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Playoff chances diminish with Webb loss to McCallie

Despite a heroic effort by Webb School of Knoxville’s Spartans, the McCallie Blue Tornado blew into Faust Field Friday, Oct. 17, and left Webb with another region loss, making the Spartans 1-3 in Division II-AA, 4-4 overall.

The 21-7 loss makes it much tougher for Webb to make it to the playoffs this season.

Spartan head coach Dave Meske said, “We have to win the next two and we’ve gotta have help from McCallie. They have to win out and we have to win out for us to make the playoffs. We can’t end up in a three-way tie because if we end up in a three-way tie, [Battle Ground Academy] has a better non-region record than we have. Right now we have three losses in the region. McCallie has two losses in the region.”

Although McCallie came out hard in the first half, scoring 14 points before halftime, the Spartans put forth a huge effort and regained momentum with 54 seconds left in the half.

With the Blue Tornado hovering over its third TD of the first half at first-and-goal on the 5-yard line and 54 seconds left in the half, junior linebacker Graham Campbell picked off a pass and ran it back 57 yards.

The momentum carried through halftime and on Webb’s first possession in the second half, Freshman running back Caleb Blance broke free up the right side for a 61-yard touchdown run, putting the Spartans on the board and back in the game.

A missed field goal late in the third quarter and a dropped pass on fourth-and-goal at the McCallie 6 squashed the Spartan momentum.

“The interception gave us a chance; and we scored, it was 14 to 7. We got a chance to kick a field goal … we were in the game,” Meske said.

“It wasn’t a matter of effort out here. It was just a matter of making plays. We missed about four or five plays out here that we had to make to win the game. You gotta make those plays, but you can build on effort. When you have great effort you always have a chance,” he added.

Down by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, Meske made a surprise call, having Blance fire the ball downfield to senior running back Sean Panella with 2:30 left in the game.

Unfortunately for the Spartans Blance’s pass was intercepted, leaving them no time to tie up the game.

“It really probably wasn’t a good decision, you want to throw that as a surprise thing. We were down by two and it was just a desperate call. You really want to throw that on third-and-one or second-and-one when you are in the game and it is a surprise,” Meske said.

The Spartans will make another run at a region team Friday, Oct. 24, when they meet Nashville’s Battle Ground Academy at Faust Field. Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.


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