By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
In terms of experience, it was like a toddler playing against a grown man.
Calvary, playing just its second season of 11-man football, was overpowered by Arlington Grace Prep 55-13 at Miller Field on Saturday.
Grace Prep’s Brendan Walters scored on runs of 71, 56 and 58 yards on his way to rushing for a game-high 214 yards. Walters scored on the game’s first play, and the Lions jumped ahead 14-0 on Jeremiah Tucker’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Jay Sedwick with just over 9:00 left in the opening quarter.
Covenant (2-3) was forced to punt on its next possession, but Jack Spangler, a sophomore safety, picked off a pass and returned it 45 yards to the Lions 10-yard line. On the next play, Austin Weber found Wes Bender in the end zone to cut the deficit to 14-6.
However, Grace Prep (3-2) responded quickly. With just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, Angel Garza plunged in from the 1-yard line to give the Grace Prep a 21-6 lead.
As the game wore on, the bigger, faster Lions began to expose some of the Knights’ weaknesses, scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 41-6 halftime lead.
“We’re still new to 11-man football”, said Covenant head coach Jesse Olvera. “We played six-man up until last season, so naturally our football IQ will be lower than a seasoned team like Arlington Grace Prep.”
Still, Olvera liked his young team’s cohesiveness and effort, and said the loss should offer preparation for Covenant’s first TAPPS district game next week against McKinney Christian.
“With only four seniors, we’re a very young team,” said Olvera, in his first year at Covenant. “We’re still learning and showing lots of improvement.”
Matt Tucker scored on a 34-yard run to put Grace Prep up 48-6 early in the third quarter.
The Knights sustained their longest drive of the game on their first possession of the final quarter, and Spangler capped it with a 14-yard touchdown reception to make the score 48-13.