Austin Bishop makes a spectacular catch as Calhoun's Ty Bick defends last Friday. (Photo courtesy of Sherry Fraley Photography)The Carrollton Hawks and the Calhoun Warriors football fixture has been a one-sided affair for the past couple years in favor of the Hawks, but the tides are starting to shift to the Warriors down by the rivers.

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Calhoun is a young team, but is loaded with promising juniors and sophomores, which looks like the sun is on the horizon in Calhoun County. However in the present they’re at 3-3 and in need of a win to keep their playoff contentions in the right direction.

Carrollton head coach Nick Flowers has proved that tradition doesn’t graduate so far, which is the Hawk motto for this season. When the best class of football players in school history graduates and you have to replace them it’s automatic that you go through some growing pains the following season. Carrollton has had some pains, but mostly they’ve had growing success. Carrollton is 5-1, currently on a five-game winning streak, and has won 19 straight WIVC South contests. They out-score their opponents by 17.5 points (34.3 to 16.8) and have gotten better progressively throughout the season.

Riverbender.com will be broadcasting a live video feed throughout the game, which can be viewed here: http://www.riverbender.com/video/live/details.cfm?id=741

Quarterback Wade Prough has thrown for 1,100 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He is among the leaders in the WIVC with the most total yards, over 1,350. Prough has proven that if he is given time then he will destroy the opposition with his arm and or legs. For that he has to thank his protectors, the offensive line.

For the most part the Hawks offensive line has done a great job through 6 games keeping their quarterback safe the majority of the time. The o-line was one of the biggest concerns going into the season because Carrollton had their entire offensive and defensive linemen graduate last year, but with time and games under their belt the mostly underclassmen line has adjusted well.

Senior Cole Brannan and junior Jerrett Smith are Carrollton’s two main horses on offense and whenever one of them has the ball with space, that spells trouble for any opposing defense. Both of them split time in the backfield or at wide receiver. The duo has combined for 1,429 all-purpose yards with 17 touchdowns on the ground and through the air.

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On the defensive side senior outside linebacker Brody Howard leads the Hawks with 77 tackles and Smith, another linebacker, is right behind him with 76.

Calhoun Head coach Aaron Elmore is in his third year back at his alma mater and his track record has been steadily trending upward season-by-season. It has been somewhat a roller coaster of a season for Calhoun. They started out 2-0 including a 34-28 week 1 victory over Triopia (4-2). However in week 3 they lost to long time rivals Pleasant Hill (1-5), 32-28 and had to hand over the prestigious Oaken Bucket. They rebounded the next week with a 21-0 shutout over North Greene (1-5), but then got pounded by West Central (5-1), 41-6 and Greenfield (4-2), 49-18.

As mentioned before Calhoun is young a team with only seven seniors, but they’re led by one of them. Blake Booth is a three-year starting quarterback and has the chance to guide the Warriors a step closer to the post-season. He’s thrown for 402 yards on 21 of 34 attempts for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His favorite receiver is junior Tyler Webster who has 23 receptions for 340 yards. He’s rushed for a team high 555 yards.

The Warriors prefer to run the ball with Booth, but Wesley Klocke is the one breaking through walls when called upon. The 6-foot 4-inch junior has rushed for 404 yards on 59 carries with 5 touchdowns. Other weapons in the backfield is fullback Scout White and Ty Bick.

Klocke has done a bit of everything for the Warriors all season long. Despite his rushing numbers and carries (59), he has 164 receiving yards and was the quarterback for the whole game against West Central in a 5 wide spread offense set up. On defense he leads the team in tackles with 48.

Based on Carrollton’s performances, Calhoun’s keys to success on defense are to get out after Prough and maybe at will. Brown County and North Greene each had over 3 sacks and force him to rush things. If the Warriors don’t get to Prough then he has the potential to have a field day. The Hawks on offense will want to spread the Warriors all over the field and use their speed in space to wear them out. If Carrollton can contain Booth and Klocke on the ground and force the Warriors to pass on third downs then the Hawks will be in a good spot.

If Carrollton wins then it means the WIVC South golden football will stay in the Hawks trophy case for the fourth year in a row, a conference record. A loss for Calhoun will put them at 3-4 and doom their post-season chances. They will have to go through Routt and then #6 Brown County. Basically the playoffs will start for the Warriors two weeks in advance if it hasn’t already. However a win for the Warriors will boost their confidence and playoff hopes. If the Hawks lose then they will have to share the golden football with either West Central or West Central and Greenfield. Carrollton though will be more concerned about their inevitable seed drop in the playoffs if it comes to that.

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