Casale makes a big play, Calvert rolls past Lakota

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Mitch Nielsen hauls in a long throw from Jack Schultz, going into the end zone for a touchdown Friday at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

Calvert’s linemen haven’t gotten enough headlines this season.

At least that’s according to Calvert coach Steve Reser.

So, senior Calvert offensive lineman/linebacker Mike Casale did what he could to change that.

With the Senecas already leading Lakota 20-0 with about four minutes left in the first quarter, Lakota star running back Trevor Franks got the carry at the Raiders 23.

For the second time in the game, he fumbled, and Casale picked it up. He kept his feet, and ran into the end zone for a scoop-and-score.

Calvert went up 27-0, and went on to defeat Lakota 48-14 at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in the season final.

“It was absolutely awesome,” Reser said of Casale’s touchdown. “The young man works hard, he’s been through a lot. He comes out here and he fights and he fights, and for that young man to see that, and scoop-and-score like he practices, and make it all the way to the end zone, being a little top-heavy, it was fun to watch.”

Reser said it was a good moment for all the linemen.

“As linemen, they know they work their butts off all the time, and they never get their names in the paper,” Reser said with a smile. “I don’t know why. It’s not my fault. I say their names all the time. But anyway, the point is, that when you see somebody that puts that much time and effort in, and it comes to a culmination on the score, that’s just outstanding.”

Also outstanding was the running of the Senecas senior tailback, Aaron Rombach, who has had his name in the paper plenty this year.

He had another brilliant game — his first carry went for 48 yards — and he finished with 159 yards on the ground, along with four touchdowns.

“It’s gonna be tough to replace that young man, I’ll tell you that for sure,” Reser said. “We miss him already, and he’s still on the field.”

In addition, quarterback Jack Shultz connected with Mitch Nielsen on a 54-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, then a little more than five minutes later, ran for a 29-yard score.

With 3:53 left in the first quarter, Lakota was down four touchdowns.

“Calvert was ready to play, more than we were,” said Raiders coach Mike Lento. “I’ll put that on my shoulders.”

Still, the Raiders did fight back. Franks broke a 58-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, and then with 1:06 left until the half, Logan Streaker caught a 7-yard TD pass from Carter Reinhart.

Calvert’s lead was down to 27-14, and the Raiders were set to receive the second-half kickoff.

But the Senecas re-took control before it came to that.

Shultz completed a pair of deep passes to to Nick Siefert (24 and 35 yards), setting up Calvert at the Lakota 2 with about a half-minute left.

On the next play, Rombach plowed in to put the Senecas up 34-14, a lead they carried into halftime.

They never looked back.

The Raiders were led by Franks, who ran for 196 yards on 36 carries. He finished as Lakota’s all-time leading rusher, and reached the 2,000-yard plateau for this season.

Lento said Franks will be missed, but so will the program’s other four seniors, who played their last game Friday night.

“They stuck it out, and laid the foundation for our program,” Lento said.

Lakota finished 4-6. Calvert finished 5-4.

Each will miss the postseason. But Reser said his team showed heart, starting 1-3 and then winning four of its last five games.

“Fighters,” Reser said. “Our kids fight.”