SAN ANTONIO – McCallum beat the Calallen Wildcats in a game where it did not complete a pass in the first half, drew more penalties and didn’t score in the second half.
It’ll advance to the next round, though, with its 20-7 win over Calallan (13-1).
Calallen had its back against the wall again, down 20-0 at halftime. It had allowed 110 yards and a touchdown to McCallum quarterback Max Perez and 72 rushing yards each to Alexander Julian and Deron Gage.
“Two in a row, it don’t matter where we play, we can play in a pasture,” McCallum coach Charles Taylor said. “We’re going to play hard.”
Part of the Wildcats struggles came surprisingly in its passing game. The usually-efficient unit would finish the game completing 50 percent of its passes.
“Actually what hurt us some tonight is we had guys wide open in the passing game and couldn’t get it off, they put a lot of pressure on us,” Calallen coach Phil Danaher said. “They did a good job defensively. They got a lot of quickness, they’re a good football team.”
The reason being, McCallum (14-0) linebacker Jackson Masters. Masters finished the game with multiple quarterback hurries, one sack, an interception and even more tackles that went for losses.
“We knew we were going to try to gap them out and make them bounce,” Taylor said. “We got that done.”
Masters used his speed and agility to get past a tough Calallen offensive line thoughout the night. His unit allowed only 116 rushing yards, 62 of those on two runs.
“If you would have told me Jackson Masters was going to be one of the best linebackers in probably Texas high school football right now, I probably wouldn’t believe you,” Perez said of his teammate. “Just because of freshman year, that boy was skinnier than a twig. He really sprouted and he really won us this game this year.”
After halftime, it became a battle with the clock. The first Knight offensive drive ended in a three-and-out, forcing a punt.
The punt was high and before returner Zach Hawkins could make the catch, Knight defender Tyrell Washington hit him hard.
Hawkins remained on the ground, motionless as the stadium became quiet. Fans on both sides were yelling at each other as Hawkins was tended to by medical staff, before being put on a stretcher and removed from the game.
“That was a pretty late hit, that kid could have pulled off, he speared him,” Danher said, before taking it back. “I shouldn’t have said that. He came in, was going to make that collision but my concern was with Hawkins. He’s going to be alright, just talked to my trainer.
“He’s being looked at, at the hospital. His parents are with him and everything. The first thing we’ll do is go and check how he’s doing.”
With just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game went on. Washington was ejected and the Knights were penalized for interfering with the catch.
Not much longer, Calallen quarterback Colton Duff took the ball and ran it in for an end zone. His score made it 20-7 and it seemed there was life in the Wildcat sideline.
The rest of the game was bad news for the Wildcats. The Knight defense stood up and forced one punt and three consecutive turnover on downs.
After the game, Taylor said he was proud of his team for beating another unbeaten squad with so much history. He cited critiques of his team, which say McCallum hasn’t played a good team yet and that his defense played its best game yet.
“I think so,” Taylor said of his defenses performance. “If that’s possible, because they play well every week. All we hear is we haven’t played anyone. Well, there’s 13-0 going down right there.”
Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.
Brought To You By