Photo Andy Calvert - L-R: #5 COLE SPEER-WR #70 KENDRICK KIRBY-OL #9 QUIN SMITH-WR
2020 RECORD: 9-4, overall (3-2, REGION 7-AAAAA)
HEAD COACH: Clay Stephenson, 19-6 in 2 years at Calhoun
ALL TIME RECORD: 880 games 513 – 368 – 27 (58%)
TOTAL SEASONS: 86 FIRST SEASON: 1925 ALL STATE PLAYERS: 112
REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS: 23 (2018 LAST)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4 (2017 LAST)
In one year’s time, the Calhoun Yellow Jackets jumped 2, not 1, but 2 GHSA classifications from AAA to AAAAA. They joined roughly the strongest region in the new classification and then had to deal with the same challenges as everyone else with the pandemic protocols and all that came with the pandemic.
Persevering as they traditionally do, Calhoun advanced to the Elite Eight of the GHSA Playoffs after going in as the third seed from the region. It didn’t go like they wanted it to, but the Yellow Jackets proved that they can truly play anyone, anywhere.
A couple of things have happened this offseason for the Yellow Jackets. First, head coach Clay Stephenson dubbed the time starting at the end of last season to the end of this year’s spring practice Separation Season. That was the time for the Calhoun Yellow Jackets as a team and as individuals to show separation from where they were some months ago to the present time. Also, they needed to show separation from the competition on the team’s depth chart. The most important thing to do was to separate themselves from their opponents. Based on the spring practices, Stephenson declared Separation Season a success.
The second thing that happened was not so positive. After nearly two decades at Calhoun, Michael Davis stepped down as offensive coordinator to pursue another opportunity. A new offensive coordinator stepped in, coached through the spring, then he also stepped away. Stephenson and his staff are now making adjustments to handle that responsibility going into the season.
Regardless of what happens outside the lines, players must play within them, and the Yellow Jackets have some guys who can get the job done.
As quarterback, senior Christian Lewis will be the leader of a new offense in 2021. The faster Lewis learns the offensive the better it will be for the fate of the entire team.
Ball carrying is the same regardless, and Calhoun has some good ones for that. Sophomore Caden Williams, a strong, fast, and dynamic young back will be vying for playing time with juniors Corbin Fuller, Kaleb Ray, and sophomore Trey Townsend.
Catching passes will be seniors Quin Smith and the ultra-versatile Cole Speer, who is a big-time playmaker for the Yellow Jackets.
Kendrick Kirby, a senior offensive guard will be a leader of an offensive line that has a great mixture of upper and lower classmen.
Calhoun will have a fast and energetic defense, with athletic players like Kirby, Speer, and Smith, joined by fellow seniors. Defensive back Lex Walraven, linebacker Mason Green, and defensive linemen Jai Hogan, Derek Greene, and Jace Warren will give the defense a lot of experience in 2021
Once Coach Stephenson and his staff get the responsibilities of the offense figured out and get things going, the region and Class AAAAA better beware; the Yellow Jackets are still who they are, a traditionally great program in the state of Georgia.
2021 GAMES OF SIGNIFICANCE
8/20/2021 vs Dalton
Rivalry Game. Calhoun has won 9 of the last 10 matchups including a 41-14 victory last season.
9/3/2021 vs Cedartown
The Yellow Jackets won the first game between the two schools since 1985 14-7 last season.
10/8/2021 @ Blessed Trinity
This region game is going to play a role in determining the region seedings. Calhoun fell 21-35 last season.
10/29/2021 @ Cartersville
This region game is going to play a role in determining the region seedings. Calhoun fell 14-31 last season