For most football teams, seven wins is a pretty good season. It means a winning record and, most likely, a playoff spot.
For Caledonia High School, seven wins would be historic.
The Cavaliers (6-1, 2-0 4A-1) have a chance to get that seventh win Friday night when they host Mooreville in a Class 4A, Region 1 game.
How elusive has seven wins been for Caledonia? The school has not seen its football team win seven games since a 7-4 season in 1989. Other seven-win seasons came in 1973 (7-2-1) and 1970 (7-3). Caledonia, which has been playing football since 1956, has never, ever won eight games in a season.
The Cavs also have never won a football title, but a win against the Troopers (2-5, 1-1) will set up a showdown with Itawamba Agricultural (6-1, 2-0) next week in a game that likely will decide first place in the region. Caledonia — which is riding a six-game winning streak that is the longest in school history — and Itawamba are the only region teams with winning records.
Caledonia coach Michael Kelly, whose team is undefeated on the field this season, said his players are not concerned with making history.
“I think this generation of kids nowadays lives day to day, which is not a bad thing,” Kelly said Tuesday before practice. “Our seniors set a mantra of wanting our football team to go 1-0 every week.”
Kelly is especially proud of his 17 seniors, who will be honored Friday on senior night.
“It’s a special group of seniors,” said Kelly, in his fourth year at Caledonia. “They’ve bought into what we’re trying to do here. They put in the work every single day. They’ve done a great job of leading this team this year, and hopefully we’ll get a win for them to send them out right.”
One of those seniors springs to mind first when thinking of Caledonia, but Kelly is quick to note he gets plenty of help.
“Darrius Triplett doesn’t need any introduction,” the coach said of his senior tailback, who is coming off of a 113-yard effort in a 49-7 rout of Tishomingo County last week. “He’s one of the best football players in the state, but we’ve got four or five other guys on that side of the ball that any time they touch the ball … Kewon Wyatt, Curtavis Johson, Jeremy Emerson at wide receiver, Daniel Wilburn and Zach Gorum still playing a two-quarterback system.
“People keep asking why are you playing two quarterbacks? Because we have two great young men that have bought into what we’re doing. They can execute our offense. We as a coaching staff trust them, and more than that this team trusts both of them when they get under center that we have a chance to win a football game.”
The Cavs also have a quality offensive line, one that suits the team’s workmanlike style.
“It ain’t pretty every Friday night, but they find a way to get people out of the way,” Kelly said.
The line earned a bit of respect when 6-foot, 5-inch, 245-pound senior Tyshawn Graham was selected to join Triplett on the North squad for the Bernard Blackwell North-South All-Star Football Game in December.
Long before that, there are three regular season games left for the Cavs in the hunt for their first region title, starting with Mooreville.
“They remind me a lot of us,” Kelly said. “They’re a scrappy bunch. Coach (Jimmy) Young does a great job. Coach Young and I are very good friends. I’ve seen them grow up over the past three or four years. They just fight; they keep getting after it.”
But the Troopers have struggled to stop anyone this year, giving up 41 points per game. The Cavs have won three straight in the series, including last year’s 42-8 romp.
But the Troopers have won two of their past three, including a 70-point outburst against Mantachie and a 42-21 win over Corinth in which the passing game put on a show.
Quarterback Dawson Phillips completed 31 of 45 passes for 437 yards and five touchdowns, four of them to wide receiver Jacob Scott, who caught 16 passes for 292 yards.
“Their quarterback, his performance speaks for itself,” Kelly said. “He’s got a great arm, he’s got a great knowledge of the game, and they trust what they’re doing in their spread offense.
“They find a way to get them open and score a lot of points. We’ve got to get lined up and tackle well Friday night.”
And there is no reason to believe the Cavaliers won’t come out firing, as they have all the motivation they should need.
“We have a chance to guarantee ourselves a spot in the playoffs Friday night, plus it’s senior night,” Kelly said. “And I expect our young men to prepare well and come out and play well.”