25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

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25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby granger » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:06 pm

BY GRANGER HUNTRESS

What began as a sunny afternoon at San Angelo Stadium soon faded into dark, as did my dinner plans, when Calvert rallied from a 32-0 halftime deficit to defeat Sanderson for the 2002 State Six-Man title, 51-46.

Both teams had sensational seasons in 2002 and Sanderson and Calvert entered the year ranked third and fourth, respectively, behind Whitharral and Richland Springs. Those top two had met in the 2001 final and returned plenty of talent.

All four of the preseason and top-ranked teams that year entered the playoffs undefeated and primed for deep playoff runs. In the second round, however, defending champion Whitharral lost all-state receiver and 2002 Texas Six-Man Coaches Association Offensive MVP Brandon Hoskins, and was upset by Fort Elliott, 28-22.

Calvert, Richland Springs and Sanderson though cruised through the first two rounds. Calvert blanked Trinidad, 51-0, and crushed Jonesboro, 58-12. Richland Springs 45’d Blackwell, 56-8, and blasted Gordon, 74-34. Sanderson throttled Borden County, 58-8, and blanked Rule, 48-0.

That setup a couple of very intriguing semifinals, with Calvert facing Richland Springs and Sanderson against Valley. Both match-ups turned out to be the tightest either eventual finalist would have before the title game.

Heading into the quarterfinals, Calvert had allowed only 40 points in 11 games. Some of that was due to a weak schedule, but also, in only their fifth season of playing six-man football, Calvert had finally figured out all aspects of the game.

But against Richland Springs it was going to be a different story.

This was actually the first meeting between these two teams in the schools’ history and it proved to be a classic, with Calvert squeezing out a win, 60-57.

On the other side of the draw, Sanderson faced its toughest opponent so far in the playoffs, skirting by Valley, 54-34.

In the semifinals, both teams returned to form, with Calvert blasting Abbott, 52-6, and Sanderson crushing Sands, 58-16.

So, on December 15, Calvert and Sanderson faced off looking for each school’s first six-man title.

The Trojans entered the game as a slight 4.5-point favorite over the Eagles, but the game didn’t start the way everyone expected.

Sanderson quarterback Ty Means had a terrific first half. About a minute into the game, he connected with Dayton Scott for a nine-yard touchdown pass, giving Sanderson a quick 8-0 lead. Later in the first, Geo Estrada ran one in from 14 yards out, extending the lead to 16-0.

Means continued his handy work in the second quarter, again connecting with Scott for scores of 16 and one-yard out, to extend the Eagles’ lead to 32-0, as Eric Bilano connected on all four PATs.

The latter score came with only four seconds remaining in the half and looked to take the wind out of the sails of the Trojans.

With the game seemingly at hand, several of us working the game in the press box began to make plans for afterwards. We all agreed that when the game ended we would actually have time to head over to the Lowake Steak House and grab a bite to eat.

But that wasn’t going to happen this day.

Legend has it that Calvert Head Coach Coylin Grimes halftime speech was a volatile one, and his words to his team could be heard through the old cinder blocks of the stadium. Whatever happened, the Trojans came out to play in the second half.

But it didn’t happen immediately.

With exactly six minutes left in the third, Darius Smith finally broke free, getting Calvert on the board with a 28-yard run. The pass attempt failed and with only 16 minutes remaining in the game, the Trojans still trailed, 32-6.

Possessions were exchanged, then the scoring onslaught ensued.

Calvert drove to their own 1-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Sanderson took over, but immediately fumbled on the next play.

Calvert scored quickly and in rapid succession. The first was a Greg Ford 1-yard run at the 2:40 mark of the third. After recovering the ensuing kickoff, Smith added another 7-yard run with 1:58 remaining, cutting the lead to 32-18. After another quick turnaround, he broke a third touchdown run, this time for 63-yards. The Sanderson lead had now been cut to 32-25.

There was no more talk of a shutout or going home early. We had a ballgame on our hands.

And Sanderson wasn’t giving up so easily. The Eagles responded with a drive of their own, as Andy Martinez raced 57-yards for a touchdown, to extend the Sanderson lead back to 38-25 with only 18 seconds remaining in the third period.

Calvert wasn’t done and their explosive plays kept coming. After the ensuing kickoff, Ford connected with Herbert Kinney for 18 yards and another score. The one-point conversion was good for a second time and the lead was down to 38-32 entering the fourth.

The Trojans amazingly took their first lead of the game, 39-38, less than a minute into the fourth when Smith broke through for a 60-yard run and Torre Grimes connected with Ford for the conversion.

Calvert looked to put the game away when Smith broke free again, scoring on a 28-yard scamper with only 2:34 left in the game. The PAT pass failed, but their lead was extended to 45-38.

