It was a challenging night for the Calvert message-board operator at Frost-Kalnow Stadium Friday.
The "Welcome Football Fans" notice seemed like rubbing it in for those who were already braving the homecoming night's steady rain. And the "Have a Safe Ride Home" flash, because it was posted in the third quarter, was as much wishful thinking as anything.
But you go with whatever in games like this because "Touchdown" was getting redundant.
The Senecas matched a nasty night of weather with a nastier brand of power football in whipping North Baltimore 52-16.
"Our goals are the same - win the (Midland Athletic League) and get in the playoffs," Calvert coach Todd Fox said after his club improved to 4-3. "We have a gauntlet of a schedule ahead of us, but we're ready."
The challenging finish begins Saturday with a showdown with Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic at Frost-Kalnow. The Streaks (6-1, 4-0) are alone atop the MAL standings with Calvert, Carey and Hopewell-Loudon all a game back at 3-1.
|North Baltimore 16|
|North Baltimore||0||0||8||8 — 16|
|Calvert||14||14||21||3 — 52|
|C — Daniel Kwiat 2 run (Michael Smith kick), 7:40|
|C — Brendan Deats 12 run (Smith kick), :19|
|C — Tyler Long 27 run (Smith kick), 10:22|
|C — Long 2 run (Smith kick), 2:50|
|C — Kwiat 44 run (Smith kick), 7:36|
|C — Tim Puesey 33 run (Smith kick), 3:07|
|C — Puesey 29 run (Smith kick), 2:48|
|NB — Lane Bishop 56 run (Sean Watson run), :30|
|NB — Bishop 26 run (Watson run), 8:15|
|C — Smith 32 FG, :27|
|RUSHING: North Baltimore — Bishop 14-134; Sean Watson 7-12; Dalton Ishmael 6-13; Jordan Watson 3-6; Jacob Williams 3-0; Andrew Hollinger 2-(minus 5). Calvert — Kwiat 22-215; Long 10-69; Adam Recker 10-44; Puesey 6-87; Deats 2-18; Anthony Traxler 1-(minus 4).|
|PASSING: North Baltimore — Sean Watson 4-7-1-31. Calvert — Long 4-6-0-27.|
|RECEIVING: North Baltimore — Williams 3-29; Jordan Watson 1-12. Calvert — Nick Warnement 1-11; Brad Iannantuono 1-8; Derek Herzog 1-5; Eric Elchert 1-3.|
The Senecas put together a final tuneup that featured 456 yards in total offense with all but 27 of them coming on a mostly power running game.
Fox had said senior Daniel Kwiat was going to be more of the feature back he had envisioned earlier in the year. The 6-0, 220-pound Kwiat didn't disappoint as he pounded the Tiger defense for 215 yards on 22 carries, including touchdown runs of 2 and 44 yards.
Quarterback Tyler Long and running back Tim Puesey added two touchdowns each. The only downer to the night was two lost possessions among four fumbles. The Senecas never had to punt.
Kwiat picked up 39 yards on his first four carries in what became a nine-play, 53-yard scoring drive to open the game. Long's fourth-down pass of 8 yards to Brad Iannantuono set up Kwiat's 2-yard TD smash for a 7-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, the Senecas rolled the Tigers for a 58-yard drive. Brendan Deats' 12-yard sprint put up the touchdown and a 14-0 edge with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
At that point, Kwiat had already run for 81 yards, nearly double his per-game average.
"We wanted to get back to what we do best," Fox said. "Throughout the year, we've tried to maybe be a little more diverse than we need to be. We still have those weapons, but we kind of neglected other aspects in the process."
Calvert pushed the margin to 28-0 by halftime.
First, Dan Reineke intercepted a Sean Watson pass and returned it 25 yards to the Tiger 32. On the second snap, Long raced 27 yards around right end for the score.
Long's second TD was a 2-yard run to finish an 11-play, 54-yard trek.
Derek Herzog had a key role in two Tiger turnovers to spark Calvert's three-touchdown third quarter.
After Kwiat rumbled 44 yards to the end zone on the Senecas' first possession, Herzog intercepted a pass near the Calvert end zone and returned to the 14.
Kwiat went 53 yards on first down for his final carry of the night and Puesey then raced the final 33 on the next snap.
Herzog the recovered a Watson fumble and Puesey raced 29 yards on the first play for another touchdown.
"We knew that Kwiat kid could run. I mean, that guy is a beast," North Baltimore coach Dino Woodruff said. "But they've got some other guys, too. (Deats) is a speedster and so is (Puesey). And the quarterback can run. They're tough."
The Tigers countered with a couple scores in the fourth. Lane Bishop finished with 134 yards on 14 carries, including touchdown runs of 56 and 26 yards.
Calvert's Michael Smith, who was perfect on all seven PAT kicks, closed the scoring with a 32-yard field goal.
"Obviously, North Baltimore is a young team and they're having some problems getting things put together," Fox said. "But the game we had tonight, that's where we want to be. I really think we're starting to come together as a team. We're starting to see some things."
Woodruff saw plenty as well.
"Coach Fox is a class act. I think he might have taken it easy on us a little bit," he said. "But that's a good football team. If they can knock off those next three, they're in the playoffs. They really are.
"And I think they can get all three," he said. "I wish them the best. I'll be rooting for them the next three weeks."