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Flyers still optimistic despite 35-0 loss (PHOTOS)

By Julie Garcia
Oct. 5, 2013 at 5:05 a.m.

A.J. Calvo, 60, joins the line of scrimmage at San Antonio Christian high school game at Patti Welder Stadium.

When it comes to high school athletics, there are more spirit chanters spreading cheer than kids yielding footballs.

However, no amount of enthusiastic cheers from the sidelines can be as loud to players as the encouragement of one of their own.

St. Joseph offensive tackle A.J. Calvo has an infectious energy - on the field, at practice and while supporting other Flyer sports.

After a hard hit to block a San Antonio Christian defender Friday night, Calvo thrust his arms in the arm and celebrated.

However, that spirit wasn't enough for the Flyers to score against SAC, who defeated them 35-0.

Although St. Joseph was held scoreless in their three non-district games, Calvo and coach Kevin Auten have faith in the team's chances to make TAPPS playoffs this season.

"There are three seasons: non-district, district and playoffs," Auten said following the game. "My thing is - right now, with us - is that we're not going to concentrate on the negative side, whether it be 0-3 or 4-1; we're going to concentrate on the positive side, which is that we're 1-1."

Calvo, a senior leader of St. Joseph's spirit squad, "The Pit," echoed his coach's optimism.

"We don't tend to think about our record at this point," Calvo said. "The most important game is the next one coming up."

With St. Joseph having a smaller population of students than a public school, Calvo refers to his schoolmates as family. When he went to a public middle school, he said he didn't feel properly acquainted with anyone.

"At St. Joe, I feel like I truly know people, and they're truly my brother or sister," Calvo said.

That sentiment spills over to his Pit leader duties, screaming chants or holding signs at volleyball games, golf tournaments and basketball games.

"We have a lot of people who play multiple sports, and we're all like a big family at St. Joe, so it's like my brother's playing, my sister's playing."

Jarrett Howell, senior member of The Pit, said that Calvo wasn't afraid of getting out in front of big crowds and cheering - even if the team isn't doing well.

Auten called Calvo a team leader who is willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.

"A.J. did make a move for us; he had been playing a running back/tight end all year, but over the last two weeks, he moved to offensive tackle, and he did it without question," Auten said. "That's the leadership in him; he didn't question. We asked him to do it, and he was gung ho 100 percent behind the move just so he can try to help the team."

Game notes

The Flyers kept even with SAC for the majority of the first quarter, but Lions quarterback Andrew Hawkins, wide receiver Christopher Grubb and running back Turner Goudge turned out to be a tough combination to overcome.

"We've got to work on defending the pass; we did a pretty good job defending the run, but we've got to get better in pass coverage," Auten said about the Flyers performance.

Grubb caught three touchdown receptions from Hawkins in the first, third and fourth quarters of the game for a total of 38 yards.

Two rushing touchdowns were made by Clayton Christian (20 yards) and Christian Fornicola (51 yards).

Improving on both passing and rushing of its offensive game is one of the main concerns for St. Joseph.

"We have to sustain those drives and get in the end zone," Auten said.

Five freshmen and three sophomores saw playing time in the fourth quarter, which he counts as a major positive.

After the game, with a solemn-faced group of football players, the coach remained confident.

"We're 1-1 in district, and we're going to make it to the playoffs," Auten told his team. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we'll get there. You gotta believe - I believe in you, and all these coaches believe in you. Keep your head up."

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