All-Metro Football Player of the Year: WCCA quarterback paved way to title
Published 12:02 am Friday, December 25, 2015
WOODVILLE — Down 14-0 on the road against an undefeated Prairie View team, Wilkinson County Christian Academy head coach Chris McGraw had to make a move. And the move he made, carried the Rams to an eventual state championship.
“We just had nothing going and got pinned inside our five on the ensuing kickoff after going down 14-0,” McGraw said. “I said we have to run the ball and I put Caleb (Poole) at it. The rest was history.”
Poole would go on to run for more than 250 yards that game, beginning the Rams’ streak for the title.
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Poole, who began the year as a slot receiver and also saw time at running back, simply needed the ball in his hands more, McGraw said. The move to quarterback was the only way to make it happen.
“It just makes us more diverse,” McGraw said. “He can throw it a little bit, but having it in his hands to start off, people just can’t stare at him now because he had the option to hand it off or go somewhere else with it.”
Poole said the move was one he agreed was best for the team.
“It felt good and I was glad to do it,” he said. “I think everybody liked the move because from it, we got a 6’4 receiver in Phillip Cutrer and that really helped us passing the ball.”
Poole quickly gained the respect of his teammates and command of the offense.
“A thing I was impressed with was how he honored his linemen,” McGraw said. “We give away award stickers for their helmets, and he was giving them to his linemen.”
Poole would continue to dominate defenses weekly, posting multiple 300-yard rushing games. He would finish with 2,122 rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns, both of which rank in the top 10 in the state this season. He finished with 40 total touchdowns on the season.
But Poole’s game wasn’t limited to just one side of the ball. He also led the Rams with eight interceptions on defense.
“He only played nine games on defense because I was worried about offense, but when we had the big games, he had to play,” McGraw said.
Poole said playing quarterback gave him an upper hand on the defensive side of the ball as a safety.
“Quarterbacks in the league right now don’t work on looking people off, so they take you to where they are going,” he said. “You just have to look at their eyes.”
Poole’s season would come full circle in the state championship game. Down to their last down and trailing 7-0, Poole heaved his final pass of the season towards the end zone. It was hauled in and ran into the end zone, putting WCCA down just one.
And on his final carry of the year, Poole rumbled in from two yards out on the two-point conversion to give the Rams an 8-7 win and a state championship.
“I really didn’t believe that it was true when it happened,” Poole said. “Then that Saturday it hit me like, ‘Man, we just won the state championship.’”
Poole will be back again next season, his senior season, and he is bringing some lofty goals along with him.
“I just have to rush for more yards next year,” he said. “That is my goal.”