There were a lot of surprising takedowns in the GHSA playoffs this past weekend but none was more stunning than No. 3 Calhoun’s 27-14 upset of No. 1 Carver-Columbus in the Class AA semifinals Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets did something that no other team has been able to do all season and that’s contain Tigers’ tailback Isaiah Crowell. The AJC Super 11 selection and 5-star prospect was held to just 94 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown as Calhoun advanced to the state finals for the third consecutive year.
“We did an unbelievable job on him,” Calhoun coach Hal Lamb told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We kept hitting him and hitting him. That was our goal, and he got frustrated.”
Very frustrated, in fact. The 6-foot, 210-pound athlete — who finishes the season with 1,721 yards rushing on 147 carries (11.7 ypc) and 18 TDs — was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for taunting the Calhoun crowd following a 50-yard TD run that was called back due to a penalty. He was also observed yelling and complaining on the field and on the sideline throughout the game.
“Calhoun did a great job on defense and tackled really well Friday night. They didn’t allow any of the explosive runs he is accustomed to,” Carver coach Dell McGee said Monday. “Isaiah’s a very competitive person and he wears his emotions on the outside sometimes. He’s got to mature in that regard because it’s definitely going to get tougher on the next level.”
Georgia coaches are undeterred in their pursuit of Crowell, however. Seven assistant coaches — the maximum allowed by NCAA rules — were on the Calhoun sidelines to watch Crowell during the first week of the contact period. Many of those same coaches were at Carver Monday morning as the Bulldogs are putting a full-court press for Crowell as one of their main targets in the recruiting class of 2011. Alabama, it appears, is their chief competition.
Head coach Mark Richt is holding onto his one personal contact with Crowell and will use it for an in-home visit at a later date.
Meanwhile, McGee could not confirm reports that Crowell will not be among the official visitors in Athens this coming weekend. Well over a dozen recruits, including AJC Super 11 selections Chris Conley, Xzavier Dickson, Ray Drew, Jay Rome and Damian Swann, are expected to be at UGA and will attend the team’s Senior Gala Saturday night.