{child_kicker}High School Football{/child_kicker}

{child_flags:top_story}Calhoun defeats Canyon Lake, advances to regional round

{child_byline}Jeremiah Sosa | jsosa@vicad.com{/child_byline}

FLORESVILLE — “Why not us?”

That’s the message that Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker gave his team following its 28-13 victory over Canyon Lake in its Class 4A, Division l area playoff game on Thursday night at Eschenburg Field in Floresville.

An outcome like this seemed highly unlikely just over one month ago, when the Sandcrabs (5-7) started off their season winless after seven games.

Yet, they were able to pull off the area round win, advancing to play the winner of Boerne-Pleasanton in the regional round next week.

“We had people doubting us, we had people trashing us, people talking bad about us,” Whitaker said. “We never had one kid miss practice. Never had one kid stop working. Everybody kept doing their part, and I kept telling them something good is going to happen to you. Why not us?”

Every kid played their part in Thursday night’s win over the Hawks (7-4), especially senior Tony Hensley, who ended the game with all four of the Sandcrabs touchdowns.

He got going early on in the game, catching a 50-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Parker on their first drive of the game.

The senior then proceeded to score a touchdown in each of the next three quarters, highlighted by a 73-yard rushing touchdown just two plays into the second half.

“It felt great to be able to come out and show out for my team tonight,” Hensley said. “Tonight could have been one of the last times that I stepped on a football field, but I knew I had to do something special tonight for my team, and make sure I played for them tonight.”

“Tony had a crazy game,” Parker said. “I love that guy and I couldn’t have asked for anything else. He showed up when we needed him.”

Hensley ended the game accounting for 223 of the Sandcrabs’ 334 yards on the ground, while adding another 50 yards and a touchdown in the air.

“Tony is a great football player. He’s a senior on our football team. He steps up in big games and we’re so proud of him,” Whittaker said. “But everything that we do is about our football team, and I think everybody did a great job today.”

Parker, Hensley and the offense were helped out tremendously by the Sandcrabs defense, which came up with one takeaway, and stopped the Hawks five times to force a turnover on downs.

One of the stops came from junior defensive back David Castillo, who sacked Canyon Lake quarterback Hunter Anderson on 4th-and-8, sending his team into halftime with a 13-7 lead.

“Those guys are just playing so great,” Whitaker said. “You look out there at (Castillo). He’s probably 135, 140 pounds tackling a 215 pound back. Those guys are just playing with confidence and playing hard, and I’m just so proud of those guys.”

The win on Thursday marked the first time since 2018 that Calhoun advanced past the area round.

“There was a lot of doubt. We had a lot of doubts, but we never doubted ourselves,” Hensley said. “We had a really bad start to the season, but we knew we had something planned and our big goal was to make it into the playoffs and beat the second round curse, and we were able to finally do it.”