Turnovers help Calvert get back on track
FREMONT — Briefly, there was an “Oh, no” moment. But a series of “Oh, my” moments more than covered the concern.
A couple turnovers had Calvert reeling, but the Senecas worked Fremont St. Joe for six such miscues and turned three of them into scores on the way to a 40-21 Sandusky Bay Conference River Division win at Don Paul Stadium here Friday night.
Calvert improved to 2-3 overall and evened its conference mark at 1-1. The Crimson Streaks are now 0-5 and 0-1.
“Our young men really needed this. It’s been a long month,” Calvert coach Steve Reser said. “To get back in the win column is great. They worked hard, put the time and effort in and it’s great to see smiles on their faces and a little bit of relief from performing the way they know they can perform.”
Calvert had watched a 19-7 first-half lead get trimmed to 19-14 when St. Joe quarterback Chase Harrison hit Grant Stepanic for a 70-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half.
Then the Streaks looked to grab momentum in a big way when Kayden Strecker recovered a Jack Shultz fumble on the first play of the second half. But the opportunity passed by, literally, a couple plays later when Nick Seifert intercepted a Harrison pass to turn it all around.
It was one of four big plays for Seifert on the night. He also had a fumble recovery and caught two touchdown passes from Shultz, who had many more good moments to offset his tough second-half start.
“That was huge for us right there to take back the momentum fully with that one score,” Reser said. “These young men are very resilient, but they’re still young men. It’s always great to come back and get control.”
From there, Calvert was pretty much in charge.
Shultz, who hit 11 of 18 passes for 139 yards and three scores, put up one of those with a 48-yard strike to Seifert.
After a punt, the Senecas were back at it again, covering 68 yards in five plays. Aaron Rombach had a 26-yard run and the TD came on a 31-yard pass from Shultz to Mitch Nielsen for a 33-14 advantage.
At that point, the Streaks were in trouble, coach Brian Spicer said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team win with six turnovers,” he said. “That’s it right there.
“I feel like we pretty much matched up with them, but after they got that second score, it hurt us mentally,” Spicer said. “When you’re down one score, you feel like you’re still in it. Two scores, you still feel like you’re in it, but when you’re down three, that’s pretty tough.”
It got tougher still when Jackson Seislove gained his second interception and Calvert’s third overall and raced 57 yards for a touchdown and a 40-14 lead with 5:01 to play.
“When we came out that second half, if just felt like we had a little more enthusiasm,” Reser said. “It seemed like we had more enthusiasm on the field, on the sideline, everywhere. We played Calvert football.”
The Streaks had bookend touchdowns to open and close the first half. But the Senecas put three touchdowns of their own between them for a 19-14 lead.
St. Joseph went 80 yards on 11 plays on the opening possession. Harrison, who completed 21 of 39 for 270 yards, hit Stepanic for a 35-yard score on a fourth-down play for a 7-0 with 7:28 still to play in the first period. Stepanic hauled in 14 of those passes for 221 yards.
The Senecas answered with an 11-play, 57-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Shultz passes of 11 yards to Seifert and 17 to Nolan Beeker. Like St. Joe, Calvert scored on a fourth-down play as Rombach ran in from the 8. Quentin Ronski’s kick was blocked — the first Calvert PAT miss of the year — and the Streaks led 7-6 with 3:08 left in the first.
The big plays on the defensive side carried the Senecas in the second period.
Vinny Volpe broke through to block Caleb Reed’s punt and Beeker covered it on the Streak 9. Shultz then hit Seifert for the 6-yard score and a 12-7 lead with 7:37 left in the half.
The Senecas went onside on the kickoff and Seislove pounced on it on the Streak 44.
Unable to advance, Rombach pinned St. Joe back on its 15 with a 33-yard punt and on the first snap, Stepanic fumbled with Ethan Vera covering for Calvert on the St. Joe 23. Nielsen weaved his way through the Streak defense for a score and Ronski’s kick made it 19-7 with 5:31 left in the half.
Each team had a couple possessions and Calvert seemed to have the edge with Rombach booming a 65-yard punt and Seislove intercepting a Harrison pass at midfield. But the Streaks got one more shot with 55 seconds to play in the half to set up the Harrison-Stepanic 70-yard hook-up.
“You walk away from a game like this and you’re not mad, you just feel empty,” Spicer said. “You just left too many things out there you wished had gone a different way.”
The way it went for Calvert on this night, a series of “Oh, my” moments pretty much tell the story.