JOURDANTON — Calhoun found itself unexpectedly shorthanded when it traveled to face the Boerne Greyhounds in the UIL 4A, Division I area round.

Senior fullback Steve Johnson, the team’s leading rusher, was sidelined after suffering an injury in practice earlier in the week. Quarterback Jarius Stewart provided heroics on offense and defense, but it wasn’t enough.

The Sandcrabs fell 27-24 to Boerne and ended their season in the area round for the second straight year.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t keep all our kids on the field this year, healthy, because we had a really fine football team,” said Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker.

Early on, it seemed like the game was destined to be another high scoring affair for the Sandcrabs.

Their first play from scrimmage saw Stewart break free for a 92-yard touchdown to give Calhoun the early lead. Stewart would go on to cap off the first quarter with a touchdown saving interception off Boerne quarterback Rashawn Galloway.

“Jarius Stewart is one of the best football players I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached for 33 years,” Whitaker said. “For a kid that never comes off the field, that plays as hard and as good as he does, God bless him, he’s unbelievable.”

Stewart would finish the night with 18 carries for 195 rushing yards and all three Calhoun touchdowns.

Calhoun outrushed Boerne 364 yards against the Greyhounds’ 59. Yet Boerne would not go quietly.

The Greyhound offense forced the Calhoun defense to respect them by spreading the ball around to nine different receivers as well as designed runs by Galloway.

Calhoun led 14-7 at halftime, but a fumble by Stewart at the start of the second half gave new life to the Greyhounds, and they capitalized, tying the game at 14 with Galloway’s second passing touchdown of the night.

Galloway would finish the night 26-40 passing for 298 yards and all four Boerne touchdowns.

“To get to this point, to be the caliber team that we have this year, you don’t just get that. You have to earn it,” Whitaker said. “Hopefully, the young kids have learned that, and hopefully we’ll go to work and get that done.”

From there the two teams traded scores until Boerne’s last touchdown, Galloway’s 5-yard pass to senior Matt Michalec on fourth down, that put the Greyhounds up 27-24 with just over three minutes to play.

Calhoun’s final drive saw the clock go start working against it as the Sandcrabs’ rushing attack kept the clock rolling. The Sandcrabs drove all the way to the Boerne 36-yard line, but running back Tony Hensley was stopped on fourth down as the Greyhounds preserved the victory.

“You’re going to go through life, and things are going to happen that’s hard to explain,” Whitaker said. “This is hard to explain. We couldn’t keep three of our best football players on the field. We just couldn’t. But our seniors represented us very well, a great senior class. I know those guys are going to do well beyond high school.”

Boerne advances to the third round for the first time since 2004. The Greyhounds will play the winner of No. 2 Lampasas vs. Corpus Christi Miller in the regional round.

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