Sanderson wasn’t done. The Eagles drove down the field and Means again connected with Scott on a 17-yard scoring pass. Bilano’s kick gave them the lead again, 46-45, with less than a minute remaining.

Sanderson did not kick deep, to prevent a long kickoff return, but Calvert recovered, gaining good field position.

Just a few plays later, Darius Smith caught a pass from Herbert McKinney and raced 50 yards to pay dirt. Despite missing the PAT, the Trojans held on for a 51-46 victory and the title.

Despite not scoring on their first possession of the second half, Calvert then scored on eight of its final nine possessions. Only one of those scoring drives took more than two plays. Three scoring drives were only one play.

One of the least covered stories was the fact that very few, outside the Sanderson faithful, noticed that all-state linebacker Paul Green was missing during the second half. Make no mistake that Calvert stepped up their game, but Green had been an integral part of the Eagle defense. He was later named 2002 Texas Six-Man Coaches Association Defensive MVP.

Smith led all runners with 207 yards on 16 carries with five touchdowns, while Martinez led Sanderson with 144 yards on 11 carries. Sanderson’s Scott led all receivers with 8 catches for 95 yards. Darius Smith, the game’s MVP, also had 89 yards and another score on only three catches.

NOTES
-- Coylin Grimes was later named Coach of the Year
-- Hoskins was a two-time Division I All-American in the decathlon and heptathlon at Liberty University
-- Calvert's Darrius Smith (RB), Brian Ford (TE), Tijon Green (DL), Greg Ford (CB) and Sanderson's Dayton Scott (SE), Junior Newman (SE), Andy Martinez (ST), Eric Sanchez (DL) and Steve Fuentes (CB) dominated the First Team All-State selections that year.

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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby Leman Saunders » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:18 pm

I was at the Richland Springs v Calvert game (as well as the state game)...man that was a good one...RS kept on facing 4th and forever downs and kept on converting on them breathing life back into their team...but Calvert hung on for the win!

At the state game a friend of mine left at halftime...bad move in retrospect
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby markf » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:12 pm

Me to was at the Calvert - RS game, great game,and the state game in San Angelo,it was a beautiful day,at halftime I felt so bad for dragging my wife from Mesquite Tx to San Angelo to see a 45 er,I told her over and over, I'm sorry for dragging you to this,later on she was freaking out biting her nails to the quick,it was a day I will never forget and those who stayed I'm sure feel the same way
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby Blue Bird » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:07 am

If I remember the sequence of events correctly, I saw Brian Ford leading Paul Greene by the arm to the Sanderson sideline. This was after Calvert had scored their first TD in the third quarter and had their try for the EP. I thought then that he probably had a concussion and had no clue where at. In those days I would catch Calvert two or three times a year. I always thought Brian Ford was a class act on the football field.
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby markf » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:29 pm

Brian Ford from what I saw was a class act on the football field,maybe I'm thinking a year before the San Angelo game,it was a playoff game in Hico when in my opinion Calvert was the better team,but due to three touchdowns being called back due to holding penalties,seems the flags we're tossed way after the play, Brian Ford held his composure when in fact me and many of the others sitting on the Calvert side couldn't ,oh well that is-was a game for another day
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby granger » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:48 am

One thing I just remembered was that I drove to and from that game from Dallas that day. I had to cover the NCAA Men's College Cup (D1 Soccer final four) at SMU. I covered games that Friday and then had to be back for the championship game on Sunday.

I had no memory of the teams playing for that championship until I just Googled it. Funny how that happens.
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby Johnny South » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:13 pm

Leman Saunders wrote:I was at the Richland Springs v Calvert game (as well as the state game)...man that was a good one...RS kept on facing 4th and forever downs and kept on converting on them breathing life back into their team...but Calvert hung on for the win.


The Richland Springs kicking sensation, Freshman Alvaro Avila, injured his foot near the first of the game and was unable to kickoff or kick extra points. The Coyotes had just taken him for granted all season as most of his kickoffs were out of the end zone, and his extra points were almost automatic. The field position for Calvert on kickoffs was greatly improved, and extra points for RS were few and far between. RS actually scored one more touchdown than Calvert, but lost the game. The game was very exciting from start to finish. Enough so that RS spreadback Jared Hicks's grandfather suffered a heart attack in the stands.

As good as the Ford boys were, you might expect them to be just a little bit cocky. But I'll tell you that they were just the opposite. Like MarkF mentioned, the Calvert team, players and coaches alike were a class act. They were some of the most humble, respectful and courteous that I have ever been around. Both teams ate at the same Restaurant there in Gatesville after the game. Calvert arrived first and when RS came in, the entire Calvert team stood and cheered the Coyotes as they entered. Great sportsmanship.
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 2002 Calvert

Postby Rcblank85 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:17 pm

Now that's the kind of stuff I like reading. Thanks for sharing that story Johnny South.
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