Calvary Christian’s football teams have had plenty of play-makers and record-breakers.
This year’s squad isn’t different.
And behind those key players, such as sophomore quarterback Nick Holm, sophomore running back Massi Gamble and senior receiver Parker Collins, the Eagles blanked visiting La Salle 28-0 in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Football Conference playoffs.
Calvary Christian (9-0), which is enjoying its longest undefeated start in school history, advances to play either Pine Crest or Tavernier Coral Shores next Thursday in the semifinal round. That quarterfinal will be played Friday and Calvary Christian will host regardless of the winner.
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Holm completed 13 of 15 passes for 200 yards and threw three touchdown passes, while Gamble ran for 161 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Collins caught nine passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Both Holm, the second-leading passer in the SFC entering the game, and Gamble, the league’s leading rusher with 1,198, helped Calvary Christian take control of the game in the second quarter. Collins, the league’s leading receiver entering the playoffs, has 1,036 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Each has been a key contributor this season on a team that graduated 16 seniors from a squad that reached the conference’s semifinals a year ago.
This season, Calvary Christian and Westminster Academy are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the league entering the week.
The Eagles’ unity on and off the field is what coach Kirk Hoza credits for their unbeaten season so far.
“These kids are amazing,” said Hoza, a former defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic University. “There’s a [Bible] Scripture that mentions ‘no greater love than a man who lays down his life for his friend.’ They take well to coaching and respect their opponents.”
Calvary Christian’s defense, which is allowing only 14 points per game, looked solid once again Thursday.
Among the defense’s playmakers are junior Storm Sims, the son of former Miami Dolphin Keith Sims, who entered the game with seven sacks — second-most in the league, and senior Tristan Peyton (88 tackles), who has a 4.2 GPA, a 2110 SAT and offers from Bryant and Davidson.
The Eagles had two sacks and a turnover Thursday, and only allowed the Royal Lions (4-5) to cross midfield twice.
“It’s a great league and the distance between the teams isn’t as big as some might think,” Hoza said. “I thought our kids played well and respected that team and brought it tonight.”