Calhoun wins in no-doubt fashion over East

Oct. 8, 2011 at 5:08 a.m.

Calhoun’s Nathan Gonzalez raises a hand in the air as the players prepare to exit the field after they defeated Victoria East 53-7 Friday night at Sandcrab Stadium in Port Lavaca.  ANGELI WRIGHT/AWRIGHT@VICAD.COM

Calhoun’s Nathan Gonzalez raises a hand in the air as the players prepare to exit the field after they defeated Victoria East 53-7 Friday night at Sandcrab Stadium in Port Lavaca. ANGELI WRIGHT/AWRIGHT@VICAD.COM

PORT LAVACA – A half hour before kickoff three friends walking into Sandcrab Stadium predicted the final score would be 52-7.

Considering one man wore red, what transpired Friday was the antithesis of his lofty expectations.

Calhoun provided a statement of intent for the rest of District 30-4A with its 53-7 dismantling of reigning district champions Victoria East.

“It’s just a pretty good country whoopin’,” said East head coach Mickey Finley. “There ain’t much you can say about that. They outplayed us. They did everything a lot better than we did. We turned the ball over early and took ourselves out of what we planed to do, and they played well.”

The Sandcrabs used a physical and exhausting 99-yard touchdown drive in their opening series to set the tone. Daniel Brooks plowed over two East defenders as he capped off the possession with a 13-yard touchdown run with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.

“We really preach hard about first drives in the first half and first drives in the second half,” said Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker. “I thought that was really big drive in the game, it set the tone for us offensively.”

If Calhoun’s drive was not demoralizing enough, East put the football on the ground two plays later.

Johnathan Garner tried to pitch the football to Charles Diggs on an option, but the ball rolled along the ground. Diggs tried to pick it up, but couldn’t hold on. Garner did the same. Someone popped Garner, jarring the football loose again, which allowed Nick McCrory to scoop it up for a Calhoun touchdown.

It was the first of six fumbles for the Titans. On four occasions, Calhoun recovered.

Garner, who has been the Titans tailback through five games, lined up at quarterback because Brandon Salazar did not dress out Friday night. Starting quarterback Nic Wallace returned for East less than six weeks after tearing his ACL, but mostly played on defense. Wallace did see some snaps at quarterback, as did junior Cameron Schultz, but the Sandcrab defense was too dominant.

“We thought they were going to be all that, but they didn’t come out and play,” said Calhoun senior Alex Trevino. “We executed tonight. We tackled the quarterback. He scored, but we didn’t let him get yards.”

Calhoun (6-0, 1-0) ran for 499 yards, while the Titans (2-4, 0-1) mustered just 114 total yards. As comprehensive as the win may have been, Whitaker said his team has to improve its special teams play, and they must put the ball in the end zone when forcing turnovers inside their opponents 30 yard line—something Calhoun twice failed to do.

Calhoun left tackle Thaelen Villarreal said the offensive line wanted to come out and win the leverage battles against the Titans 3-4 defensive alignment. He added that alignment provided opportunities on the inside, which Griffith exploited, before opening up space for Loya and Brooks.

Brooks ran for 114 yards and the opening touchdown. Quarterback Joseph Bargas had 141 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Griffith ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns, while Jeremy Loya needed just eight touches to amass 137 total yards and a touchdown.

Griffiths’ teammates call him “The Beast” because the senior fullback is so difficult to tackle. He said the Sandcrabs effort was the key to their comprehensive victory. Whether its diving head first to recover a kickoff that East muffed, or gang tackling Garner and Diggs, Griffith believes his team wanted it more.

“We didn’t take plays off,” Griffith said. “We gave 100 percent on every play. We made them hurt with everything we did.”

Wallace was likely already hurting before the game started. But he gritted it out all evening at middle linebacker for the Titans. When he was not making plays, senior defensive back Justin Kalinowski was hawking down Loya, Brooks and Bargas after long runs.

“We’ve been playing on him coming back,” Finley said of Wallace. “He’s just not near full speed. He’s out there on one leg. He wants to play so bad. He did some great things on defense and on offense he provided leadership.”

East’s fourth straight loss was nothing short of disappointing for Kalinowski. He said a collective lack of execution at the outset led to “everything going downhill from the beginning.”



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