Calallen's Marcus Price is getting used to people thinking they have him contained, before he breaks out and scampers for his usual jaw-dropping touchdowns. The Kerrville-Tivy Antlers bottled Price up for most of the first half, before he took a season-high 21 carries for 246 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
“I just never stopped moving my legs,” Price said. “They couldn't tackle very well, so all I did was keep moving my feet and not stop until the whistle blew. I got to give the credit to my line for blocking. Receivers did a good job blocking, too.”
In what was supposed to be a competitive State Quarterfinals, the Wildcats running game ran straight to a 45-15 blowout over the Antlers. The win advances Calallen to their 10th appearance in the State Semifinals. A win next week would advance them to their second appearance in the State Championship.
“We just have to keep pride in ourselves, knowing that we're able to make it to that state title,” Senior defensive lineman Michael Wiser said.
In a physical first half, the 'Cats and Antlers matched up pretty even, with Calallen taking a 10-3 lead at halftime. But as they often have in previous postseason games, the 'Cats made great adjustments to explode in the third quarter.
“We always come back better in the second half because we make adjustments,” Coach Phil Danaher said. “Our kids are smart, so they knew what they had to do. We made some blocking adjustments and changed up some personnel match-ups. Our defense did a great job and I was pleased with our explosiveness on offense.”
Quarterback Preston Dorsey started what would be a 21-0 run, with a 42-yard touchdown run. Price followed that up with scores of 72 and 40 yards to out Calallen up 31-10 in the third quarter.
The 'Cats defense held Tivy's high-powered offense in check during that stretch. Tivy quarterback Parks McNeil was coming off a brilliant performance against Port Lavaca, but had a much tougher time finding open receivers, scrambling for much of the game.
Defensive linemen Wiser and Dylan Duff had a tough time wrapping McNeil up, but were able to come up with a few sacks, while cornerback Avery Cortez was able to grab an interception.
“You just got to bite down on your mouth piece and keep going,” Wiser said. “It just goes back to all those practices, all those two-a-days. It's just who has more heart and who has more will.”
“We tried to sub a lot of people on the defensive line,” Danaher said. “We don't have a lot of depth there to begin with, but you also have to consider (McNeil's) endurance. He probably ran about three miles with all that scrambling.”
McNeil finished the game with 314 yards passing and snuck in a pair of late touchdowns, but the damage had been done. Price and Sheldon Metoyer each scored in the fourth quarter to put away any thoughts of a comeback.
Calallen will now face the Manvel Mavericks in the State Semifinals. The Mavericks defeated the La Marque Cougars, 38-35, in the quarterfinals. The game will take place Saturday at noon in San Antonio's Alamodome.
The 'Cats lost in last year's State Semifinals to La Marque in the Alamodome, 42-18. While revenge was on the back of everyone's mind, the 'Cats will be just as ready to play for a shot at the state championship.
“Last year, losing to La Marque in this round wasn't fun,” Price said. “We're just hoping next week we get that win, and then we're headed to state.”