The Calhoun Sandcrabs completed a big statement win over the sixth-ranked El Campo Ricebirds, 39-27, last Friday night at the homecoming game.
It is the first time since 1962 the Sandcrabs beat the Ricebirds, snapping a 30-game losing streak.
The Sandcrabs and Ricebirds changed leads five times in the first half, but Calhoun took advantage of its initial second-half possession by draining 10-plus minutes of the third quarter on an 18-play, touchdown-scoring drive.
Sandcrabs Head Coach Richard Whitaker talked about their 18-play drive to start the second half and not giving El Campo’s offense time on the field.
“Keeping the ball away from them is a big thing, and that drive in the third quarter, and what a championship drive that was and over 10 minutes,” Whitaker said. “I told the kids I challenge that offensive bunch coming out. I said this is the biggest drive of the game right here, and this will set the tone for the whole game, and they really stood and met that challenge.”
Sandcrabs Senior Fullback Steve Johnson had a big game against El Campo’s defense, rushing for 242 yards on 37 carries and scoring four touchdowns.
Johnson and his team set a goal before the game to compete against a “good team”.
“This team was going to go do something, and for us to come out here to compete to our fullest ability to show us that we can do things,” Johnson said.
On their 18-play drive to kick off the second half, Johnson carried the ball 11 times and scored his third touchdown of the game, extending the Sandcrabs lead, 32-21, with 1:13 left of the third quarter.
Johnson talked about the drive and keeping the ball away from El Campo.
“We knew if the ball was in their hands, they were going to do something special with it,” Johnson said. “They have three running backs, a quarterback, and receivers that do big things, a line that blocks really well…our goal was to come out here [in the second half] and hold the ball, drive the field like we usually do, and do the triple option.”
The Sandcrabs will host Bellaire Episcopal in the next game, and Johnson talked about mentally preparing to face a defending state champ.
“We’re gonna have to prepare for everything. Our goal picking up all these tough teams is to get ready for district and be ready for the playoffs,” Johnson said. “Our goal number one is to make it to the playoffs, number two goal is to win district and go far in the playoffs and playing teams like this is going to help us do that.”
Calhoun faces the Bellaire Episcopal Knights this Friday in Sandcrab Stadium.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
RUSHING: Johnson 37-242, 4 TD, Jarius Stewart 17-89, 2 TD
Offensive Players of the Week: Johnson, Tight End Aaron Zapata, Linemen Damian Chavez, Trent Woody, Danny Garcia
TACKLES: Colin Carabajal (11), Jacob Laughlin, Esteban Cruz (5), Defensive Backs Sean Flores, Min Htway (4)
ASSISTS: Linebacker Kirk Stringham (5), Outside Linebacker Samuel Torres (4), Five Sandcrabs (3)
Fumbles Caused: Laughlin, Johnson (1)
Fumbles Recovered: Defensive Lineman Roman Lopez (1)
Defensive Players of the Week: Defensive Backs Laughlin and Carabajal