Caledonia High School’s JeDarius Gore deflects a pass intended for West Lowndes’ Jermaine Williams in their game Friday in Caledonia. Gore had five touchdowns in Caledonia’s 40-12 victory in the season opener for both teams. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
August 21, 2018 10:16:08 AM
CALEDONIA -- Michael Kelly didn't have to say anything to JeDarius Gore prior to the Caledonia High School football team's season opener against West Lowndes on Friday night.
The school's first-year head coach knew his senior athlete was prepared wherever he decided to put him on the field. It turned out Caledonia didn't have to move Gore around very much -- if at all -- because it was able to use Gore's talents at slot back to post a big night.
Gore caught two touchdown passes from junior quarterback Brandon Edmondson and rushed for three more as part of his 184-yard ground assault in Caledonia's 40-12 victory in the season opener for both teams.
For his efforts, Gore is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"I think we all knew JeDarius had it in him to be that kind of playmaker," Kelly said.
Brayden Gholson (104 yards) also eclipsed the 100-yard mark to help the Confederates rush for 357 yards. Caledonia nearly had 400 yards rushing, but a holding penalty wiped out a 41-yard scoring run by Gore in the second quarter.
Gore also played defensive back and could have added to his touchdown total, but he acknowledged he dropped two interceptions. On both, he said he had plenty of green grass in front of him. Still, the effort provided a huge boost of confidence for a program coming off an 0-10 campaign in 2017.
"It felt wonderful scoring that many times," Gore said. "The O line blocked really good for me and I saw the holes opening up."
Gore said he was most pleased with his final score -- an 81-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He said he wasn't tired in the full sprint to the end zone and that he didn't see or feel anyone near him on the run. Gore said Wes Rollins was the first to greet him after the score.
Entering this season, Kelly, who was the defensive coordinator at Columbus High last season, talked about using Gore at quarterback. He said Gore still might see reps at that position, but that he likes the versatility the 6-foot, 155-pounder provides because he can line up at running back, slot receiver, and wide receiver. Gore said you could even see him at tight end.
Kelly said he doesn't get a chance to see Gore run very much due to the quick whistles in practices that are designed to keep players fresh. After reviewing the film from the game against West Lowndes, Kelly said he was impressed with Gore's vision and balance. He said Gore is able to take contact and make people miss.
"Give him all of the credit in the world," Kelly said. "The kid has worked hard for it. He has paid the price to get that moment, and we're hoping to have a couple of more Fridays like that."
Gore played linebacker and wide receiver last season. Against West Lowndes, he also said time in the secondary. Kelly said Gore asked to move to other positions, but he said the Confederates didn't need to showcase his skills in other areas.
Kelly believes the five-touchdown evening will bolster the confidence of Gore and the rest of the team.
"I hope the confidence gets sky high with it," Kelly said. "He has put the time and the work in. I hope he steps on the field in whatever capacity we ask him offensively and he is able to run our offense and to make those plays."
Gore, who didn't play football as a sophomore, feels he can play anywhere on the field. He understands the Confederates will need him to play a key role this season, and that he is looking forward to trying to duplicate his first five-touchdown evening.
"It is going to help me a lot because it is going to keep building my motivation and help me stay in a good, positive way," Gore said.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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