By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
BALDWYN – Tae Lawrence was a work horse for his Calhoun City Wildcats in their Division 1-2A opener Friday night at Latimer Park.
The senior quarterback rushed for over 100 yards and was perfect on the night passing, leading his Wildcats to an all but perfect 26-7 win over the Baldwyn Bearcats.
After a three-and-out on their first series of the contest, Lawrence sparked his offense with a 79-yard, nine-play drive. Lawrence toted the ball on five of those plays, including the final play of the drive – a two-yard touchdown run – that put the Wildcats up 7-0.
Making up for a fumble on the first play of Calhoun City’s third drive, Lawrence took to the air on their ensuing possession. His 10-yard scoring pass to Ryne Lee put the Wildcats up 13-0 just before halftime.
Lawrence led the Daily Journal’s top ranked small school with 125 yards rushing on 18 carries and completed all four of his pass attempts, all in the first half, for 54 yards.
“Tae is a real leader for us at quarterback,” Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said. “Tae ran the ball hard. With Carter (Mcbride) and (Lavarious) Varnado, those three are pretty strong.”
It took Calhoun City (6-1, 1-0) two plays and 44 seconds to open the second half with a score. Following Mcbride’s 59-yard run, Lawrence took care of the rest with his final touchdown (11 yards) of the night for a 19-0 lead.
McBride, who added 123 yards on the ground, capped the Wildcats’ scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. Varnado added 42 yards to seal Calhoun City’s 342-yard rushing night.
Defensively, the Wildcats dominated Baldwyn (2-5, 0-1) on the line. The likes of Tabarrius Coffey, Raheem Roberson, and Rokedrick Mays stuffed Bearcat runners and held Baldwyn scoreless until just over a minute left in the game.
“They’re huge up front,” Bearcats coach Michael Gray said. “I don’t think we did a good job of reading the football. But that’s no excuse, we still have to play football.”
Eighth grader Duke Upshaw’s 68 yard touchdown run with 1:21 left was the lone score for the Bearcats, who are tied for 5th in the Daily Journal’s small school rankings. Upshaw led Baldwyn with 104 yards rushing.