Calhoun suffers stinging loss to Edcouch-Elsa
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SAN ANTONIO - The turkey has tripped them up again. This time it was in the second round to an opponent that usually doesn't provide the most resistance.
Edcouch-Elsa (8-4) used a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to eliminate No. 8 Calhoun 36-34 Friday night.
Friday's Class 4A, Division II area playoff game was the fourth time in five years the two schools met in the playoffs. This time, the Yellowjackets were not the ones crying when the clock hit zeroes.
"Since seventh grade, we've become a family and played as one," said Calhoun senior offensive lineman Sean Tynes. "This is it. We're done. We were excited coming into the game."
Calhoun (10-1) won each of the the last three meetings by at least 20 points. However, it was quickly apparent this was a different Edcouch-Elsa team when it took the opening drive 91 yards for a touchdown.
Eric Morales' 52 yard pass to Miguel Mariscal with 8:38 remaining gave the Yellowjackets the lead.
Victoria West was the only other school to score first against Calhoun this season. In that contest, the Sandcrabs immediately responded with a one-play scoring drive. After Edcouch-Elsa took the lead Friday, Calhoun turned the ball over on downs at the Yellowjackets' 17-yard line.
"In the first half the offense didn't play," said Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker. "We didn't execute, we didn't block the people we were supposed to block, we didn't run in the holes we were supposed to run in. We made more mistakes in the first half than we made in the entire season collectively."
The 14-7 deficit Calhoun faced at halftime was the first time all season Whitaker's team trailed at intermission. During the break, Calhoun tweaked its offense, giving the ball to fullback Gabriel Casarez more.
Despite a pair of Sandcrabs scores on its first two drives of the second half, it can be argued, Edcouch-Elsa didn't quit.
"We never gave up. That's one thing we talked about at halftime," said Edcouch-Elsa acting football coach Joe Garcia. "We said 'We've played for 24 minutes in the first half. In the second half that's what we talked about 'We have to play for 24 minutes again.'"
"When they scored and went up seven points, we were going down the sideline talking to our kids, 'We can't put our heads down. We can't put our heads down.' Sure enough, our kids didn't put their heads down. All year long, we've gone through adversity, and that's what happened right there, but we stuck it through."
Calhoun started four of its nine possessions in Yellowjackets territory, but scored seven points.
Hunter Boerm scored his 24th rushing touchdown of the season with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter. However, the Sandcrabs turned the ball over on downs three times.
The last such instance, when Boerm was stopped at the Yellowjackets 24 with 7:56 remaining, proved to be a pivotal moment in the game.
Boerm scored three times, finishing with 117 rushing yards on 20 carries. But the junior quarterback never touched the ball again after he was stopped on fourth down.
Afterward, Garcia said he didn't want to give the ball back to the Calhoun offense. His team executed that plan to perfection with a 13-play 76 yard drive that ate up more than six minutes off the clock.
Morales dove in from a yard away on fourth and goal, with 1:31 remaining, to give Edcouch-Elsa a 36-27 lead. It was his second rushing touchdown of the night, in addition to his two passing scores.
Trey Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. But, that was only a false dawn for the Sandcrabs, as Edcouch-Elsa recovered the onside kick.
Morales finished with 216 total yards. He completed five passes for 186 yards, and added another 30 yards on the ground. Isias Martinez only scored once for the Yellowjackets, but the senior playmaker finished with 171 all-purpose yards - 92 rushing, 32 receiving, 29 passing and another 18 yards on a kickoff return.
"He's a good athlete," Whitaker said when asked about Martinez. "We had some kids close in there, but we didn't make the plays when we had the opportunity. They have good speed in the backfield. We had some opportunities, they were a little more elusive than we thought and it got away from us."
Calhoun usually meets its match in the playoffs come the regional round, which is Thanksgiving weekend. This year, they were once again eliminated over the holidays, but a round earlier than recent norms.
It will be Edcouch-Elsa that advances to the regional round against San Antonio Brennan next weekend. The thought of that drove many Sandcrabs to tears.
"It was a great game between two great teams," said Calhoun senior linebacker Geoff Youngblood. "We gave it our all from start to finish. We both played 48 minutes. Unfortunately, we came out on bottom. They are great players and I wish them the best."