When a team is dealt a major blow, it can do one of two things. It can lay down and let what happened affect the rest of its season, or it can rise up and continue to fight on in its quest for success.
The Calvary Christian Knights were dealt just such a blow last week when they were forced to forfeit its two victories due to the use of an ineligible player. Instead of laying down, the Knights chose to rise up and pummeled Griffin Christian, 43-15, Friday night at Britt David Park in Calvary's inaugural football homecoming game.
"To come out and play the way we did (Friday) really says a lot," said Calvary Christian senior Duncan Newton. "We lost one of our best players and had to forfeit those two wins, but we just had to forget about those things and do what we do: win games."
The Knights (1-5, 1-1 ICSGA South) set a new school record for most points in a game and their defense forced eight turnovers - including five interceptions - but it was Newton's performance that led Calvary. Newton finished the game with 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, two receptions for another 65 yards and a score and he picked off two passes as well.
"I went out there and played, but it really was a team effort," said Newton, a running back/defensive back for the Knights. "Everybody contributed to this win."
Calvary led 23-15 at halftime, but the Knights could've been ahead by much more. They outgained Griffin Christian, 176 yards to 50, limited the Crusaders (1-5, 0-2) to just two first downs and forced four turnovers. However, Griffin stayed close by using a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 36-yard pass for another score and two lost fumbles by Calvary to only trail by eight points at the break.
The Knights took control of the game for good on the opening kickoff of the second half, when Xavieus Duncan returned it 82 yards for a touchdown to put Calvary up 30-15 just 17 seconds into the third quarter.
"(Duncan's return) was a huge momentum boost," said Newton. "We talked at halftime about wanting to set the tone early in the third quarter and that was the best way to do it. We took that momentum, put our foot on the gas and took it from there."
Griffin Christian never threatened again and Calvary added touchdown runs by quarterback Jacob Ammons - who was 3-for-5 for 103 yards through the air - and Newton to finish out the scoring. The Knights ran the ball 53 times for 241 yards and along with Newton's 133 yards, fullback Justin Moss added 60 yards on 19 carries.
Griffin Christian mustered only 75 yards of total offense and lost three fumbles along with the five interceptions. The Crusaders' quarterbacks were 3-for-24 through the air and they never crossed midfield in the second half. Jackson Sellers also intercepted two passes for the Knights - including returning one for a touchdown - and Ammons added an interception of his own in the romp.
The only downside to the win was Calvary's six fumbles, of which the Knights lost three.
"By far, this was our best overall effort of the season," said Calvary head coach Brian Osborne. "Our defense was flying all over the field and when they threw the ball, we made plays. (Sellers) was making his first start for us at cornerback and he ran with it. We still need to hold on to the ball, though. That's something we need to work on."
Calvary hits the road next week, traveling to Griffin to face Skipstone Academy. Despite the setback of having to forfeit two wins, Osborne said his team is ready to have a strong remainder of the season.
"Yes, we had to give up those wins," said Osborne. "But they weren't region games. All of our goals are still there. We still have the ability to make the playoffs and make a run for the rest of the year. We just have to keep working hard."
Friday at Britt David Park
Griffin Chr. 0 15 0 0--15
Calvary Chr. 7 16 13 7--43
C--Duncan Newton 34 pass from Jacob Ammons (Jeremy Walker kick), 0:35Second QuarterC--Newton 20 run (Walker kick), 11:34
G--C.J. Lewis 90 kickoff return (Hunter Ott kick), 11:11
C--Walker 24 FG, 5:40
C--Jackson Sellers 34 interception return (kick failed), 4:40
G--Lewis 36 pass from Taylor Dunn (pass failed), 1:02
G--NA safety (kickoff returner tackled in end zone), 0:41Third QuarterC--Xavieus Duncan 82 kickoff return (Walker kick), 11:43
C--Ammons 1 run (kick failed), 4:56Fourth QuarterC--Newton 29 run (Walker kick), 10:23
Team records: Griffin Christian 1-5 (0-2 ICSGA South); Calvary Christian 1-5 (1-1). Next: Calvary Christian at Skipstone Academy 7:30 p.m. Friday.