By Moses Leos III
Like a pair of prized pugilists, the McCallum Knights and Lehman Lobos went punch for punch Thursday night in House Park. Both teams combined for 91 points and 1,057 yards of total offense.
But six touchdowns from McCallum’s Clement Jones, the last in overtime, hurt the Lobos in a hard fought 49-42 loss.
“We made some mistakes, we did some things alignment wise, but what it comes down to is that kid is a real good player,” Lehman head coach Todd Raymond said.
Jones, who rushed for 332 yards, asserted his dominance early. McCallum held a 13-7 lead after a quarter via two scores from Jones.
Momentum generated by McCallum’s offensive line led to Jones’ success. Lehman junior linebacker Kacey Santos said their ability to negate Lobo linebackers created problems.
“They were getting to the linebackers and cutting us, leaving us a man short,” Santos said. “They got to [our]linebackers. We gave up too many big plays.”
Lehman’s offense got off to a slow start, but revved up in the second quarter. Distributing the ball effectively and mixing play calls played a vital role. That, along with the physicality of the offensive line, allowed Lehman to retaliate.
Behind senior quarterback Jeremy Schilhab, Lehman scored 14 unanswered points to take a 21-13 lead. Schilhab gained 431 total yards, 229 through the air.
And then began a wild scoring frenzy. Lehman and McCallum combined for 35 points in the final six minutes of the first half, all in only 18 total plays.
By halftime, Lehman and McCallum tied 35-35. In 24 minutes, both teams combined for 685 yards of offense. Jones rushed for five scores, while Schilhab had two. Fifty points were scored in the second quarter alone.
For Schilhab, everything was clicking offensively — from the line to the wide receivers. Responding to every McCallum scoring drive was important.
“If we are going to outscore them, that’s what [we’re] going to do,” Schilhab said. “All you can do is fight. That’s what it comes down to.”
The offense stopped in the second half. Lehman and McCallum adjusted defensively, giving up 14 combined points in 24 minutes.
Raymond said it took a half to adjust, due in part to McCallum switching quarterbacks before the game. Ultimately, wearing down the Knights on offense helped. For Santos, it was the defense’s ability to fight and not give up space.
“We couldn’t give them an inch. If we did, they would go to the house,” Santos said. “We did better after halftime. We should have brought it the whole game.”
But McCallum had one last chance to win with a field goal in the final seconds. Lehman defensive back Za’Quan Campell came through with the block, sending it to overtime.
However, Lehman couldn’t contain Jones in the extra session. He needed only two plays to punch in his sixth score.
“He is a great player. He’s quick. He can bounce it outside,” Santos said. “It’s hard to stop him. He’s a dynamic player. They are a very dynamic team.”
Lehman tried to counter on its overtime possession. A deflected ball on fourth down ended their hopes.
While loss was tough, Raymond lauded his team’s fight. Continued progress on offense and working on the defense is the focus.
“We improved a lot [from last week to this week],” Schilhab said. “That’s what I’m the most proud of.”