Calvert rushes by Blue Devils
Calvert absorbed some adversity early on. Then, behind a strong offensive line, its three pronged ground attack ran through it.
Austin Jones ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and hauled in a screen from quarterback Trent Cooper that he took 71 yards to the house. Cooper ran for 68 yards and two scores. And Aaron Rombach broke a 31-yard touchdown run and finished with 59 yards on five carries, all of which came in the second half.
Add all that to a steady defensive effort, and it became a 39-21 Senecas win over visiting Danville.
The Blue Devils lost despite taking the opening kickoff 70 yards and on eight plays for a game-opening TD. They had leads of 7-0 and 14-6 in the first half, but the Senecas took the momentum in the second quarter and never let it go.
“Our guys stuck together through some adversity early,” Calvert coach Steve Reser said. “Even when things got a little sticky out there, our guys stuck together.”
The Blue Devils went up 7-0 when quarterback Dalton David hit Corbin Hazen on a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Calvert wasn’t able to respond right away, punting away its first possession.
But the Senecas then turned to a few special plays.
Nic Somodi took a Danville punt back 44 yards to the Blue Devils’ 24. That set up a six-yard touchdown run by Cooper. The two-point attempt failed, but Calvert trimmed the deficit to 7-6.
After Danville answered that score with an 8-yard touchdown pass from David to Alex Holt, extending its lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter, Calvert’s special teams came up big again.
This time, it was Bobby Bremyer who took the ensuing kickoff back 60 yards to the 18. Three plays later, Jones scored on a three yard jaunt.
Again, Calvert went for two. This time, Cooper connected.
It wasn’t easy. The Calvert QB evaded numerous rushers, sidestepping the final one before lofting a short pass to the back of the end zone. The conversion tied things at 14 with 10:07 left in the half.
Then, the Senecas took their first lead when Cooper and Jones connected on a long TD with 6:13 left in the half.
“We needed to try to eliminate their big plays,” said Danville coach Ed Honabarger, after his team fell to 0-2. “Obviously, we struggled doing that.”
One of the game’s biggest plays — or non-plays — occurred in the final minute of the first half. After Hazen intercepted Cooper and returned the ball to midfield with Danville trailing 20-14.
On the next play from scrimmage, quarterback David threw to Hazen, who made the reception and took off down the vacated left side. He glided untouched into the end zone, raising the ball at the 2.
But the celebration was for naught.
An illegal block call negated the play, and the Blue Devils went to the break down six instead of up one.
“It was a backbreaker, because that would have tied it up,” Honabarger said. “If we kick the extra point, we go ahead.”
Honabarger said he didn’t believe there was an illegal block.
“But, refs are human, they make mistakes,” he said.
Calvert pushed its lead to double digits in the third when Rombach — on his first carry of the game — erupted for a touchdown run with 1:57 left in the third.
After Josh Recker intercepted David on the next Danville possession, it looked like the Senecas had the game locked.
But Jones fumbled after a reception, and the Blue Devils recovered. Moments later, David hit a wide open Hazen down the right side for a 42-yard play. That set up a Christopher Greenawalt 1-yard TD plunge. Calvert’s lead was down to 26-21 with 10:02 left in regulation.
Hazen and Greenawalt were each offensive standouts for Danville. Hazen caught six passes for 102 yards. Greenawalt had 16 carries for 91.
Jones finished with three fumbles, but only lost one. And he redeemed the fumble with a 60-yard touchdown run — less than a minute later, that put the Senecas up 32-21.
Calvert coasted from there, Cooper added another score with 1:04 left.
The Senecas improved to 2-0. It travels to Norwalk St. Paul next week.
“I think this is a true team win,” Reser said. “I think everybody did their job tonight and I’m really happy with our team.”