CALHOUN, Ga. --- It wasn't easy, but top-ranked Calhoun overcame four turnovers to advance to the Class AA semifinals with a 49-35 win over Jefferson County on Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets struck first and made it look easy, going 96 yards in 50 seconds, on four plays.
On the opening play, Nash Nance hit Da'Rick Rogers on a 36-yard pass. Nance later found Cody Ralston for a touchdown. Adam Griffith made the point after, giving the Jackets a 7-0 lead with 7:12 to go in the first quarter.
After stopping Warriors quarterback B.J. Bostic for the second drive in a row, Calhoun took over with good field position on Jefferson County's 32.
On the opening play of the second drive, Nance hit Rogers for the second time on the night and Rogers took the ball to the end zone. Calhoun held a 14-0 lead just over halfway through the opening quarter.
Jefferson County stayed in the game by converting a pair of fumble recoveries into touchdowns. Bostic scored on runs both times.
The game didn't stay tied for long, as Dustin Christian redeemed himself for an earlier fumble with two running plays, the first for 42 yards and the second a 20-yard score. The drive took only 84 seconds.
Calhoun scored another touchdown on Rogers' acrobatic catch to build a 28-14 lead at the break.
Taking the ball at Jefferson County's 45-yard line on their second possession of the second half, the Yellow Jackets moved the ball down the field on nine plays, finding the end zone on a David Collins' 5-yard run with a 1:39 remaining in the third quarter, giving the Jackets a 21-point lead.
The Warriors used four plays to move the ball 65 yards down field and into the end zone. Charles Broadus had runs of 25 and 24 yards, the latter resulting in a touchdown. After the point after was no good, Jefferson County trailed 35-20 after three quarters.
After a Calhoun interception led to Bostic's third touchdown of the night and a successful two-point conversion, the Yellow Jackets looked in trouble.
Nance was nearly dropped for a safety, but on the next play, he went deep to Rogers, who caught the ball, shook off a tackle and trotted into the end zone on a 96-yard reception with 9:27 remaining.
The Yellow Jackets padded their 42-28 lead on their next possession when Nance flipped to Collins, who hit Rogers on an underthrown pass. Rogers danced his way past three defenders for the touchdown.
The play gave Calhoun its second 21-point lead of the night.