North Point loses to Calvert
Cavaliers earn first win over Eagles
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.”
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.