Calaveras HIgh School took the field Friday night as intermittent drizzle fell in San Andreas.
Linden won the toss, deferred and a deep kick by the winless Linden was no problem for Calaveras wide receiver Logan Arledge.
Arledge carried the ball out from near the endzone to the 38 yard line to start the night.
A minute and 12 seconds later and Calaveras was on the board. The point after attempt was good and the score was 7-0 with 10:48 left in the first quarter.
The defense pinned the Lions back on their 18 to start their night.
Seth Puisis recovered a fumble on the second down of the series and Calaveras had another scoring opportunity at the Lions’ 14 yard line.
A holding penalty pushed them back to the 28 to start the series.
Kyle Byrd took a sack at the 40, pushing Calaveras back near midfield for a third and 38.
A Byrd to Tanner Joses pass and 23 yard gain gave Calaveras a field goal chance, but the ball fell just shy and hit the bottom bar.
Linden took over on downs with about eight minutes left in the first quarter.
But the Calaveras defense was able to force a three and out.
Trevor Madsen ran the ball back to the Linden 29 yard line to continue the Calaveras offensive surge.
Madsen got the call again, pushing the ball down to the 10 yard line.
Byrd finished the drive with a bullet over the middle into the endzone and into the hands of Arledge. The PAT was good and Calaveras took a 14-0 lead with 5:04 left in the first quarter.
Calaveras forced another three and out.
A few snaps later and Byrd handed off to Cesar Vasquez, who avoided just about every Linden defender as he ran the ball in for a touchdown with 3 minutes left in the first quarter. A two-point conversion was successful and Calaveras took a 22-0 lead.
The Calaveras defense was relentless, repeatedly forcing three and outs by the Linden Lions in the first quarter.
Byrd was unflappable in the pocket. In the first half he turned a missed handoff into a five-yard gain. And a fake handoff produced more positive yards before Calaveras picked up another first down. Madsen then carried the Linden team to the 10 yard line with seven minutes to go in the half setting up a second and one.
Joses cruised through the middle of the defensive line for an easy score with 6:54 to go in the half and Calaveras took a 29-0 lead after the point after.
On the next three and out, Madsen caught the punt near midfield and swept left, speeding into the endzone. Kyle Alfred’s point after was good and the scored moved to 36-0 with 2:53 left in the half. Linden wasn’t able to move the ball into Calaveras territory as time expired in the first half.
Calaveras started their second half like the ended the first. Scoring.
Calaveras scored first in the second half, finding the endzone with 7:14 left in the third quarter, moving the score to 43-0 after a PAT.
And they continued forcing three and outs.
They started the final quarter with a first and goal. John Arbuckle ran for the next score with 10:49 left in the game. A two-point conversion was no good. And the lead was 49-0.
The Linden Lions turned to their passing game late in the fourth quarter. They found some success as Calaveras was called for pass interference, which gave the Lions one of few forays into Calaveras territory.
Calaveras recovered a fumble and chewed down the final 1;22 of game clock with a run by John Kelly.
The game ended with a near touchdown by John Arbuckle who stepped out of bounds near the goal line.
After the game, Calaveras head coach Jason Weatherby said his team played lights out football.
And that they did, taking their Mother Lode League record to 5-1 and their overall record to 9-1.
Calaveras will end the regular season No. 2 in the league.
The Sac-Joaquin playoff committee meets today to decide seedings and brackets.
Weatherby said what happens then is out of his control, and his team will be ready for whatever the playoffs hold.
For now, it’s time to refocus.
Monday is a brand new season.