Central Hayneville defeats Calhoun, 60-20, to earn 45 Classic trophy

Published 3:35 pm Sunday, October 16, 2022

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Central Hayneville’s offense pushed into overdrive early in the third quarter in a 60-20 win over The Calhoun School’s football team in the 56th Annual 45 Classic on Friday night.

The win earned the Lions the 45 Classic trophy, a symbol of bragging rights between the two Lowndes County rivals.

“Once we figured out what Calhoun was trying to do, everything just took over to go the way we anticipated from the beginning,” said Lions head coach Corvin Johnson.

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Benjamin White Jr., lined up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation, ran the ball in for   a Lions touchdown and two-point conversion. A Tigers fumble and recovery by Central’s Deandre Mitchell gave the Lions the ball and White reached the end zone again for another touchdown. 

Then, after the Tigers turned the ball over on downs, Central’s Jon’Darius Woods gained another Lions touchdown, ending the third quarter at 44-20.

The Lion’s received the ball at the 50-yard line at the onset of the fourth quarter, carrying it down to Calhoun’s 20-yard line. Again, White ran the ball for the touchdown and Mitchell earned the two-point conversion.

With less than four minutes left, Central scored another touchdown and Mitchell again gained the two-point conversion, bringing the winning score to 60-20 in Central’s favor.

The Lions led from the beginning, with cornerback Roderick Scott scoring the first touchdown of the game. Central jumped to a 16-0 advantage before Calhoun’s Brenterrius Managan caught a touchdown pass for the Tigers to make the score 16-6. Managan’s scoring play marked the first for Calhoun since Week 1 of the season. 

With 6:54 remaining in the half, Central appeared poised to reach the end zone again, but a Tigers fumble return touchdown and successful two-point conversion significantly trimmed Central’s lead to 16-14. 

White ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. The Lions entered the locker room ahead 22-14 at halftime.

But barely into quarter three, another fumble return by Calhoun’s Davyon Lewis resulted in a Tigers touchdown and pushed Calhoun within just two points behind Central, 22-20.

According to Lions head coach Corvin Johnson, Central’s team started slow, concentrating too much on the desire to win.

‘We had a couple mistakes at the beginning,” Johnson reflected. “I think we put too much pressure on ourselves because they really, really wanted to win the game.”

Two Calhoun players walked off the field with minor injuries, and Calhoun head coach Ervin Starr expressed disappointment over the loss.

“We just didn’t get the job done,” he lamented. “I thought we had a great game plan. Some players got hurt and we just didn’t execute. They just took advantage of it and the score is what it is.”

But for Johnson, the victory on Central’s home turf after such a close beginning was sweet indeed.

“I’ve been waiting on this game all year,” Johnson exclaimed. “It feels great. I love the crowd’s support and how the community came out in support of the kids. I’m glad we were on the winning side of it.”