North Point loses to Calvert

Cav­a­liers earn first win over Ea­gles

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Bask­ing in the glow of the sta­dium lights fol­low­ing his team’s 28-7 win over the visit­ing North Point Ea­gles on Fri­day night, Calvert quar­ter­back Jack Lan­ham had big feel­ings re­gard­ing what the per­for­mance meant to him and the rest of the Cav­a­liers.

“I think it’s a turn­ing mo­ment in our pro­gram,” he said. “For many years we strug­gled. Many peo­ple con­sider North Point the best in SMAC. They’ve earned that, and to come out and do what we did, of­fense, de­fense, spe­cial teams, you name it, ev­ery­body played their hearts out and gave 110 per­cent. The work showed.”

Calvert (3-0 over­all) got up early with a first-quar­ter touch­down, took con­trol of the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence non­di­vi­sion game with a 17-play drive that con­sumed nearly the en­tire sec­ond quar­ter and added to the lead, and ul­ti­mately came within 2 min­utes 30 sec­onds of pitch­ing its third straight shutout to open the season.

But the per­for­mance car­ried even more sig­nif­i­cance, given that North Point (2-1) is a pro­gram that has typ­i­cally stood as one of the strong­est in SMAC, went un­beaten through the reg­u­lar season a year ago and had en­tered Fri­day night’s game with an un­blem­ished mark against Calvert.

“This shows that if we put the work in that we can com­pete with any­body,” Lan­ham said. “Once again, North Point’s a great team, but as long as we play for the guy be­side us, play for one an­other and not as a bunch of in­di­vid­u­als, we can com­pete with any­body.”

The hosts first scored on Shamar Gray’s 48-yard touch­down run with 2:10 left in the first quar­ter. The touch­down

run was the first of two for Gray, who rushed for a game-high 144 yards.

“The of­fen­sive line was great. We played a great team game,” Gray said. “It was a great win over­all. We beat a 4A school that’s been in the play­offs. We’re go­ing to keep work­ing . ... They’re the top of the top and we just took them out. It was like a lion go­ing against a frog. We came out, ev­ery­body doubted us and we just did what we had to do.”

In the sec­ond quar­ter with Calvert in front 6-0 and North Point driv­ing in Cav­a­liers’ ter­ri­tory, Calvert’s Cody Ma­son picked off a Jemichael Jones pass at the 5-yard line. But the in­ter­cep­tion was big­ger than just end­ing a po­ten­tial scor­ing drive, as the Cav­a­liers’ pos­ses­sion that fol­lowed was the defin­ing mo­ment in the game.

Calvert marched 95 yards in 17 plays, chew­ing up over 10 min­utes of game clock. The hosts con­verted on three third downs and one fourth down on the se­ries, and fi­nally punched it into the end zone on Lan­ham’s 5-yard run with 8 sec­onds re­main­ing in the half.

“That was huge. To be able to do that against that team is in­cred­i­ble,” Calvert head coach Rick Sneade said. “We, as a de­fense, want to force a team to nickel and dime us and not give up a big play. But when you’re play­ing a good foot­ball team, sooner or later you’re go­ing to break. Of­fen­sively, it took us a while to get in sync and fig­ure out what we could or couldn’t do with their de­fense with how they play in the box. So for us to get that right be­fore the half was huge, be­cause 6-0 was not go­ing to be enough for these guys and 14-0 wasn’t feel­ing good, ei­ther. We weren’t re­ally feel­ing com­fort­able un­til we were up 28-0.”

After a score­less third quar­ter, Calvert dou­bled its lead in the fourth. First, Gray scored on a 44-yard touch­down early in the pe­riod, while the Cav­a­liers later cap­i­tal­ized after a Levi Buck in­ter­cep­tion led to a pos­ses­sion that ended with a 20-yard touch­down run by Lan­ham with 4:59 re­main­ing in the game.

North Point fi­nally scored on Daion Harley’s 5-yard run with 2:30 to play. The touch­down brought Calvert’s shutout streak to an end short of three games but did lit­tle to tar­nish what the team was able to do in slow­ing down the tal­ented North Point of­fense.

“it was tough,” Buck said. “Our de­fense prac­ticed hard all week. We knew we could do it. We be­lieved in our­selves. We came out here tonight and gave it our all and came out on top.”

For North Point, it was a frus­trat­ing night that saw the Ea­gles move the ball well at times. But un­til the game’s fi­nal mo­ments the vis­i­tors were un­able to fin­ish a drive and strug­gled to make plays in key mo­ments on a night when Calvert ex­celled in that area.

“We weren’t fin­ish­ing tonight,” North Point head coach Tom Pe­tre said. “We had a hard time ex­e­cut­ing when it re­ally counted. If you’re go­ing to score, you have to fin­ish plays.

“It was nice to see the kids fight­ing at the end and punch one in. Calvert, Ricky [Sneade] does a great job with his team and they won the bat­tle up front tonight. It was one of those nights for us.”

The Ea­gles had no time to feel sorry for them­selves, as Week 4 brings a matchup with West­lake at 7 p.m. Fri­day against a Wolver­ines team that is 3-0, hav­ing de­feated Hunt­ing­town in Week 3, 27-10. Pe­tre ex­pected his team would use the loss at Calvert to bet­ter it­self in the long run.

“You have to find a les­son whether it’s a vic­tory or a loss,” he said. “I think the les­son is how are you go­ing to re­spond to the ad­ver­sity? You were dealt a pretty good hand of ad­ver­sity all night tonight. How are you go­ing to re­spond? We have a big game next week, an in-county game. We get to go back home, so it’s how we re­spond. We’ll get up early to­mor­row morn­ing and re­view the film, ad­dress the con­cerns we need to ad­dress and get back to work on Monday to be bet­ter for Fri­day.”

With Calvert, which watched video of the pro­gram’s 2000 state championship team for mo­ti­va­tion prior to the North Point game, the task is to keep grounded a team that has big am­bi­tions after a huge early-season win.

“We’re in un­charted ter­ri­tory,” Sneade said. His team is at McDonough at 7 p.m. Fri­day. The Rams fell to Chop­ti­con in Week 3, 27-6. “We as coaches have to stay on top of them, be­cause any week any­body can knock us off. It’s only Week 3, we’re an in­jury away from be­ing in a tough spot. Our con­fer­ence has a lot of par­ity, a lot of good foot­ball teams so you never know. We have to do a good job keep­ing that go­ing. Our kids have never been here be­fore, to be in this place and to beat this type of team, it’s kind of like last year when we got a sig­na­ture win beat­ing Patux­ent. This is a big win be­cause North Point is a good foot­ball team.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

North Point quar­ter­back Jemichael Jones talks with run­ning back Omar Poole dur­ing a first-quar­ter pos­ses­sion in the team’s game at Calvert on Fri­day night. The Ea­gles strug­gled to fin­ish drives in what ended a 28-7 Calvert win.

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