By Dan Cosgrove|
For years I watched college and professional football thinking the game was about the superstars like Montana, Rice, Brady, and Smith. It wasn't until I started attending the middle school practices and saw how it truly is a team sport.
The superstars would not be as super without the other players knowing and executing blocking assignments, running the right routes, and simply doing all the moves the coaches taught them.
Last Thursday's game proved to me that it is truly a team sport. Playing a Braxton team with twice as many players, and some looking like giants, it took the whole team to pull out a victory.
Our superstars are Derringer Fluharty and Cory Metz, and both of them played an outstanding game.
But the young men on the line like Jacob Jett, Evan Mace, Phillip Norman and Ricky Hall also played a super game. Quarterback Justin Yoak contributed, as did Seth Wease, Nathan Cosgrove, and Jared Haught.
In fact, every player did their part to win a tough game, under difficult circumstances.
When the Braxton Knights took the field the Calhoun fans took a collective breath as they saw how many players there were. However, the cheerleading squad didn't miss a beat and got the Calhoun fans back in the right mindset.
The game started with Braxton kicking an onside kick, which Calhoun recovered at mid-field. On second down Calhoun fumbled and Braxton recovered. It took only three downs for them to score. They missed the 2-point conversion and led 6-0.
The Knights kicked another on-side kick, allowing Calhoun to start on the 50-yard line again. Fluharty and Yoak began moving the ball down field, but lost it on an interception.
Braxton didn't keep it long, fumbling it 4 downs later. Slipping and sliding in the wet turf, Calhoun continued to move the ball to end the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter started with the Red Devils recovering their own fumble on Braxton's 31-yard line. Looking at 3rd and 9, with Metz making outstanding blocks along the way, Fluharty followed him in for a touchdown. After a failed 2-point conversion it was all tied up at 6-6.
After the kickoff, Braxton started on their own 25. Ten downs later they had their second touchdown and led 12-6.
Calhoun started the next drive on their own 35-yard line. Fluharty, Metz, and Yoak started moving the ball.
With 11 seconds left in the half, Fluharty and Metz teamed up again running it in for a touchdown.
The half ended with Calhoun leading 14-12 after making the conversion.
Fluharty had 132 yards rushing at the half.
Calhoun kicked off to start the 3rd quarter. Braxton moved the ball all the way to Calhoun's 3-yard line. On 2nd and 3 they fumbled the ball, Fluharty recovered.
With 97 yards to go, Fluharty began his march down field. He picked up 7 on 1st and 10, then got 10 more for another 1st down. He got another 7 yards and broke it open for long yardage to Braxton's 44-yard line.
As Braxton tried to focus on Fluharty, Haught took the ball picking up 5 yards, followed by Yoak keeping it for another 4.
Haught moved it again and on 3rd and 1, Metz made a 1st down. With the ball on the 20, and Braxton dazed by all Calhoun's weapons, the Red Devils went back to their nukes with Fluharty running the 20 yards for a touchdown. For good measure he ran in the conversion and Calhoun led 22-12.
With 1:17 left in the third, Metz made a great kick, but Braxton was able to run it back to their own 40-yard line. Hall, Metz and Jean Blair made tackles to end the 3rd quarter.
Starting on Calhoun's 40-yard line, Norman, Cosgrove, Hall, and Fluharty held them to short yardage. However, on 4th and 4, a long count pulled Calhoun off sides giving them a 1st down.
That penalty eventually led to Braxton making a touchdown and back in the game only down by 4 points with Calhoun leading 22-18.
Calhoun got the ball back with 2:44 left in the game.
There was a scare when Calhoun fumbled, but Metz was able to get on the ball. The next set of downs was the toughest of the game. Braxton kept Calhoun from making a first down and with 43 seconds left had to punt it.
As important as any touchdown was Metz kicking the ball to Braxton's 4-yard line.
On their first down play, Cosgrove made the tackle and on their second down play, Metz made a great stop and watched the time run out.
Calhoun wins a hard fought battle, 22-18.