Calvert hosts meaningful game with Mohawk

Four weeks into the season, Calvert sat 1-3 and Mohawk was still searching for its first win. It seemed that outside of local bragging rights, their Week 9 meeting would have little importance.

Fast forward four weeks in which two have gone a combined 7-1, and tonight’s clash at Frost-Kalnow Stadium has tons of meaning.

The two sit tied with Carey atop the Midland Athletic League standings, and both are currently in playoff spots in Division VII Region 24 – Calvert is ranked sixth, Mohawk seventh.

“It’s a testament to our guys to put ourselves back in this position where we control all of our destinies and all our goals right now,” Calvert coach Todd Fox said. “We’re just going to work hard and play 48 strong minutes.”

The two teams have taken similar paths to get to this point. Both teams’ recent success has coincided with each putting added emphasis on its rushing attack.

“Both teams played a tough early schedule, are better for it, and playing very good football going into Week 9,” Mohawk coach Erik Baker said. “We both prefer even-front defenses and a strong running game.”

Mohawk boasts the league’s top rushing offense with two of the top five rushers in league leader Gunnar Johnson (1,358 yards) and Eric Maskey (681 yards).

“Coach Baker’s done a great job with them, getting back to Mohawk football and doing the things they do best,” Fox said of tonight’s opponent. “It’s a great challenge for our defense, but we feel great with coach (Pat) Herron and our staff and what we’ve been able to do defensively the last few weeks. It’s a challenge and we’re excited about it.”

The Calvert offense presents numerous challenges for Mohawk to defend. Though the Senecas like to keep the ball on the ground, quarterback Tyler Long presents a dual-threat as the junior has rushed for 664 yards and has thrown for 997.

The Calvert backfield also includes a stable of backs who can rack up yards, and a big-play threat on the outside in Donavon Stith.

“You have to treat Calvert’s run game like an option offense,” Baker said. “Defenders taking specific gaps or backs. They create a great deal of defensive stress with their read option plays coupled with a very efficient passing game. Scout teams cannot approach Calvert’s team speed, so adjusting early in the game will be key.”

With two teams that like to pound the football, extra importance gets put on whichever team’s line can control the game.

“It puts a lot of emphasis on the line,” Fox said. “It’s clich, in every football game that you play, with the offensive and defensive line, that’s where the game goes. This game is going to be no different. It’s probably more of the stereotype with that type of game where that quote came from.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.