Calaveras High School beat the Summerville High School Bears in a nail biting homecoming matchup of rivals Friday night at Thorsted Field.
Calaveras High School Coach Jason Weatherby applauded the players’ ability to win on the road and the tenacity of the school’s fans to travel out of county in droves to support their team.
“That was a good win,” he said. Everybody felt like this was a big game. Summerville played a good game, but we ended up coming out on top.”
Summerville High School coach Sean Leveroos said his players were “seriously bummed” about losing on their homecoming night, but “morale was high” for the team because “they knew they had a chance.”
Throughout the game, they never held a lead, but often came within three points of tying.
“We’ll get into the film and see what mistakes we made and get better from it,” Leveroos said.
The stands were a mingled sea of orange and black, maroon and gold, at the game, which began right after dark. Thorsted Field was filled to the brim with fans, family and familiar faces, so much so that additional parking and a school bus shuttle from Westside was required for the attendance overflow.
This was a matchup to decide who would take a promising placing in the Mother Lode League, and the whole crowd knew it. Both teams entered the game with an identical 3-1 record in the Mother Lode League. Each play elicited cheers and the tense anticipation of a potential breakthrough.
Still, both teams were unable to break the deadlock early.
Calaveras made an expansive run downfield to the 10-yard line, seemingly coming close to breaking the deadlock. A holding penalty brought the play back though, and at the close of the first quarter, the score remained 0-0.
Quarterback Kyle Byrd was able to sustain control of the ball however, leading into the opening minutes of the second quarter. After scrounging for a first down, junior running back Logan Weatherby rushed a quick 10-yard scramble into the end zone.
The extra point attempt was unsuccessful, as well as a subsequent onside kick, bringing the opening score to 0-6, with Summerville in control of the ball on their own 47 yard line.
It was an attritional task to make the ball down the field play by play, and the Calaveras defense was able to put a stop to the Bears momentum just short of touchdown range. On a fourth down, Summerville opted to go for three points, so senior Kyle Mccarver stepped up to the tee with composure and launched an easy 32-yard field goal through the uprights.
But Calaveras wanted to ring the death knell of the Bears before the ring of the halftime bell. They came close in the waning minutes, with Kade Overly forcing in a 9-yard rush.
On Summerville’s homecoming night though, they were not about to be skinned from their chance at victory. With just seconds remaining, Luke Fulkerson loped his way past the skirmishing Calaveras defense to bring the score to 10-13 by the close of the half.
The overwhelming smell of sulfur, emitted in dazzling glitter from the halftime homecoming fireworks ceremony, lingered in a nebulous cloud under the fog lights at the start of the second half.
Throughout the third quarter, neither team could get a grip on either expeditious plays or advantageous field position. By the start of the fourth quarter, the score still remained 10-13.
Calaveras maintained the pressure during the opening plays of the fourth quarter, keeping the football out of the hands of the Summerville offense for any extended period of time.
On an arcing, sky-skimmed throw, Calaveras finally found the opening they were looking for, putting them within 5 yards of the end zone. The touchdown was imminent, and with 6 minutes remaining in the game the score stood at 10-20.
Three minutes later, Fulkerson ran in another touchdown for the Bears, absorbing the shoulder-pad strike to the ankles right at the end line.
There was 2:30 remaining in the game, and Calaveras held the ball on their own 45-yard line. They kept the ball for the final minutes, leaving no opportunity for Summerville to tie. The game ended at an achingly close 20-17, Calaveras.
Next week, both teams will be celebrating senior night at home, with Summerville taking on Amador and Calaveras against Linden.