The Union Democrat Sports Department


For The Union Democrat

Trailing the Modesto Christian Crusaders, 25-20, in their home opener at Frank Meyer Field, the Calaveras Redskins got the ball back at their own 29-yard line with 3:34 remaining. The Redskins needed to drive 71 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

To open the drive, the Redskins went with a play that had been working all night long, an outside sweep to sophomore Mike Seawell with Austin Weatherby out front as a lead blocker, netting 10 yards.

"Seawell does a great job setting the block up," said Weatherby. "He'll

cut inside and make the blocker go in, then I have a chance to block

him in, then he'll cut out again. It's nothing I really do except get

in his way."

Now with first-and-10 from their own 39-yard line, Zach Johnson

dropped back to pass. After a quick three-step drop, Johnson connected

with tight end Brian Golston for a huge 22-yard gain.

"It was supposed to be a Y hot pop pass, but the guy shifted over,

so I thought I'd just go up behind him," said Golston. "Zach just threw

a perfect ball to me. It just connected right at the right moment. I

should have broke free from that."

Two consecutive plays by Weatherby - one an 8-yard run and the

second a nice 11-yard swing pass from Johnson - moved the ball to the

Modesto Christian 20-yard line.

Runs by Seawell, Hodgson and Weaver took the ball down to the

Crusaders 11-yard line. Calaveras was facing fourth-and-1 with 0:38

remaining. A quarterback sneak by Johnson gave the Redskins two yards

and the first down.

Calaveras was now facing first-and-goal at the Modesto 9-yard line.

They had traveled 62 yards, but still needed nine more yards for the

winning score and were running short on time.

Another run by Johnson took it down to the 4-yard line. But from

there, the Crusaders' defense would make a stand, forcing three

consecutive incomplete passes and capturing the win, 25-20.

"We were trying to get down into a position to be able to score,"

said Calaveras head coach Jason Weatherby. "We drove the ball quite a

ways and got down there pretty close. And then basically ran out of

time. If we had another minute on the clock or another timeout, it

might be a different story. But we just couldn't get it."

Coming into the game, the Crusaders had shown the ability to put

points on the board scoring 41 points and 34 points in their first two

games. Calaveras was able to hold the Crusaders high-powered offense to

25, so in that sense it was a real solid effort from the Redskins.

"The defense overall did good," said Calaveras defensive

coordinator Doug Clark. "That quarterback's excellent, like we knew.

The receivers are good. It's a solid offense. I knew it was going to be

a solid offense. We knew they were going to score."

But the area where the Crusaders were able to have their most

success was with the big play, as they had five plays that went for

over 30 yards. Two of those plays went for touchdowns. The first one

was a 48-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt from Nathan Sudfeld to

Kaden Cline with 0:53 remaining in the first half. The second was a

32-yard touchdown run by Javaughn Iversen with 11:48 to go in the

fourth quarter.

"That fake punt killed us," said Clark. "A couple of deep bombs,

that hurts us. Overall, I think we stopped them decently, just the big

plays again. They marched it and we held them. You just can't give up

that many big plays. You've got to stop the big plays. The big plays

will get you."

Calaveras, for its part, did a solid job on offense against

Modesto, especially in the ground game. The Redskins were able to rack

up 269 yards on the ground against the Crusaders with Austin Weatherby

and Kellen Hodgson combining for 187 yards.

Two of the Redskins three scores came on the ground. Austin

Weatherby scored from six yards out on the final play of the first

half. Then with 7:59 left in the third quarter, Joe Elliott bulled his

way into the endzone on an 8-yard run. The Redskins other score came in

the second quarter on a fumble recovery by Troy McCann.

"Run-wise I thought we did really well," said Coach Weatherby.

"Pass-wise not quite as good. We didn't throw the ball because we were

able to run the ball. If we kept getting first downs running the ball

then we're good. But whenever you do that, a penalty puts you back in a

position where you've got to throw."

But a huge part of that success has to be credited to the offensive

line, which did an excellent job opening up holes for the backs.

"I thought they performed really well," said Weatherby of his

offensive line. "We moved the ball every time. And the only time we

didn't was from a penalty - we had that chop block call that moved them


Penalties were the Achilles heel for Calaveras with the team

getting penalized nine times. And a few of those penalties came in

crucial situations, which prevented Calaveras from sustaining some of

its lengthy drives.

Coming up next is the Sonora Wildcats, who lost their game on

Friday in similar fashion. It should make for a great matchup of two

highly-motivated football teams.

"We played hard," said Golston. "We had a couple of mental errors.

We played hard and just fought. That's all you can ask for. We're going

to go to practice and fix our mental errors. It's all a mental part of

the game. It's just what it is. It's in the books now, so there's

nothing you can do about it. You've just got to look forward to Sonora.

It's going to be a fun ride from here."