Calvert can clinch playoffs, league title by beating Margaretta

For Calvert, it’s not quite a playoff game, but it’s close.

The Senecas control their own destiny in the Division VII playoffs, even after their loss to Seneca East last week.But tonight’s game at Margaretta has more on the line than just a playoff berth. The Senecas (5-3, 3-0 Sandusky Bay Conference) sit sixth in Region 26, but could potentially move up and host a game next week should they win.

A win over Margaretta also would give Calvert the first SBC River title.

“There’s a lot riding on this game,” Calvert coach Todd Fox said.The Polar Bears figure to be a tough opponent. They are eliminated from the postseason, but have won three straight, and have put up 147 points during the stretch.

Pacing much of that success has been Margaretta’s running back, Logan Graffin.

Graffin is one of the area’s biggest workhorses, having carried the ball 256 times this season. No other back in the SBC River has had more than 183 carries.

It’s easy to see why Margaretta relies so heavily on him. He’s averaging more than 7 yards a rush, going for 1,837 yards and 18 touchdowns.

“Their running back Graffin is a phenomenal back,” Fox said. “They complement him well with passing game, but ideally you’ve got to stop him to stop their offense.”

The Polar Bears don’t ignore the passing game, either. Quarterback Nick Leibacher has thrown for almost 1,200 yards while completing 15 touchdowns. He’s also been intercepted 11 times.

Defensively, Fox said the Polar Bears give opponents plenty to think about.

“Defensively, they give us a lot to adjust to; (they use an) odd front,” Fox said. “We haven’t seen odd front in few weeks, we feel we just have to be sound in what we do.”

The Senecas also have had to heal, as a number of injuries have beset them in recent weeks. Last week, Calvert was without its top running back, Fred Fabrizio. Still, Fox said the team is on the right track.

“We need to get healthy, this week we’re a lot healthier than we’ve been,” he said.

Fox said the Senecas are ready for tonight, understanding its importance without getting too hyped.

“I think they’re excited, taking the approach of workman-like week,” Fox said. “They’ve grasped the idea that this is for a league championship, I think that’s their mindset, they go to work to get themselves better.”And they’ll be facing a team Fox said has made itself better.

“Every coach wants to improve each week, but the strides (Margaretta has) made from Week 1 to Week 10 are amazing,” Fox said.