SHREVEPORT - Calvary senior running back Brandon Wilson accounted for more than 200 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, and the Cavaliers got a fourth-quarter field goal to nip University High, 23-20, in a Class 2A quarterfinal playoff game at Jerry Barker Stadium.
The loss eliminates the Cubs after a 12-1 season in which they won District 7-2A.
“Tough loss, for sure,” said U-High coach Chad Mahaffey. “The way things went in this game, one play here and there make the difference. They made one more play than we did.”
It did not appearing it would be a tight game at the start, however, as the Cavs jumped to a 13-0 lead halfway into the first quarter on two long scoring passes.
U-High senior quarterback Kyle Crifasi got rolling on the next drive, hitting a pair of big throws in between freshman sensation Nick Brossette’s workmanlike running. Brossette finished the drive with an 8-yard score late in the first quarter.
Brossette scored again late in the first half.
After Calvary missed a long field goal with less than two minutes until halftime, Crifasi first hit Hunter Smithburg for 36 yards, then Tristan Cooper for 42 down to the 1-yard line. Brossette carried the final yard, staking the Cubs to their first lead, 14-13.
U-High held a lead late in the third quarter after Brossette’s third touchdown and a subsequent stop by the Cubs defense.
Then, the first of four turnovers in rapid succession cost U-High dearly. Calvary’s Miles Parker intercepted Crifasi, with “Wildcat” quarterback Eric Talley scoring four plays later to tie it.
On, the first snap after the ensuing kickoff, the Cavs’ Russell McNabb fell on a fumbled exchange, setting up the eventual winning field goal by Tyler Sears from 27 yards.
Calvary (11-2) was without starting quarterback, Nik McCarty, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. Backup Weston Steelhammer more than held his own. In addition to his 9-of-12 passing for 170 yards and two touchdowns, the lanky senior intercepted a pass with U-High driving early in the fourth quarter that allowed the Cavs to burn a large portion of the remaining clock.
Finally, Talley sealed the game when he picked off Crifasi with just more than a minute to play.
Brossette finished with 98 yards rushing on 23 carries and 14 yards receiving. Crifasi completed nine of his first 12 passes for 170 yards. He finished 11 of 21 for 194 yards.
“That was as physical a contest as I’ve experienced,” said Calvary coach John Bachman. “They came to play and so did we. These are the kinds of games that you look back on as essential to building a program.”
The win advances Calvary to the semifinals for the third time, where they will face Winnfield for a chance at the state 2A title.