Pierce County was on the move.
It was the first quarter of a second-round playoff game, and after watching Callaway score a touchdown, Pierce County was trying to answer.
The Bears were inside the 10-yard line when quarterback Tyler Harris delivered a pass toward what he thought was an open receiver.
Harris didn’t count on Terry Godwin.
Godwin, Callaway’s sensational junior cornerback, wide receiver and kick returner, saw the pass coming, and he was ready.
“I read his eyes the whole way,” Godwin said. “When I saw him cock back to throw, I jumped the route.”
The sure-handed Godwin, as he seemingly always does when the ball is close by, made the catch.
Godwin caught the ball in stride, he took off down the left sideline, and 95 yards later he was celebrating a momentum-turning touchdown.
Callaway was up 14-0, and it went on to win 49-21.
“It was big,” Godwin said of the play. “I got a chance to run the whole field, and help my team go on and win the game.”
It was the latest in a long line of amazing plays Godwin has delivered over the course of his three-year high-school career.
Godwin has been starting, and making plays, since his freshman season, and he’s a key reason the Cavaliers are in the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Godwin is a lock-down cornerback who has proven he can cover anyone, and he’s also a big-play wide receiver who has caught a bunch of touchdown passes this season.
Godwin is also a constant scoring threat in the return game, and he had a punt return for a touchdown in the first round of the playoffs against Henry County.
Godwin also return a punt 80 yards for a touchdown against Haralson County in the regular season.
“I just do what I have to do to help the team,” Godwin said.
Godwin is hoping to help the team win once more and reach the state-championship game.
To make that happen, Callaway will have to beat Buford on its own field Friday night in the Class AAA semifinals.
Godwin said he’ll just go out there and have fun and treat it like another game.
“I know not to be afraid of what goes on,” Godwin said. “Just be calm, and play like it’s a regular game.”
The Cavaliers made it to the playoffs and lost in the first round in Godwin’s freshman season, and they advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year.
This season, Callaway has won a school-record 12 games while making it to the semifinals.
It has been the finest season in school history.
“This has been my favorite season so far,” Godwin said. “I love my teammates. We’re like brothers.”
Godwin, who is listed at six-feet tall and 165 pounds on the team roster, has received plenty of attention beyond Troup County.
When it comes time to choose a college, he’ll have plenty of options.
He’s being recruited by just about every big-time program in the country, from Georgia, to Alabama, to Notre Dame, to USC.
And all of this attention is nothing new.
The summer before his sophomore season, Godwin received an offer from Georgia coach Mark Richt during a camp in Athens.
“I enjoy it,” Godwin said of the recruiting process. “We just have fun at the games. I’m really looking forward to (college football), but I’m trying to enjoy my high-school career as long as I can.”
Godwin is listed as an athlete on the different recruiting sites because of his versatility.
He’s a lock-down cornerback, but he’s also a dynamic wide receiver.
At both positions, Godwin has shown an extraordinary ability to come away with the ball.
Callaway offensive coordinator Matt Napier said Godwin has “got exceptional hands.”
“If you get it close, he’s got great body control, too,” Napier added. “You get it close to a guy like that, he’s going to make a play.”
Wide receivers coach Kareem Douhne said Godwin has a phenomenal ability to catch the ball.
“He just knows. He knows how to do it,” Douhne said. “I’ve never seen someone quite as good as him at just going up and getting the ball. He times everything perfectly. That’s hard to do.”
Godwin isn’t just about the flashy plays, though.
He’s also a physical cornerback who is a sure tackler, and he’s an effective blocker from his wide-receiver position.
Godwin showed last week against St. Pius how tough of a player he is.
After a St. Pius receiver made a catch, Godwin didn’t just tackle him, he picked him up and slammed him to the turf of Callaway Stadium.
Godwin said that play was partly to “send a message to Buford,” to “let them know we’re coming. We’re going to out-tough anybody.”
Douhne said Godwin has no problem with his reduced offensive role in the playoffs.
Because Callaway has been so effective running the ball, it hasn’t thrown a whole lot in three playoff games.
“They’ve been double-covering him, and it’s been a little tougher to throw it to him. And the run has been so successful,” Douhne said. “But he’s having a lot of fun making plays in blocking.”
And Douhne said Godwin does an exceptional job in that area.
“With him, he might be the best, the most aggressive blocker I’ve had, and I’ve had some good ones,” Douhne said. “(Quantavius) Leslie was great. Pedy Leverette does a great job. They all do.”
Godwin said “as long as the offense is moving the ball and scoring, that’s all that matters. The wide receivers are out there to block.”
Another one of Godwin’s coaches, defensive coordinator Dusty Hubbard, said Godwin is “a lot stronger than people think he is.”
“He’s kind of wiry built, but he’s strong,” Hubbard added. “When he has to be physical, he doesn’t have any problem being physical. You get him in the weight room, he can put up some impressive stuff. He’s a strong kid. That’s one of his strengths, and of course his leaping ability and his ball skills are second to none.”
Last week against St. Pius, Godwin made two brilliant plays in the first half, although neither one of them counted.
He caught a long touchdown pass from Tez Parks on a tipped ball, but that play was wiped out by a penalty.
On the defensive end, Godwin ripped the ball away from a St. Pius receiver for an interception, but that play was also negated because of a penalty.
In the first round against Henry County, Godwin returned a punt for a touchdown in a 62-28 victory.
In the second round against Pierce County, Godwin had the game-changing interception, and although his two big plays didn’t count last week, he still made a major impact on the game.
During the regular season, Godwin made his share of big plays as well.
In Callaway’s biggest region test, against a Central-Carroll team that made it to the state quarterfinals, Godwin had a 91-yard touchdown catch.
Parks threw the ball in Godwin’s direction, even though his defender had him covered.
The two players both leaped for the ball, and Godwin came away with it, and as soon as he landed he turned and went the rest of the way for the touchdown.
It was a jump ball, and that was by design.
“Tez knows if he throws it up there, that I’ll get it,” Godwin said after that game.
When Godwin is lined up as a punt returner, he is a touchdown waiting to happen.
Teams often try to kick the ball away from Godwin, and when they don’t, they usually pay the price.
“I try to get as many yards as I can to set up the offense with good field position,” Godwin said.
As terrific as Godwin has been this season, he’s just a part of the equation that has made the Cavaliers so successful.
They’ve gotten it done in every phase of the game, and everyone who has stepped onto the field has contributed.
In the playoffs, Callaway has delivered three consecutive dominant performances to come within two victories of a state championship.
Godwin said the Cavaliers will carry plenty of confidence into Buford’s stadium Friday night.
“If we can keep playing the way we have, we can go up there and win,” Godwin said.