Chad White hasn’t forgotten how to coach a defense.
The former Calhoun City defensive coordinator turned head coach has led the Wildcats to a 6-3 record this year with a 3-0 mark in Division 2-2A. Calhoun City’s defense has been a big force, allowing just 11.2 points per game.
That ranks second-best in Class 2A this year.
“We’ve just been blessed with good kids and good players,” White said. “Our guys play really really hard, and that’s what we are trying to coach them to do. That great effort can get you over a hump when you mess up on an assignment. Something good may happen when you play hard.”
In its last five games, Calhoun City, the Journal’s No. 2-ranked small school, has a 4-1 record and has allowed only 21 points with back-to-back shutouts the last two weeks. The only loss came to 4A North Pontotoc, 7-6.
During that span, the Wildcats have had success in getting to the quarterback. Calhoun City has 19 sacks in its last five games – 5, 5 and 6 in its three division games.
Emariun Clayton has 5 sacks and Jayden Griffin has 4, but it’s been a total effort by the defensive unit. Seven players on the defense have tallied sacks this year, while five players have intercepted a total of 12 passes.
Chardarius Hill leads the team with six interceptions, while Clayton and Griffin are the team’s two tackle leaders.
Calhoun City has an open week this week and then wraps up its regular season schedule with a matchup with J.Z. George (3-6, 0-2) next week. With a playoff spot already clinched and the division title within reach, White and company are preparing this week like any other.
“We’ve had a lot of kids injured throughout the year,” White said. “It seems like every year we have someone hurt. We’ve had to play musical chairs with some of the kids a little bit, and those kids have risen to the challenge, so hats off to them.”