11 at the Trigg 19-yard line, a deep pass by Stewart was intercepted by Seay and returned 42 yards for the final score of the contest.
“We played a physical ball game against a physical team,” Burcham said. “We just came up short again. One or two plays can make the difference in a game, and those plays went [Calloway’s] way late tonight. We’re proud of our guys for their effort, but we’ve got to find a way to not beat ourselves and win a game.”
Burcham said Trigg’s need to rely on the run Friday should make future opponents realize that they must prepare for a multi-dimensional offensive attack from the Wildcats.
“People will have to defend the run and the pass against us,” Burcham said. “We’ll go back and work on things. We’ve got a young quarterback and a young group of receivers, and we’ve got to do a better job of running and catching, but our guys ran the ball well tonight. It just wasn’t the quarterback’s night tonight. Like in basketball when you live by three-point shooting and you have a bad night, sometimes throwing the ball doesn’t go the way you want it to.”
The win was Calloway’s first of the season after losses to Caldwell County and Murray, two of Trigg’s foes in the 2A 1st District. Friday, the Wildcats will host Hopkins County Central (1-1) before the bye week.
Burcham said Trigg won’t look to far ahead in preparations this week, even though the team’s four district games will follow the four Fridays after the week off.
“With the bunch we’ve got right now, we’ve got to take it one play at a time,” Burcham said. “We’ve got to be smart and make the best play we can from play-to-play. If we can do that, I think we can play well enough to win some games.”
Calloway County 28, Trigg County 17
Friday @ Cadiz
Calloway 9 7 6 6
Trigg 0 14 3 0
First downs 9 13
Rushing 33-167 33-111
Passing 2-15-3 11-17-4
Pass. yards 22 145
Total yards 189 256
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties 7-50 9-75
TC: Adams 12-85; Cionko 8-62; Stewart 7-14; Wilson 6-6
TC: Stewart 2-15-3 22
TC: Gilbert 2-22