CALLISBURG — After some near misses in their first three games, the Callisburg Wildcats finally had things go their way Friday in a 42-3 homecoming victory over Tom Bean.
Callisburg scored three times in its first eight offensive plays, jumping out to a 21-0 lead less than four minutes into the game, to past the Tomcats at Wildcat Stadium.
“We’ve come a long way since the first of August,” first-year Callisburg coach Gary Jack said. “We could very easily be 3-1. We’ve been in every game, even Anna. We were right there with them, a 4A Division I school.
“Tonight, we finally put four quarters together. I think we can get better.”
In their first three games, the Wildcats (1-3) were within two touchdowns most of the way, but never could get over the hump. Friday, Callisburg took control right away, needing just four plays to score on the game’s opening possession.
“That helped us get going,” Jack said. “We did some good things early. We made some mistakes, too, let them hang around a little bit, but we’re getting there.”
Callisburg quarterback Sam Lewis ran for two touchdowns and passed for a third, while three other Wildcats ran for scores. Lewis, who was 4-of-11 passing for 68 yards, and Justin Crisp both rushed for 123 yards on 11 carries as Callisburg gained 359 of its 427 total yards on the ground.
“It’s great for our confidence,” Lewis said of breaking into the win column. “It starts with one, then you’ve got to go from there.”
Tom Bean (0-4) struggled from the start, losing three fumbles in the first three minutes with two resulting in Callisburg scores. Dylan Avila produced the lone score with a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
The Tomcats finished with 127 total yards as quarterback Dillon Curd rushed for 40 yards on nine carries and added 61 yards on 6-of-18 passing. Dylan Harmon had four receptions for 44 yards.
Crisp popped a 44-yard run on the third play of the game to set up Eli Parker’s 6-yard touchdown run on the next snap. Tom Bean lost its first fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Lewis connected with Garrett Thurman for a 26-yard TD just 15 seconds after Parker’s score.
The teams combined for three lost fumbles on consecutive plays before Crisp broke loose again for a 49-yard touchdown run to push Callisburg’s lead to 21-0 with 8:05 still remaining in the first quarter.
Lewis said the start was just what the Wildcats needed.
“It’s great to get the momentum on your side, get things going for you,” he said. “It makes it hard for them to come back right away.”
Lewis made it 28-0 with his first touchdown, a 33-yard scramble on fourth-and-9, early in the second quarter, and Dakota Shaffer added a 9-yard TD run late in the third to make it 35-0.
In between, Tom Bean was unable to take advantage of a pair of interceptions. Bryce Grier’s pick and 14-yard return gave the Tomcats first down at the Callisburg 10 with 4:52 left in the first half, but the Wildcat defense pushed the Tomcats back 10 yards on the next two plays and Avila missed a 36-yard field goal attempt.
An interception by Zach Lusk with 1:52 left in the half went for nought when Parker intercepted Curd three plays later.
Avila’s field goal capped Tom Bean’s only sustained drive of the night, an 11-play, 53-yard possession that consumed five minutes. Curd connected with Harmon for third-down completions of 14 and 28 yards to extend the drive.
Callisburg responded with a 14-play, 64-yard drive for Lewis’ second touchdown. The 12-yard run put an exclamation point on a possession, all running plays, that took 7:14 off the clock.
“That was a lot of veer and option stuff,” Jack said. “That was nearly textbook.
“Sam Lewis, this is the first time he’s ever run an offense like that. He’s reading it extremely well.”
The main thing, Jack said, was getting a boost as Callisburg prepares for its District 5-3A Division I opener against Pilot Point on Oct. 13.
“We really needed a win to keep the confidence level up,” he said. “That’s a big step for us.
“If we’d won against S&S, we had opportunities. Anna, it was close, but they had some cats that could go. Then Cooper, they stepped right out there. A couple of turnovers in the second half or we might have won that game. We had our opportunities those games, but tonight we sealed the case pretty early and got a couple of turnovers.”