Running down a crown: Seawell’s big game leads Redskins to share of MLL title
The Union Democrat Sports Department /
By Guy Dossi
For The Union Democrat
Mike Seawell's Calaveras Redskins football jersey should have a big "S" on the front to replace the No. 34.
On Fridaynight, Seawell was Superman.
He may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but he sure was quick.
Seawell rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Redskins to a 44-28 victory over the Summerville Bears at Thorsted Field to clinch a share of the Mother Lode League title with one game remaining.
"He just runs the sweep so well that when he gets out in space you can't catch him," said Bears head coach Ben Watson of the Calaveras star. "He is outstanding when he gets around the edge. His speed and shiftiness, makes him very tough to deal with."
But it wasn't all smooth sailing for Calaveras as Summerville jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
"We came out expecting to knock Summerville around, but we really underestimated how good they really are," said senior Malachi Stockdale.
Calaveras answered quickly with Seawell's first score, an 80-yard gallop, to tie the game.
The Redskins quickly got a turnover at the Bears on the ensuing kickoff. They marched to the 1 before a pair of penalties and the Bears defense held out of the endzone.
Brian Cox gave the Redskins the lead they wouldn't surrender by splitting the uprights with a 27-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
The Redskins stalled a Summerville second-quarter drive when Emmett Barrett made a sack to force third-and-11 and John Boyes beautifully read a screen and made the tackle for a 2-yard loss.
Aside from the Seawell scoring run, the Redskin offense was stagnant and Calaveras looked frustrated with the lack of production.
"We came out super flat and we paid for it early on," Seawell said. "Summerville is a team that plays hard no matter what. They're never going to lay down and it showed tonight."
With6:05left in the half, the Skins put together an 80-yard drive, that included a fourth-and-1 conversion from their own 29.
The big play on the drive came from Seawell, who can also catch the ball real well.
He made a 64-yard reception from quarterback Justyn Thornburg to set Calaveras up at the 1.
Danny Gilmore ran the final yard for the score and the Redskins took a 16-7 lead into halftime.
But they weren't happy with the first 24 minutes.
"We were caught a little off-guard with how good Summerville is," Gilmore said. "We came out flat and it took us a while to realize that we couldn't play the way we were, and needed to turn it on in the second-half."
Seawell addressed his team at halftime, and his words were more powerful than a locomotive.
"I did some yelling at halftime," Seawell said. "We just played so poorly in the first-half and there needed to be changes. We needed to pick our heads up and go harder. We needed to get back to the way we play football."
The Redskins came out of the locker room, received the kickoff and put a determined march together sparked by a third down, 8-yard run where Gilmore carried three defenders.
Seawell capped the drive with a 38-yard scoring run on a sweep to make it 23-7.
"They do such a good job of blocking the sweep, and do a great job of making little subtle adjustments to their blocking scheme, which makes them hard to stop," Watson said.
"Mike was excellent tonight," said Gilmore. "He plays hard regardless of the circumstances and I'm sure glad he's on our team."
Calaveras quickly pounced on a fumble deep in Summerville territory and scored again.
Seawell followed the blocking of of Stockdale, Gilmore, and Connor Hamilton into the end zone from 15 yards to make it 30-7.
"Danny, Malachi, and Connor have all improved as blockers," Weatherby said. "They get better each week and I have a lot of confidence in them, especially the way they block our sweep."
After blocking to help score a touchdown, Stockdale kept the Bears from scoring with an endzone interception.
One play after the pick, Hamilton rumbled for 53-yards to the Bears 35. More hard running by Hamilton got the ball down to the 14.
Gilmore then hit paydirt again on a 14-yard run giving Skins a 37-7 lead.
Summerville (2-7, 1-4) rallied with a pair of scores to make it 37-21, but Seawell iced the game with his fourth score, a 50-yard run where he got a key block from Hamilton. The score gave the Skins a 44-21 lead.
"In the first two quarters, Mike was his own worst enemy," said Redskin head coach Jason Weatherby. "He was almost over thinking. In the second half he read the plays a little better and was able to make big plays for us. And with the sweep, once he is able to get the corner it's hard to catch him."
Seawell led all rushers with 232 yards on 13 carries, followed by Hamilton with 119 yards on 15 attempts. As a team, Calaveras rushed for 484 yards.
"The offensive line is outstanding and tonight, was a perfect example of how good they are," Seawell said. "They are a great group of guys who happen to be the best line in the league. We are really spoiled to have them and it makes all of our jobs easier to have them up front."
As for Superman, he is 11 yards shy of 1,000, and can reach that milestone when the Skins play for the MLL Championshipon Fridayagainst Bret Harte at Frank Meyer Field.
"It feels great knowing that we are just one game away from winning league," said Stockdale. "We have worked hard for this, and this is what we deserve."