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'CRAB INVASION: Calhoun faces toughest challenge yet at Alamodome

By aalvarado
Nov. 25, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.


If you go

Calhoun Sandcrabs vs. Kerrville Tivy Antlers

Friday, 8 p.m.

Alamodome in San Antonio

Last meeting: Tivy 38-31, 2009 Regional Quarterfinals

Often, football coaches will compliment opponents by calling or labeling a certain athlete as a "football player."

For Kerrville Tivy, junior quarterback Parks McNeil is not just any "football player" and Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker said as much as the Sandcrabs face a quarterback that can throw and run effectively.

"He is the man, just like in '09, Johnny Manziel was the guy," Whitaker said. "They run a system where the quarterback is the main ball carrier and he certainly throws the ball well."

The Sandcrabs and the Antlers square off in the Class 4A, Division II Regional playoffs Friday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

With a win the Sandcrabs will advance past the regional round for the first time since 2009.

Coincidentally, that season they played Tivy in the regional quarterfinals and lost 38-31.

This season McNeil has thrown for 1,861 yards and 23 touchdowns and is the Antlers' top running back amassing 1,354 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The quarterback poses a challenge for the senior-laden Calhoun defense that hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 21 points this year.

"You've got to be ready for it," said Calhoun defensive back Daniel Brooks. "He's a double-threat."

Although McNeil has made a lot of good plays, he tends to make some mistakes, manly throwing 15 interceptions through 12 games this season.

But for Tivy head coach Mark Smith, those interceptions don't lessen McNeil's importance.

"As he goes, we will go," Smith said.

The Sandcrabs bring their own dynamic offense to the Alamodome for the second season in the regional round.

Brooks, Joseph Bargas, Jeremy Loya and Brandon Griffith have each rushed for 1,000 yards. The quartet has scored 61 of the Sandcrabs' 67 rushing TDs.

Although some football fans may call the Sandcrabs one dimensional, he said that the Calhoun run game is a triple threat and the key to containing the Sandcrabs is to be disciplined defensively.

And maybe get a little help.

'We're praying a lot and maybe hoping that those guys don't show up to play," Smith joked.

Defensively the Antlers are led by Ferris Owens who's amassed 61 tackles and three interceptions this season.

Whitaker said Calhoun has to be patient against Tivy's 3-4 defense.

Whitaker said Tivy's defense was sound, physical and flowed to the ball well.

"There's not anything easy your going to get off of them," Whitaker said. "Everything you get, you're going to earn."

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