Pretty good has never been good enough for the Cavaliers.
From head coach Pete Wiggins on down, there are some lofty standards for the Callaway High football team. It has been that way for the last 15 years. Wiggins has built a tradition of winning the right way.
The Cavaliers have the absolute gamut of players from four-star types to lunch pail bologna and cheese guys. But what they all have in common is winning and working, which happen to be tied at the hip.
“Our kids have expectations, and that is what Callaway football strives for. We prepare hard,” said Wiggins, who has a record of 126-45 since the fall of 2005.
Another year of striving and driving began for the Cavaliers with the first day of preseason drills on Thursday night in Hogansville. Wiggins gave his team a passing grade after two hours of gasping, groaning and blocking.
But then again, this is just the start. The Cavaliers still need more effort and more precision. But Callaway High is headed in the right direction.
“We want to get better every day. We are playing at a good tempo. Our offensive line is executing, and our defense is playing fast,” said Wiggins, who has led the Cavaliers to the Class AA state semifinals in two of the last three seasons.
Did we mention tradition? Callaway High football sucks that in like oxygen.
“We grind. We cut out the excuses, and we keep going. We have talent, and we want to win,” said Cavalier senior cornerback and wide receiver Antinez Blount.
The 6-foot-4, 175pound Blount wants more than that this season.
“I want to bring back the first state championship for Callaway,” said Blount.
That is possible if the breaks go the Cavaliers way. Callaway High has all the ingredients for a state championship run, including intensity. Habits are being formed right now on the practice field in Hogansville.
“There is a lot of flying around. There’s a lot of teamwork. We want to win a ring,” said Cavalier junior linebacker and running back Charlie Dixon.
He has a Bo Jackson kind of football body. Dixon is ripped with muscles. The 6-foot-2, 225pound Dixon has some leadership qualities, too.
“I want to do my job,” said Dixon, who is on the recruiting list at Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, Louisville and Boston College.
Callaway High senior linebacker R.J. Williams is just trying to increase his preseason practice stamina. He got winded during practice on Thursday, and he got two hotdogs afterwards.
“We’re trying to get used to the heat. It’s always crazy on the first day (of preseason workouts). We had a good day. We kept pushing. Coach Wiggins wants us to be the best,” said Williams, the 5foot-9, 180-pounder.
Freshman Zye Gray also survived day one of the preseason drills, and he is proud to call himself a Cavalier. Gray is playing linebacker for Callaway High. He is looking for playing time, tackles and more mustard on his hotdogs.
“We have a good program, and we’re working hard,” said Gray.
The Cavaliers will scrimmage Starr’s Mill on Friday, Aug. 16 at Callaway Stadium. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. for the preseason contest.
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Chris Fernsler Sports Writer