Calhoun beats East, completes second straight undefeated season

Calhoun quarterback Hunter Boerm hands off to Gabriel Casarez during Thursday's game at Memorial Stadium. The Sandcrabs won a shootout with the Titans, 61-42.
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  • HOW CAN VICTORIA EAST MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

    The Titans cannot make the playoff without a loss either this week or next by Tuloso-Midway (to West or to Beeville.) In addition, the Titans need:

    • Beat Calallen and hope T-M goes 1-1 ...

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  • HOW CAN VICTORIA EAST MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

    The Titans cannot make the playoff without a loss either this week or next by Tuloso-Midway (to West or to Beeville.) In addition, the Titans need:

    • Beat Calallen and hope T-M goes 1-1 in its final two games (at West, vs. Beeville). This gives East three district wins, more than Beeville, T-M or West.

    • With a loss to Calallen, they need West to beat T-M and lose to G-P, and T-M to lose its final two games, giving East the tiebreaker over West.

    WHICH TEAM WILL CALHOUN FACE IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS?

    Calhoun is guaranteed a spot in Class 4A, Division II because of the size of the school. The Sandcrabs are most likely to face Floresville (6-2, 4-1), which is in second place in its district to Medina Valley. Both schools are smaller than any other team in the District 29-4A playoff picture.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more photos from Thursday's game, click here, to see post-game interviews and more, click here.

If anyone within the Victoria Independent School District had the power, they wouldn't allow Calhoun's football team near Memorial Stadium, or its scoreboard.

The Sandcrabs used a quartet of fourth-quarter touchdowns to stay just ahead of Victoria East on Thursday night in a display of offensive pyrotechnics.

No. 8 Calhoun won 61-42 to win its 23rd straight regular-season game, and end the 2012 regular season with a perfect 9-0 record.

"It feels great," said Calhoun junior fullback Gabriel Casarez. "We're excited. Coming out this week we are going to be excited for the playoffs. I'm hoping everyone can get healed up. We have a few weeks to prepare so we'll be ready."

Not even 468 yards of total offense, 359 passing, 109 rushing, and six total touchdowns from Victoria East quarterback Jonathan Ortega was enough to keep the Titans (3-6, 2-3) from facing an critical game next week in Calallen.

"I've never been more proud of them than I am tonight," said Victoria East football coach Roland Gonzalez. "They came out and they battled against a really, really good football team, ranked No. 8 in the state and I do believe that at some points in the game they had some doubts they could beat us. Our kids came and fought on every play. I'm extremely proud of the young men tonight."

The teams split six touchdowns in the first half.

Ortega threw three touchdown passes -two to Cameron Williams, one to Cameron Schultz. Calhoun quarterback Hunter Boerm had two touchdown runs, while Gabriel Casarez added his third touchdown of the season with 11:24 left in the second quarter.

Calhoun scored 21 straight points to take a 42-21 lead with 10:07 remaining.

But, the Titans fought back. Ortega ran for a 15 yard touchdown with 8:17 remaining to cut the deficit to 42-28. On the Sandcrabs ensuing drive, East forced a four-and-out to take over at the Calhoun 44 with 6:36 remaining.

Six minutes after it seemed the game would be slipping away from them, the Titans were within a touchdown when Ortega dove in from a yard away with 4:33 remaining.

From there, Calhoun's triple-option offense took over. Devian Cantu broke for a 55-yard score. Boerm added two more touchdowns late to cap off another exceptional performance.

Calhoun's junior quarterback turned Memorial Stadium into his personal playpen, running for 271 yards and five touchdowns to help the Sandcrabs stay ahead of the fast-charging Titans.

In two games at Memorial Stadium this fall, Boerm has run for 516 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"We're not the only ones that rolled the dice," Gonzalez said. "They went for it on fourth down too. I think this was one of those games where you had to try to keep the offense off the field. That's what we were trying to do. We were trying to keep their offense off the field because they were doing a great job."

The teams combined for 22 possessions Thursday night, 15 ended in touchdowns, four ended with turnovers on downs. Halftime stopped one Calhoun possession at the East 5-yard line. The Titans also punted once and Ortega was intercepted by Taylor Lee with 21 seconds left in the game.

"We felt like they had some players who could make plays and score some points. We also felt good about our offense," said Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker. If we don't turn the ball over, I felt we could move the ball and score some points also.

"I had no idea it would be that high scoring of a game. In my mind, I'm thinking four or five touchdowns. They scored so quick at the end and we scored so quick that's why the score got up where it was at. Once we got up a couple scores I told our kids, 'We just have to keep scoring. Whatever they do you have to answer it.' Except for that one drive there, we did."

Calhoun has two weeks to prepare for the bi-district playoffs. If the Titans want to join them in the Class 4A playoffs, they could start with a win over Calallen next week.

The task may be a tall one for the Titans, but Gonzalez believes his team is up to the challenge.