Calhoun looks to take the sting out of Edcouch-Elsa

Nov. 22, 2012 at 5:22 a.m.

There wasn't even a celebratory period for the Edcouch-Elsa football team after its bi-district win last week.

Within minutes of eliminating Corpus Christi Miller, Edcouch-Elsa was already looking forward to a rematch with its playoff nemesis. In this season of thanks, the Yellowjackets (7-4) may rue wishing to play undefeated Calhoun in the Class 4A, Division II area playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

"Anytime we play Port Lavaca, you can pretty much say it's a rivalry game," Edcouch-Elsa acting coach Joe Garcia told after his team's Nov. 16 win. "They know we got to get up and have a great game against them. They are a great team, but so are we."

Kickoff in this perennial playoff pairing will be at 7:30 p.m. at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.

This will be the fifth time the schools have met in the playoffs, and the fourth in five years. Calhoun (10-0) has won the last three contests, including a 34-13 victory last year. The Sandcrabs only loss was a 39-18 setback in 2006 - which concluded their first playoff run in 45 years.

"They are very physical and we are very physical," said Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker. "You have two teams that certainly know each other. It's somewhat of a rivalry now. Both teams are going to draw each other's best. It's certainly been a good matchup the last few years."

Not only has Calhoun taken the sting out of the Yellowjackets recently, but Edcouch-Elsa forfeited non-district victories over Weslaco and Laredo Alexander because the team practiced for more than the eight hours per week allowable under University Interscholastic Rules.

Whitaker said the biggest challenge Friday night will be matching the motivation of his opponents.

"We're the team that's ended their playoffs three out of the last four years," Whitaker said. "Anytime you face someone like that there is a lot of motivation. Just like last year, Edcouch is coming out with all bells firing. We're going to have to come out early and sustain their early onslaught."

Calhoun committed four turnovers in the 2011 renewal of the rivalry. Through nearly 18 minutes the Sandcrabs were tied with the Yellowjackets; however, a Trey Robinson 35-yard interception return with 6:59 left in the second quarter changed the tide in that contest.

Robinson returns to a defense that held Floresville to 274 offensive yards and 3.6 yards per rushing attempt in a 48-21 bi-district win last week.

Calhoun led its bi-district contest 48-14 after three quarters, which continues a trend for the Sandcrabs. In nine of Calhoun's 10 games this season, they have led by two touchdowns entering the fourth quarter - the only exception was a district-opening contest against Calallen.

The Sept. 28 game against Calallen was also the last time the Sandcrabs were tested for a full four quarters, which may explain why 75 of the 181 points the Sandcrabs have allowed this year have been in the fourth quarter.

Nevertheless, Whitaker is well aware his team will have to play 48 minutes of football to move on to the regional round for the fifth straight year.

"I thought we were very fresh last week," Whitaker said. "We moved the ball around very well. With five different kids scoring it shows we are not a one-man team or a two-man team. That's what we're preaching this week, 'It's going to take a team effort.' Hopefully, we'll do the same."



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