“This was a huge win for this program, for these kids, for this town,” head coach Adam Fossett said. “It was a big, big win. We had a great crowd tonight. The student section showed up and showed out and did a great job making some noise. I told the guys I was proud of them, and we’re starting to get an identity. We’re starting to get gritty. We’re starting to get physical. We’re starting to play really good football. I’m proud of the way we played tonight.”
Childersburg got on the board with 46-yard pass from Zack Lightsey to Tim Tilley for a touchdown. Noah Smith connected on the PAT to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter.
Handley answered in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run by Jarreion Williams. The scoring drive was set up by a 43-yard run by Dameion Ware that got the team to the 1-yard line before Williams punched it in.
Childersburg answered on the following drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Kendarius Calhoun. Calhoun bullied his way into the end zone, as he knocked over the defender trying to stop him at the goal line. It was a play that impressed Fossett.
“On one touchdown he scored, he laid a huge blow on the kid to get into the end zone,” Fossett said. “He lowered his shoulder and did a great job.”
Earlier in the drive, Tilley raced down the left sideline for a 59-yard run before he was pushed out of bounds to help set up Calhoun’s touchdown run. The PAT was no good to put the score at 13-7.
Later in the second quarter, Calhoun had an 18-yard touchdown run. Calhoun hit a hole, had a huge opening and beat the last defender by shifting to his right and walking into the end zone. Zack Lightsey hit Hunter McCain for a successful two-point conversion to give Childersburg a 21-7 lead at the half.
In the second half, Handley started running more aggressive blitz packages. Fossett explained that this forced the offense to change plans, but they managed to effectively control the clock.
“Early on, we did some great things on offense,” Fossett said. “Towards the end of the game, they (Handley) were bringing a ton of folks. We were trying to run that clock out and get out of here and they were bringing seven, eight, nine people. So, we had to change up what we were doing a little bit and do things differently, but overall this is huge.”
In the fourth quarter, Handley began to show signs of life on offense. Ware found a crease in the defense and ran 74 yards before a Childersburg defender managed to knock Ware’s shoe off. Somehow, Ware managed to maintain his balance, but losing his shoe slowed him enough to allow secondary defenders to tackle him at the 5 yard line. However, Childersburg was unable to stop them short of the goal line, as Mikeia Trammell ran in five yards for a touchdown on the ensuing play. The PAT was no good.
Strong special teams play was crucial late in the fourth quarter. With the Childersburg offense sputtering, punter Noah Smith managed to put Handley on their own 3 yard line for their final drive. Smith had already managed to perform the same feat earlier in the third quarter.
“Our punter Noah Smith did a great job flipping the field for us on some great punts,” Fossett said. “We had great coverage. We pinned them deep a couple of times.”
Handley managed to complete several passes on their final drive, but were never able to get a big play. The team lined up for one final passing play, but the clock expired before they could get the snap off.
“We’ve put a lot more emphasis on special teams,” Fossett said. “I feel like last season that was a weakness I had as a coach because I didn’t put enough emphasis on special teams. I put coach (Michael) Phillips in charge of it this year and he has done a good job. He’s got the kids fired up about special teams and getting excited about it. We’ve definitely improved in that area. It’s a third of the ball game and something we needed to improve on, and we’ve done a good job working on that.”
The win moves Childersburg to an overall record of 3-0 and 2-0 in region play.