SAN ANTONIO – Going into Saturday, Calallen coach Phil Danaher had 444 wins. After the game against Tivy, he found No. 445. It came with a ticket back to the Alamodome.
The Wildcats (13-0) used the entire second half with perfection as it stormed back to win 31-24. It was down 24-10 at half.
“Defensively, we let their quarterback get loose, he was the one hurting us,” Danaher said. “We made the defensive adjustments there and shut him down in the second half. They didn’t score in the second half did they? Then we scored 21 points? I think I may take that any day.”
For the entirety of the first half, it was all Tivy (10-3) was in control. Calallen simply had no answer for the Tivy offense. Antler quarterback Karson Valverde was having a field day, as a rusher.
In the first half alone, Valverde rushed for 180 yards with two scores to show for it. His passing was a little off, but every time he didn’t have a wide open receiver, he was moving toward the end zone, virtually untouched.
The Calallen rushing attack, however, was as quiet as ever. It’s grand total of 76 yards in the first half featured two runs of more than 10 yards while 14 went for three or less.
The run-first offense in Calallen wasn’t freaking out yet, but it was considering abandoning the game plan.
“We looked into it,” Danaher said. “We tried it sometimes, our quarterback [Colton Duff] was off, he was cramping real bad, I don’t know why. But we had some routes that were wide open and we hit one early in the game, but we didn’t hit another one.”
Coming out of the half, it was a whole different game. Calallen seemed to have changed everything as Tivy appeared content with where it was.
“Family, family, family,” Calallen running back Alec Brown said of the halftime message. “That’s been our message the whole time. Defensive coordinator made the adjustments and so did the offense. Everything worked out well.”
A big part in the comeback was Brown himself, who ended with 185 yards on 30 carries. His three second half scores were exactly what the doctor needed. What makes it even more impressive is the Wildcats offensive line was extremely banged up. Coach Danaher said four linemen who did not work out all week and there was concern how much they would play.
“It feels great, my o-line was able to open up the holes for me to run through,” Brown said.
Tivy struggled throughout the second half on offense. Valverde completed one of his five passes, ran for only 20 yards and the Antlers punted three times. Once on fourth and one near midfield.
“We saw things the whole week, we knew where we wanted to go, we just didn’t execute well the second half,” Tivy coach David Jones said. “We ran some wrong routes, did some things we didn’t do the first half. Didn’t execute as well but couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids.”
Calallen is set to meet Austin McCallum next week at the Alamodome.
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