By Tony Maluso
They may do it in different ways, but Calvert and Carey have the same goal - run right through your defense.
Among the differences you'll see tonight in Carey: Calvert likes to run out of the spread formation, while the Blue Devils' option-based attack comes out of the wishbone or flexbone.
Carey's brand of football is a kind that Calvert coach Todd Fox admires.
"Carey's a blue-collar football team. Actually I'm kind of partial to them," he said. "I love that style of football. Coach [Todd] Worst does a great job with that program. Their kids, the community, it's a great football community to play against."
In Calvert, Worst sees a team that can run out a lot of different weapons. Quarterback Tyler Long ranks second in the Midland Athletic League with 518 yards, and has found the end zone a league-leading eight times. Running back Dan Kwiat has tallied 253 yards on 57 carries.
"They do a good job mixing it up between the running backs and their quarterback," They want to spread you out and run the ball and create the running lanes. It's our job to stop them, fill up the running lanes and shut down the run."
With two teams that like to play smashmouth football, chances are the team that wins the battle in the trenches will be the one winning the game.
"I know it's usually the clich, 'you're going to win up front,' but this week more than any, it's going to come down to who wins up front," Fox said. "We told our O-line and D-line that Saturday morning. Actually right after the Seneca East game, we moved on right away. We knew up front is where we have to win."
While each team likes to stick to the running game, each is more than capable to attack through the air. Long's thrown for 741 yards and four touchdowns this year and no MAL receiver has totaled more yards than Calvert's Nick Warnement (496).
Carey counters with dual-threat quarterback Matt Holsinger who's rushed for 445 yards and thrown for 311, 114 coming last week against Fremont St. Joe. Holsinger also connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass to Brian Powers that got the Blue Devils within a two-point conversion of tying the Streaks.
"Holsinger's done a nice job to get the quarterback position a little but more diverse. But ultimately their run is setting up the pass," Fox said. "You have to respect that run game so much, it does open up the pass game and he's doing a nice job of taking advantage of that."
The game holds a lot of importance for both teams. Calvert (3-2, 2-0 MAL) is looking to stay atop the league race, and hold on to the playoff spot it sits in. The Senecas are ranked fifth in Division VI Region 22 in the latest computer rankings.
Carey (3-2, 2-1 MAL) meanwhile has its back against the wall. A win may be necessary to keep the Blue Devils alive in the quest for a league title and a playoff spot. Carey is on the outside looking in, 10th in Division V Region 18.
Against solid opponents like the one Carey faced last week in St. Joe, and the one they see this week in Calvert, Worst knows how the game can swing on any one play.
"I think we need to execute a little better than we did last week. In big games, one or two plays makes a big difference," Worst said. "This week and each week is going to be the same thing."
Kickoff is 7 p.m.