Calvert grounds out victory against?Lakota

When Calvert coach Todd Fox said he was going to revamp the offense, he didn’t mention punting the punt play.

The Senecas threw out the punt play and the kickoff on Friday night and it had no ill effects as Calvert cracked the goose egg in the win column with a 33-6 victory against Lakota at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

“We down last weekend as a team and we thought our players were playing not to lose. This whole week, we didn’t rep a single deep kick. We didn’t rep a single deep punt. We said we were going to fake them all and onside them all,” Fox said. “It was more for us that we’re going out to win the game and not playing not to lose. It’s just the mentality we needed to shift for our guys.”

The mentality shifted and so did the stat sheet.

Fox said they were going to focus on running the ball and that’s what they did 62 times Friday to the tune of 323 yards. Leading the charge was quarterback Tyler Long, who rolled up 162 yards and two scores and threw for another.

“It’s no secret that Tyler Long is a special athlete. He’s kind of struggled through the first couple of games. He’s trying to probably do too much with the passing game and what we know he can do is the running game. So we got him back in his comfort zone a little bit today. Now that he’s in his comfort zone running, I’d like to see what we can do with his passing game but in this (weather) mess, you can’t really do anything.”

Lakota coach Dave Vodika said it was clear pretty early what the Senecas wanted to do.

“He’s a good runner. They came out determined to establish that and they did a good job,” Vodika said. “Kudos to their staff, to their team. Calvert is where we want to be some day.”

Punter Michael Smith even rolled up 33 yards on two fake punts. It was just two of the eight times Calvert went for it on fourth down, and they converted on seven of those.

“We’re going to come out to win. Not that we’re going to do that every game but a statement needed to be made to them and for us that this is what we’ve got to do: stop playing not to lose,” Fox said.

The first fake punt came on the first drive when four downs in, Smith busted a 26-yard run to keep the drive alive, which ended with Long scoring four plays later.

“That first fake punt really hurt us because we had played pretty good,” Vodika said. “There’s some lessons to be learned.”

Meanwhile, Lakota couldn’t get anything going offensively until 25 seconds remained in the half when Colin Timmons, who threw for 149 yards, connected with Albert Guerra for 55 yards, who was tackled at the Calvert 1. Timmons couldn’t sneak it in and time expired on the half with Calvert up 19-0.

The Senecas (1-3, 1-0 Midland Athletic League) scored twice more on third-quarter runs by Austin Ball (51 yards), his second TD of the night, and Long (76 yards) to lead 33-0.

Lakota took advantage of one of five Calvert lost fumbles to score with 32 seconds to go in the third on a 1-yard plunge by Jordan Jaso.

“I’m proud of my kids to come back in the second half and fight back,” Vodika said. “We still have a long way to go as a program.”

It was one of the few blemished for the Calvert defense, which held Lakota (3-1, 0-1) to minus 28 yards rushing and had three interceptions.

“We took their run game away and that was their No. 1 thing. So that’s what we wanted to do today and we did that,” Fox said. “We said they had to beat us with the pass.”

Lakota had 121 yards of total offense, which came on 5 of 30 passing.

“I think we played better tonight. That’s a good football team,” Fox said. “I think we got a little sloppy at times and we still have to rectify those problems but I’m proud of how our guys on offense surged a lot today and that’s what we’re looking for all season.”

Vodika said his team will learn from its first loss of the year.

“We’re going to keep fighting. We took a step back tonight against a pretty good football team,” Vodika said. “I know they are anxious to iron out some issues and mistakes. … This one hurts. Give them credit. They played pretty well for an 0-3 team. … We certainly know it’s kind of a shocking thing for Lakota to be 3-0. This is obviously not what we wanted it to be.”