Calhoun to meet Alamo Heights in quarterfinals

Keldy  Ortiz

Dec. 6, 2013 at 6:06 a.m.

PORT LAVACA - Playing Calallen was a lesson learned for Calhoun senior Dakota Ring.

The Sandcrabs went into their District 30-4A opener in September at Calallen rolling with a 27-game regular-season winning streak.

Calhoun had also beaten Calallen in their previous two matchups.

After 48 minutes of play, the score was 48-0 Calallen, and the Sandcrabs' streak was wiped away.

It was only the third time since Richard Whitaker took over as Calhoun's head coach in 2005 that the Sandcrabs had been shut out.

"Calallen kind of hit us, and we had to straighten up," the linebacker said. "We're way more focused. We don't jack around."

Three months and eight wins later, the Sandcrabs are still playing. Saturday at 1 p.m., Calhoun (12-1) will play Alamo Heights (10-3) in the Class 4A, Division II quarterfinals at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos.

The winner will play the Richmond George Ranch-Brenham winner in the semifinals next week.

"That was a very humbling experience for us coaches and players," Whitaker said of losing to Calallen. "We came back, and we started some in classroom lessons about refocusing ourselves. We became a more businesslike team after that, a more focused team."

Last Saturday, the Sandcrabs were put to the challenge when they played defending state champion Cedar Park. They succeeded, winning 28-27.

"We shocked the state pretty much," Ring said. "We're glad we won. We're excited; we just can't be satisfied. We've got to keep playing. Now, this is the most important game."

The Sandcrabs are attempting to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1960.

"I told the kids, now you've done the dirty work and knocked off the defending state champs," Whitaker said. "Now, it's anybody's ballgame. Since we got through that one, why not get ours? It's wide open now."

When Ring reviewed the tape on Cedar Park, he wasn't pleased.

Ring thought a few more defensive stops would have given Calhoun a bigger lead.

"It wasn't the best game defensively," Ring said. "We held together. We didn't fall apart. At points, we could have, but we still held it together."

Whitaker said missed blocks hurt the Sandcrabs on a number of possessions.

"We did not play good on offense at all. My offensive line would tell you," Whitaker said. "We had them grade themselves in here watching film. Some of those guys graded themselves really low. For Week 13, that shouldn't happen."

Junior defensive back Taylor Lee watched the Cedar Park film and saw the Sandcrabs pull together when it mattered in the final two minutes.

"We have to do what we have to do to help our offense," Lee said. "We realize the opportunity we have. We need to have our absolute best game offensively and defensively."

The Sandcrabs will face another spread offense in Alamo Heights.

With the temperature expected to be in the 40s, the weather could present a problem for both teams.

The Sandcrabs have faced adversity before - Sept. 27 at Calallen.

"We walked off that field in Calallen, and I said, 'There's nothing we can do about this one. It's time to get ready for the next one,'" Whitaker said. "That's what they did. They put themselves in a good situation."



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