PORT LAVACA – The Calhoun Sandcrabs continued their early season dominance to remain undefeated by beating the Stafford Spartans 63-14 on Friday night at Sandcrab Stadium.
Carried by the legs of senior quarterback Conner Kestler and area leading rusher, junior fullback Steve Johnson, the Sandcrabs stuck with their recipe for success; rushing the ball down the throats of their opponents.
In their first two games, the Sandcrabs have already racked up 1,072 yards rushing and are averaging 62 points per game. But head Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker still strives for improvement.
“We’re trying to get better each week, we’re trying to grow as a football team and cut down on mistakes,” Whitaker said. “I was proud tonight that we didn’t have any turnovers. That’s a big plus from last week. I was really proud of our defense. Stafford has a great run game and can make you look bad. But, I thought we handled them well.”
Calhoun struck early in the game during their first series scoring after only four rushes when Conner Kestler ran into the end zone to put the Sandcrabs up 7-0 with 10:28 remaining in the first quarter. With Stafford reeling, Calhoun’s defense stepped up and didn’t let up.
Junior running back Jarius Stewart closed out the first quarter with a 9-yard dash to give Calhoun a 14-0 lead.
Then, the area’s leading rusher, fullback Steve Johnson, also got in on the ground-and-pound action, scoring on a 5-yard run to make it 21-0 with 9:09 left in the second quarter.
Calhoun’s defense then forced Stafford into a three and out, and two minutes after its third touchdown, Kestler aired out a beautiful 56-yard pass to Stewart making it 28-0.
The Sandcrabs continued to run the ball strongly against Stafford, with Kestler adding a second rushing touchdown before the half giving Calhoun a 35-0 cushion.
“Everything starts with the run,” Whitaker said. “If we don’t run the ball we’re not going to win. The O-line is getting better each week and our technique up front is improving and we’re just being physical. I thought our blocking on the perimeter was a little bit better than it was last week.”
Stafford received the ball at the half but Calhoun’s defense didn’t let up ending a promising drive by the Spartans with a sack by Peyton Salinas on 4th down to give Calhoun great field position.
Then, on the very next play, scored his third rushing touchdown and fourth overall for the game when he ran for 51 yards to put the Sandcrabs up 42-0.
Following more dominant defense by Calhoun, senior fullback Damien Cardiel ended the 3rd quarter, giving Calhoun a 49-0 lead after a 2 yard run on 1st and goal.
“Everybody sees how many points we score, but it’s the little things that count,” Kestler said. “We go back and watch film and we see those little mistakes and we try and fix them. We haven’t really played up to our potential yet. We have a lot of things we can improve on.”
Calhoun had very few mistakes, zero turnovers, stifling defense, and a strong rush game. Coach Whitaker opted to put some of the younger players in to begin the fourth quarter and Stafford took advantage of that, scoring its first points of the night with 11:16 left in the game when senior QB Cameron Peters scored on a 23 yard sneak making it 42-7.
But, Calhoun wasn’t done, scoring on its next two drives, when sophomore running back Min Htway broke a 56 yard touch down run and senior quarterback Aaron Lozano scored on a 12 yard dash making it 63-7 Calhoun.
Stafford scored once more with 25 seconds left, but the damage was done; with the final score 63-14, Calhoun.
The Sandcrabs will host Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Monterrey, Mexico) Friday at 7 p.m.
“It’s pretty cool that we get to play a team from another country. And, they’re like a college team, kind of older guys,” Kestler said. “But we’re going to take it like any other game.”
“Right now we’ve accomplished nothing,” Whitaker added. “The goal is district and the playoffs. We have to stay hungry, stay humble, and just continue to get better each week.”