Second-half surge leads to Calvert rout
As welcome-back gatherings go, Calvert really knows how to throw a party.
Steve Reser, a 1995 Calvert graduate and football veteran, is back on the sideline as coach of the Senecas. And the return-to-roots bash was as big as they get.
Literally everybody seemingly got in the act in a 59-27 romp over Monroeville at Frost-Kalnow Stadium Saturday night. For instance …
“I was really nervous about it coming in. I stayed up a little bit later than I wanted to,” running back Austin Jones said. “I just wanted to make sure Coach had a good opening game coming back to Calvert.”
It’s safe to say Jones did his part with 210 yards on 14 carries and four touchdowns.
Then there was Nic Somodi.
“He wanted (a big win) and so did we,” he said. “We talked about it all week. We wanted to get off to a big start.”
Somodi had perhaps the turning point play in a game that was deceivingly close midway through the third period. Monroeville had just scored to trim Calvert’s lead to 30-27, but Somodi ripped off a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and the Senecas were on their way.
And the list of supporting cast members is a lengthy one.
“That was very enjoyable there at the end,” Reser said. “There were times in the first half when the game got a little sticky. We started to separate a little bit but then we let them back in it.
“We talked at halftime about playing Tiffin Calvert football and digging a little deeper,” he said. “I think they came out in the second half, they answered the call, dug deep and played hard and I think that showed on the scoreboard.”
By night’s end, everything was showing on the scoreboard.
Trent Cooper, who had a couple starts last year for injured Park Hemminger, is fully in charge at quarterback now and his 46-yard keeper put the Senecas on the board first just four minutes into the game.
Cooper finished with 97 yards on 11 carries with a couple of scores. He also hit 8 of 14 passes for 107 yards.
The defense got the next score as Nick Krajewski picked off Chayce Schaub’s pass and raced 39 yards to give Calvert a 14-0 lead.
But as Reser said, things got a little jumpy from there.
For Monroeville, Isaiah Scheid scored a touchdown with a 7-yard run and almost got another from 16 yards out. He fumbled at the goal, but teammate Roger Smith pounced on it in the end zone. That made it 22-12, Calvert, with the Senecas’ third score coming on Jones’ 30-yard sprint.
Still, it became a 22-19 game at the half as the Eagles’ Dominic Ruffing, who finished with 213 yards on 26 carries, scored on a 17-yard burst.
Cooper’s 4-yard keep capped a 57-yard scoring drive to open the second half, but the Eagles trimmed it again to three points at 30-27 as Noah Smith recovered a muffed punt and Rogers ran 27 yards.
Momentum Monroeville, but only for 14 seconds.
Somodi picked up the ball on the kickoff at the 21 and raced to the end zone and the margin was back up to 38-27 with 4:56 still to play in the third period.
“It was something we had worked on all week,” Somodi said. “The front line was in making a big wedge and I just hit it and took it all the way.”
Monroeville then fumbled the next kick and the Senecas were back on the board with Jones’ 6-yard run.
“Two big plays in a row without any action is huge,” Reser said. “We take it back like that and they fumble, a lot of kids let their chins go to the chest. I’m not saying anybody should, but at the same time, when you come back with a couple turnovers like that and capitalize on them, that’s a dagger to the heart.”
Jones, who was limited to 30 yards on five carries at halftime, hit touchdowns of 79 and 57 yards down the stretch to turn the game into a rout.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and some different looks opened up,” he said. “I saw big holes and hit them.”
“They hit us with a lot of big plays. That’s a big-play team,” Monroeville coach Steve Stecher said. “They have athletes with the running back, quarterback and a couple receivers. They have four talented athletes that in space, can burn you.
“We ran the ball on them; they had a hard time stopping the run,” he said. “But when you play this kind of football, you can’t make mistakes.”
When they did, it was welcome-back party time at Frost-Kalnow.