Calvary Christian’s football team will have a chance to defend its Southeastern Football Conference title after beating Pine Crest 38-26 on Thursday night.
The Eagles (8-2) intercepted Jordan Schulefand four times and rode the legs of junior tailback Massi Gamble, who ran for 225 yards on 30 carries, caught six passes for 86 yards and scored three touchdowns to help lead the way. Quarterback Nick Holm completed 20 of 27 passes for 176 yards and ran for a 45-yard touchdown with 5:46 remaining to seal the win for the Eagles.
After avenging their 16-10 regular-season loss to the Panthers (7-3) on Thursday, the Eagles will have a chance on Nov. 14 in the title to game to avenge their other loss to Coral Springs Charter, which beat them 24-9 on Sept. 25.
Last year, Calvary cruised to the SFC title and beat Coral Springs Charter 31-20 in the title game. This year’s run back to the title game was a little tougher, but seems to mean a little more to the players.
“It’s not like last season, when we went 11-0,” Holm said. “We fought through some adversity and came together as a team, and that means a little bit more to me than just the undefeated season. Just bonding with these guys and getting better as a team — it’s a great feeling.”
Gamble (6-1, 180) wasn’t feeling well according to Calvary coach Kirk Hoza and he wasn’t sure if his star tailback would even return for the second half after rushing for 125 yards and staking the Eagles to a 21-12 halftime lead. But Hoza is glad Gamble fought through it.
The Eagles needed him. After Pine Crest trimmed Calvary’s lead to 21-19 a minute into the third quarter on Schulefand’s scramble and 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver Bailey Finkelberg, Gamble scored on a tough 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter to extend Calvary’s lead to 31-19. Then, Holm broke off his 45-yard run to seal it.
“One thing I’ve got to do is get his name right,” Hoza said. “He’s a rolling stone and gathers no moss. It’s pronounced Mossi Gamble not Massi like everyone says. He did a great job.
“I just tip my hat to the O-line [Thursday]. They were outsized [Thursday] and I thought they did a nice job against the Pine Crest kids.”