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After playoff run, Calhoun looks to rebuild on offensive, defensive line

By jhornberg
May 28, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.

052410/Calhoun Spring Football - Ben Carrera, #35 fights off Jonathan Sanchez, #34 during the Calhoun spring football scrimage.T.C. Baker/Advocate Staff Photographer

PORT LAVACA - After being on the cusp of making it to the Class 4A state semifinals with a senior team, the Calhoun Sandcrabs have a lot of new faces.

The team got a lot younger, said coach Richard Whitaker, with only six of the team's 23 projected starters being seniors. Last spring, 16 of those starters were seniors.

"What does that mean? It may take us a little longer to grow up," the coach said. "We may take our lumps early on, but I think eventually we're going to be a pretty good football team. And we're going to have these guys another year, because most of them will be back.

"We had some kids that really played well the last couple weeks in intersquad scrimmages."

Weeks of spring practice culminated in the Sandcrabs spring game Friday night, a 20-10 win for the White team over the Black team where Calhoun's option offense and defense was on full display. The game also included a 52-yard field goal for the Black team by Noble Mu, and several turnovers on both sides.

But much of the focus this spring, at least for senior offensive lineman Ben Bomer, was getting the younger players ready for game action next season. The Sandcrabs lost seven of eight starting lineman, Whitaker said, and are looking to younger players to fill the roles on the both sides of the ball.

"That certainly was a big concern for us this spring," Whitaker said. "We really took a lot of concern with that as far as detail. Right now, we feel we come out of spring fairly healthy, we have a couple of nagging injuries that are going to way pretty quick, and for us, that's a positive."

For Bomer, making sure the younger linemen were ready for game action was a key to the spring practices.

"It starts up front with the line. The linemen are the ones that are going to get the backs and get the defensive line moving," he said. "We lost pretty much all of the offensive line, so we've got to get those young guys prepared and get them up."

Bomer said he played better in this year in part because of a position shift for him on the offensive line.

"Last spring game I was playing center, this time I'm playing tackle. Coming from center to tackle, I think I did a lot better," he said.

Play didn't pick up for either team until the second half, in part because of the heat, said sophomore middle linebacker Alex Trevino.

"First it was like, uhhh, 'cause it was kind of hot," he said. "There in the fourth quarter, we kicked it in, and we were like, 'we could do this, we could stop them.' They had the most speed but we had the linemen and the linebackers."

Trevino said the defense is going to have to step up, which returns all of its starting linebacker corps but lost a large portion of the starting secondary and defensive line.

Health also proved to be an issue coming out of the spring last season. The Sandcrabs lost one player in the spring who remained injured for a long while, and another player was injured during the spring game last year. There was concern when senior quarterback Blaise Keller was injured on a play close to the end of the half, but the injury wasn't serious.

"He just got his knee bent back under him," Whitaker said. "He said he hurt his ankle probably more than his knee, but he was fine. Little hyperextension I think. Train checked him out, it looked good. He'll get a few days off when we start our summer training, so hopefully he'll be good."

Much of the team is set, Whitaker said, but the positions are still up in question as the Sandcrabs head into the summer.

"The kids had a great offseason, but that's one thing. You put them on the field and see who's going to be physical and see who's going to compete," he said. "That's what we look for in spring ball, we move kids around, we're still not settled on positions, but we looked at the kids and determined who we felt could play for us."

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