By Ross Johnson

For the Union-Democrat

The Calaveras High School varsity football team won a close game on the road in Elk Grove on Friday, beating Bradshaw Christian 21-19.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Calaveras offense attacked aggressively, going for a risky fourth down early but failing to convert and turning the ball over on downs. Calaveras then forced a fumble to get their offense back on the field. Running back Jake Hopper then ran for a 67 yard gain, setting up a touchdown and Calaveras went up 7-0 with 5:16 left in the first quarter.

Calaveras then recovered another Bradshaw fumble less than two minutes later, but eventually gave the ball back on downs. Calaveras recovered their third Bradshaw fumble with seven seconds left in the first quarter, and scored again to go up 14-0 with 9:36 left in the first half.

The Calaveras defense then came up big by stopping a Bradshaw fourth down conversion attempt with 8:13 left. Calaveras ended up turning the ball over on downs on their ensuing drive, but senior defensive back Nolan Dart picked off a Bradshaw pass and ran it back for a touchdown to put his team up 21-0 before halftime.

After Bradshaw received the second half kickoff, the Calaveras defense again forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back. Calaveras punted on their next drive, and Bradshaw scored to put the score at 21-7 with 3:12 left in the third quarter. Calaveras then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Bradshaw scored again within two minutes. Calaveras blocked the extra point attempt, and with a minute left in the third quarter, the score stood at 21-13.

Bradshaw then scored again with 6:11 left in the game, but the Calaveras defense stood firm on the two point attempt and held the score to 21-19.

Calaveras then punted, but again their defense held, forcing five Bradshaw incompletions before Dart picked off a pass with ten seconds left to secure the game.

“We have to put four quarters together, not two,” Calaveras coach Doug Clark told his team after the victory. “Monday is a work day. Way to battle the second half, but we’re not going to beat good teams by playing two quarters. Way to hold tough. You bent and you didn’t break.”

Calaveras improves to 2-2 and next hosts Stellar Prep on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.