By Gaylen Duskey|
When it all came down to the nitty gritty in a weird football game, Calhoun showed it had true grit.
In a game that featured everything from a full moon to a monsoon, Calhoun relied on an old faithful formation and an all-state tailback to rally in the last five minutes of the ball game to beat home standing South Harrison 39-32, putting the Red Devils' playoff hopes back on the front burner.
Along with the bizarre weather which drenched the crowd from midway through the third quarter. on came some other unusual things such as South Harrison's punishing running game, Calhoun's daring aerial barrage, a Red Devil kickoff return for a touchdown and an on-purpose South Harrison safety.
Late in the third quarter of what had been a seesaw contest, South Harrison took its last lead. 32-29, on a short touchdown run.
With the rain pouring at that time it appeared the Hawks may have grabbed a permanent upper hand.
It appeared that way a little later on when the Hawks stymied Calhoun's attack forcing a punt. But that's when the Red Devils showed their grit.
First they stopped the Hawks forcing the Hawks into a punting situation deep in their own territory.
Instead of risking bad punt or a bad snap deep in their own territory the Hawks opted instead for a safety to make the score 32-31 but to give them better field position when on the free kick to the Red Devils.
It appeared the strategy may play out when Calhoun was unable to get a drive going in the driving rain and was forced to give the ball back to the Hawks.
However, South Harrison bobbled a play and Jacob Haught recovered for the Red Devils.
That's when Calhoun went to an old familiar formation on offense -- the Power I -- and pounded the ball at the tiring South Harrison defense time and again with first one Calhoun runner then another picking up large chunks of real estate.
The coup de gras came with 1:06 remaining when Randy Fluharty, who was held to 82 yards rushing, broke off the left side and raced into the end zone giving the Red Devils a five-point, 37-32, lead.
After Randy Fluharty added the extra point run made it 39-32 it would have taken a South Harrison touchdown and a two-point conversion to win the game.
But there were no heroics left on the South Harrison side. The flamboyant Dylan Burnside, who had earlier punished the Red Devils with some hard-running up the middle, had the ball knocked loose and Caden Arnold recovered to end any hopes the Hawks had.
The first half was played under clear skies with a full moon seen over the stadium and proved interesting as South Harrison, which had 252 yards running against the Red Devils, moved the ball seemingly at will on the ground.
However every South Harrison running burst was balanced out by the pinpoint passing of Moore, who passed for 155 yards on five of 10 passing.
Moore's favorite target was Branson Clark, who hauled in four passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns -- 17 and 44 yards. Sandwiched between Clark's scores was Moore's three yard run. Those three scores plus a Moore extra point kick and a Moore to Randy Fluharty extra point pass gave the Red Devils a 21-20 halftime lead.
South Harrison took the second half kickoff and marched down for a go ahead touchdown only to have that lead (26-21) evaporate on the ensuing kickoff as Darrenger Fluharty took it 85 yards for the score.
Brother Randy's extra point run gave Calhoun a three-point edge 29-26 setting up South Harrison's last lead and Calhoun's demonstration of desire.
With the win the Red Devils go to 4-2 on the season and will probably have a 5.6 rating and be in 14th or 15th place when the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission ratings are released Tuesday afternoon.
Calhoun is off this week before traveling to Spencer Oct. 16 to face arch rival Roane County in another must win game if the Red Devils hope to make the playoffs.
South Harrison, 4-2, plays at Liberty this Friday.