The Rebels (4-3, 2-2 Region 4-AAA) came from behind to tie the game in regulation and outlasted Rockmart in double-overtime last week for the 36-34 victory. This week, they will look to carry the momentum against the top team in the region.
"Any time you win, it helps you mentally. I know it did me. After losing to B.E.S.T. and playing the way we did in that game, we needed to go out there and play a better ball game," HC coach Alan Lane said.
Callaway faced its toughest task so far this season in region play last week, but was able to pass with a 14-10 win against Central with its defense doing most of the work. The Cavaliers (5-1, 3-0) have done most of their damage with a high-powered offense led by quarterback Tez Parks and receiver Terry Godwin. Last week, Godwin's biggest catch was an interception returned for the first Callaway score in the game.
Lane knew his team would be in more games this season than it was last year — and so far they have been — but Callaway is a team that can cause problems for an opponent all over the field.
"I said this earlier in the year, we may not win more games than we did last year, but at least we will be in some games. Except for the Bowdon game, we have been in all of them. Take away two plays, we could have even won a few more ball games. Callaway is one of those teams that can put one on you in a hurry. They've got athletes," Lane said. "We're hoping we can keep our fingers in the dike and don't allow the flood gates to open up on us and keep it close until the fourth quarter."
After losing tight end Seth Neeley for the season against B.E.S.T. Academy two weeks ago, the Rebels were forced to alter their offense a little bit. Without the 6-foot-6 target to throw to, Lane has dialed down some of the pass plays as they will be even more run-oriented the rest of the season.
"I just don't see us being able to do a whole lot of throwing the ball down the field. We're going to have to integrate some of the option game the rest of the season," Lane said. "We didn't make any changes, we've been running these plays all year. We're just leaning more towards these plays rather than the other ones. It's not like we put in a whole new offense — we did not. We haven't even added a play."
While a win would have big implications for HC's playoff aspirations a loss wouldn't derail it completely. But the focus isn't on the two games following Friday night, or even on Callaway, but more so making sure the Rebels are the best team they can be day-in and day-out.
"Really, I don't want to sound cliché, but we're really not looking down the road. We're looking at today and we're not really concentrating as much on Callaway as we are on Haralson, trying to get us better at what we do. I learned a long time ago that if you spend too much time on someone else, then we're wasting time that could be used on us getting better," Lane said.