After dissecting the game film from last week’s 41-0 win over Carroll, longtime Calallen coach Phil Danaher came to one conclusion. Unlike the Wildcats’ play the previous two games, it was a good one.

It comes at a good time, too, with Calallen (3-1 overall) traveling to Port Lavaca Calhoun (3-0) for Friday night’s District 30-4A opener.

“We played a lot better. We played with focus and came out and played with intensity,” Danaher said. “We looked like the Calallen of old.”

Even if it was just a glimpse, Danaher hopes the players take heed.

“I hope it makes them realize they have to play like that every week,” said Danaher, whose team lost to Flour Bluff 19-16 the week before. “We try to get them to be that intense, but it doesn’t happen until they make up their mind up and see how much they have to dig to be that way. It’s something they have to learn themselves.”

Calallen took a big step against the Tigers.

The Wildcats finished with 447 total yards and held Carroll to only 130, all on the ground. Calallen rushed for 270 yards and passed for 177, which combined is more than double the 185 total yards gained in last week’s 19-16 loss to Flour Bluff.

Danaher said it all starts up front.

“Our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage,” Danaher said of a unit that featured four new faces in the rotation, including starting defensive lineman Dylan Duff. “We controlled the line of scrimmage and that’s where you win the game, unless you turn the ball over. We established the line of scrimmage and when we took them out the kids behind them stepped up and played to that level.”

The Wildcats will have to do it again against Calhoun, the defending district champion. The Sandcrabs finished the regular season undefeated and started the run with a 27-7 win over Calallen.

Calhoun lost four 1,000-yard rushers from last year’s team, but Danaher expects the Sandcrabs to be just as dangerous.

“If you miss an assignment they will capitalize and make a big play,” Danaher said of Calhoun, which runs the Veer. “But, once again, it can also cause a lot of turnovers. They execute it well, but their whole playbook amounts to about seven plays. We do believe they’ll throw the ball. They’ll have to throw the ball to beat us.”