Calvert going for at least a share of MAL

For one team, it’s about assuring a playoff spot and at least a share of a league title.

For the other, it’s about pride.

Welcome to Week 10 of the high school football season.

Calvert and Hopewell-Loudon meet in Bascom tonight, with plenty on the line for the Senecas (5-4, 5-1 Midland Athletic League). A win over the Chieftains (5-4, 3-3) and Calvert not only assures itself of the playoffs, but perhaps a home game next week and a share of the final MAL title. Should Calvert win and Carey stumble against Seneca East, the Senecas win the league crown outright.

Calvert still is likely to make the playoffs even with a loss, but that’s not something Senecas’ coach Todd Fox wants to deal with.

“Back in Week 5, we talked about, it’s got to be one game at a time,” Fox said. “Because we were behind the eight ball (at 1-4). This week is a huge week. We win, it’s at least a share of the MAL title. We’ll worry about Week 11 once we earn it through Week 10.”

Hopewell-Loudon coach Jeremy Nutter saw his team’s chances of a Week 11 vanish after last week’s 54-47 loss to Carey. Nutter said it’s a shame, too, because his offense is coming together.

“We’re hitting our stride offensively in Week 10,” he said. “I’m really impressed with Derek Runion, our quarterback.”

Runion threw for 366 yards last week. He complements a powerful running game paced by back Cody Malone, who has run for 1,156 yards.

Fox said the Chieftains offense provides a different challenge for his defense.

“In the last few weeks, the offenses we’ve faced have been one dimensional, for the most part,” Fox said. “This week, it’s a whole new monster. Our defense is going to have to play full throttle, and play at all different levels, and be able to defend the pass, stop the run, and it’s a great challenge. Coach Nutter does a great job over there, so we’re excited for that challenge.”

The H-L coach said he’s impressed with the Calvert defense.

“When they shut Mohawk down, that said a lot to me,” Nutter said. “We’ll have to work hard to get what we can on the ground and get what they’ll give us through the air.”

Calvert’s offense will get a boost tonight with the return of Austin Ball, who missed last week’s win over Mohawk due to injury. He rejoins an offense paced by quarterback Tyler Long, who had 282 rushing yards in Week 9.

“Offensively, we feel we continue to fine-tune and get better at taking care of the ball, taking care of the little things,” Fox said. “Really nothing much different from what we did earlier in the season, except now we’re taking care of the little things and getting the job done. Tyler [Long] was able to take over a game last week, for lack of better terms.”

Considering his team’s defensive struggles against Carey last week, Nutter was asked if he’s concerned about going up against Calvert.

“I would say concerned is an understatement,” he said. “Calvert is definitely explosive offensively.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.