nto its game against Mohawk with its back against the wall in terms of needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive.
During the game, there was no physical wall, but Mohawk had Calvert's back against the goal line twice in the second half with the game resting on the line.
Each time, though, Calvert responded.
A Derek Herzog punt return for a touchdown proved to be the decisive points, and two goal-line stands helped the Senecas preserve a 14-8 victory over their Midland Athletic League rivals.
"Just the fact that you can't give up a score, that the playoff is on the line on that play," Calvert's Brendan Deats said when asked about the team's mindset when pinned deep. "I believe with that thought, we just came together as a group and we weren't going to let them get in that end zone."
Calvert came out of the locker room holding a 14-8 lead but Mohawk got the first break of the second half. Darby Walton partially blocked a punt for the Warriors, setting Mohawk up on Calvert's 23. On the next play, Gunnar Johnson rushed the ball down to the 1.
From there, Mohawk would only go backwards.
The next three snaps resulted in a 4-yard loss, a holding call and a fumble, with Calvert's Austin Perry came up with to end the threat.
"That was definitely key," Calvert linebacker Dan Kwiat said. "We came together. We knew what we had to do. We knew we couldn't afford another score on their part. We knew we had to stop them. We definitely came together, especially on the short yardage."
After holding Calvert to a three-and-out, Mohawk again got the ball in good field position and again drove inside the Seneca five. But once again Calvert's defense rose to the occasion, stopping Mohawk on a fourth-and-1 from the 4.
"I kept apologizing for the offense, we couldn't get them out of that hole down there," Fox said. "The one thing about these guys, a lot of these guys have been defensive starters for a long time. They're pretty experienced and they're ready to defend. That's where we've grown this season mentally, that they didn't panic. They just played their game and did a great job.
"We had the ball two or three times inside the five it seemed like, and can't get traction," Mohawk coach Erik Baker said. "Whether it's a bizarre call, or we bounce when we should be cutting. We still got some growing up to do."
The Warriors had one final chance to tie or take the lead late in the fourth quarter, after recovering a Calvert fumble deep in Mohawk territory. A Drew Loose-to-Johnson pass got the Warriors onto Calvert's end of the field, but Loose's next pass was picked off by Nick Warnement to wrap up a Calvert win.
Constant rain all day Friday turned Warrior Field into a mud pit and played havoc on the passing game for both teams. Baker said that played a part on the final interception.
"Obviously the weather impacted both sides as far as trying to do anything in the passing game," he said. "It was trying to throw a snotball. Drew's interception at the end, he just couldn't grip the ball; he was throwing mud."
With the conditions not being conducive to any kind of aerial attack, both teams stuck to the ground game, taking turns running through the mud. After all was said and done, Kwiat had two words of advice for whomever has the job of washing the uniforms: "Good luck."
Back when the jerseys were clean, Calvert took the opening kickoff and stuck to the ground game marching all the way to the Mohawk 4. However, Calvert coughed up the ball on a fourth-and-1 play to give Mohawk its first shot with the ball.
Fifteen plays later, 14 of them being rushes, Mohawk scored the game's first points on a Logan Stillberger 16-yard run. Loose hit Stillberger on the 2-point conversion pass for a 8-0 Warrior lead.
Calvert answered with a 13-play drive of its own. Kwiat powered into the end zone from 10 yards out to give Calvert its first points. Michael Smith booted through the extra point, keeping Mohawk ahead 8-7.
"It was definitely the quagmire we ended up playing in that slowed down the offenses on both sides of the ball," Fox said. "You were kind of limited to what you could do; you couldn't throw. It was a good hard-hitting football game.
"I knew it was going to be power football vs. power football."
Calvert's defense turned up the pressure on Mohawk's next series. The Senecas forced the Warriors into a three-and-out, highlighted by the first of two sacks by Deats, coming around the end to get to Loose from the blind side.
"Their definitely big plays for the defense," Deats said of the several sacks Calvert's defense came up with. "It puts them in a bind. They're four yards back from where they started the previous play and it's a loss of down. Of course anybody's going to be excited to get one."
The ensuing punt turned out to be the difference in the game. Herzog fielded it on a bounce, broke a couple tackles and ran 69 yards to the end zone.
"I saw once it bounced, I knew I needed to get it," Herzog said. "I saw that I had a hole, so I picked it up and went with it. I just give all the credit to the blocking because the holes were there and I just got through the holes."
"We played as good of a football game as we played all year, especially defensively. Three shots to make the tackle on a punt return and that was the difference in the game," Baker said.
The win keeps Calvert's hopes of a second-straight playoff trip alive. The Senecas now aim to take the momentum from this win into next week's game with Hopewell-Loudon.
"It was definitely a must win," Herzog said. "We needed this to maintain our playoff spot. We're going to keep winning and keep going ahead to get that playoff spot."