Goodrich goes over the line for Calhoun's first TD of the game

Calhoun strengthens playoff hopes; whips Roane in OT 17-14

By Gaylen Duskey

A test of character is not giving up in the face of adversity ... of persevering when things go wrong.

Calhoun's character was tested Thursday night in the Black Walnut Festival Bowl and its character shone through with a 17-14 overtime win over archenemy Roane County. It was a victory that strengthened the Red Devils' playoff hopes.

In many areas of the game the Red Devils did not play well against the Raiders.

There were dropped passes and missed tackles and costly penalties, any of which could have doomed the Red Devils, but when the game was on the line, Calhoun responded by going to its tried-and-true rock-ribbed defense and it's all-state candidate running back.

But those things are to be expected.

What was not expected were the weapons the Red Devils turned to take the victory in overtime - a field goal and a blocked Roane field goal attempt.

After spotting Roane the lead not once but twice Calhoun righted its ship in the fourth quarter and tied the game when Paul Goodrich scored on a 65-yard run.

Goodrich's run knotted the score at 14-14.

He had earlier scored on a short plunge and added the extra points.

The Red Devils eschewed the extra point kick which would have given them a one point lead, 15-14, with 6:04 remaining in the contest.

Instead Calhoun tried for the two-point conversion with a run. And Roane stopped it. That left the game deadlocked and it ended that way in regulation setting up the Red Devils' first overtime game of the season.

Calhoun got the ball first and from the 20-yard-line. Calhoun quickly pushed the ball toward the Roane end zone only to have the drive stall.

That's when Calhoun trotted out Michael Sullivan to attempt a 24-yard field goal.

It would be his second field goal attempt of the season. The buttocks of one of his offensive linemen had blocked his other.

It was this adverse situation Sullivan was facing when he lined up his attempt. This time the ball sailed high, straight and deep. And from 24-yards away he had given the Red Devils a 17-14 lead.

The Roane had its turn on offense. The Raiders did, uh, nothing and set up for a field goal try of their own by Evan Kendall one of the top place kickers in the area.

A second overtime seemed a possibility. But when the ball was snapped Calhoun's Steven Cunningham came rolling off the corner and went airborne toward the football and Kendall's toe.

The three got to the same place at the same time and Cunningham's block sent the ball skidding harmlessly off to the side giving Calhoun the victory.

After the game Calhoun coach Bryan Stern addressed the adversity issue. "I am so proud of you guys," he said. "But it shows when you keep working, even when things are going wrong, good things sometimes happen."

"And by the way Michael Sullivan," he added, "nice kick ..."

Sullivan's kick and Cunningham's block topped off a night when Calhoun seemed to be rallying all the time against adversity that appeared to be of its own doing.

On Roane's first drive of the game the defense could not quite figure out what the Raiders were doing and the result was a 14-play, 91-yard march that culminated with a seven-yard pass from Kendall to Shay Taylor.

But Calhoun fought back and when Goodrich scored a touchdown and added the extra point the Red Devils were on top 8-7.

That lead lasted exactly one play as Roane's Chris Snyder took the ensuing kickoff and raced 89 yards untouched to put the Raiders back in the lead 14-8.

But Calhoun had its chances to regain the lead before halftime.

But twice the Red Devils failed to click on long passes that, had they worked, would have resulted in scores.

In the second half Calhoun's defense dominated Roane holding the Raiders to a mere 34 yards total offense.

The problem was Calhoun's offense still was not clicking. More misfires in the passing game stymied some drives while penalties, including one on a long run deep into Raider territory, stymied others.

Time was getting to be at a premium when the Red Devils struck with suddenness as Goodrich broke through the middle of the line and ran away from Raider defenders who chased after him in vain.

But another misfire - this one on the two-point conversion attempt - set up the overtime and the heroics of Sullivan and Cunningham.

With the win the 10-place Red Devils go to 6-1 on the season and should rise in the Class A ratings since at least two teams ahead of them are playing each other.

Roane drops to 3-5 on the year.

Calhoun will entertain Wirt County this coming Friday night. Wirt, 5-2, entertains unbeaten and top-ranked Williamstown tonight.

More to follow ...

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