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Sandcrabs beat Alamo Heights 46-22, will face Brenham next week (w/video, gallery)

By Keldy Ortiz
Dec. 7, 2013 at 6:07 a.m.

Calhoun's Taylor Lee, left, and Desmon Riser celebrate Saturday's 46-22 victory over Alamo Heights in the Sandcrabs' Class 4A, Division II quarterfinal game at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos.

SAN MARCOS - Brandon Smithwick felt disappointed losing to Edcouch-Elsa in last season's Class 4A, Division II area playoff round, knowing the team fell short of expectations.

Saturday, Smithwick was all smiles, knowing full well Calhoun (13-1) surpassed a milestone by beating Alamo Heights 46-22 in the Class 4A, Division II quarterfinals. The Sandcrabs will play in the semifinals for the first time since 1960 against Brenham.

"It's real special," Smithwick said. "It means a lot to our community that we could do it."

Sandcrabs coach Richard Whitaker explained to his players throughout the season and Saturday that they had the talent to make a long run. Saturday, the Sandcrabs proved him right.

"Last year, it was so disappointing that we lost in the second round. We felt we were a lot better," Whitaker said. "And from the first day of offseason on, that's what they talked about. That wasn't going to happen this year. I just think we're getting better every week."

When Whitaker came to the Calhoun program in 2005, he wanted to bring the football program to prominence. Before his arrival, the Sandcrabs had not made the playoffs in more than 20 years.

Since Whitaker's arrival in Port Lavaca, the Sandcrabs have made it to the quarterfinals once, in 2009, before losing to Kerrville-Tivy. In 2010, they were knocked out in the regional round to Boerne, and in 2011, they were eliminated in a regional playoff game to Kerrville-Tivy.

"We just realized what kind of team we really have and the ability that we have," Smithwick said. "It's special that my class has the ability to do it."

For senior Hunter Boerm, he's had to experience the heartbreak of falling short in November in the playoffs too many times.

"I've never been here this far," Boerm said. "Last week, it was the greatest feeling of my life. It's amazing (to get here)."

Nov. 30, Boerm and the Sandcrabs eliminated defending state champions Cedar Park.

Shaking hands with fans and friends after the game was senior Gabriel Casarez. He knew winning last Saturday helped them gain momentum, but he knows the team is not done yet.

"I just look back at when it all started," Casarez said. "It's crazy how far we've come, and I'm just glad to be here. It's an honor."

Whitaker knows, however, the team can't be satisfied with just moving on to the semifinals. He told the players not only to celebrate Saturday's win but also to keep in mind they have one more step to get to the finals.

No date or time has been confirmed, but the Sandcrabs could play at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

"We're excited about the opportunity," Whitaker said. "I know our kids are excited."

Already anxious about playing next week, Smithwick looks forward to the opportunity.

"It's a big jump for our program," Smithwick said. "It's really, truly exciting to have an opportunity like this."

Game notes

Calhoun rushed for more yards Saturday, 469, than Alamo Heights had in total yards, 291. The Sandcrabs carried the ball 73 times; senior Cory Williams carried the load with 31 carries for 195 yards.

Defensively, the Sandcrabs limited the Mules to eight first downs and just three in the first half.

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